SAIIER 2014:Laboratory of Evolution
Mitra Youth Hostel
|Laboratory of Evolution|
The vaster purpose and needs of the ‘Laboratory of Evolution’
This year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the LOE. Yet its real purpose is still not so clear to all Aurovilians. Why is it so?
The purpose of 'Savitri Bhavan' is obvious. So is the purpose of the 'House of Mother's Agenda', or the 'Centre for Indian Culture'. Their very name indicates their purpose. But what about the 'Laboratory of Evolution'?... What is its specificity?...
Well, in this case too the name indicates the specificity, as we will see, but it has not yet been possible to manifest it visibly in its full scope.
What everyone knows at least already about the LOE is its great multi-language Specialized Library and Mediatheque, where one can find everything that comes out in the world and can be of value for furthering our individual and collective process of Conscious Evolution. So, even if only through the existence of this very special, very rich Library of Evolution, the LOE has been already contributing since long something unique to Auroville, that many people appreciate.
But this Library is not the only thing, far from it, that the LOE was started for when it began in 1984, together with the beginning of SAIIER. In an Auroville seen in itself by Mother as a 'Laboratory of Evolution', this new Research Centre with that name too was meant to provide the space, focus, documentation, expertise, equipment and other scientific means for stimulating, documenting and studying the results of Auroville's evolutive efforts, in the objective, scientific way Sri Aurobindo and Mother insisted should also have its place in our spiritual endeavour.
Not everybody in Auroville has to see and understand the need of the scientific approach too in our common evolutive adventure, but an experiment as big and important as Auroville must have somewhere within itself a place where the scientific approach to a Spirituality of Evolution is present in a big enough manner, and in a way accessible to all Aurovilians, Newcomers or Guests interested.
Although all of us here are somehow the 'Voluntary Guinea-Pigs' of the Evolutive Force (with the Divine of course hiding behind it!...), it is understandable that not everyone wants to be a Researcher as well as a Guinea-Pig. Not everyone is interested in conducting experiments, collecting and comparing data, consulting other information, writing reports, publishing newsletters and all the other aspects of a Researcher's job.
On the other hand Auroville as a whole is such a fantastic experiment to study, not only because of the Green Work and the other amazing outer realizations already well-known worldwide, but, even more importantly, because of the incredible, and incredibly varied Inner Work also going on here since so many years.
This is why in 1984 I (Bhaga) personally became tremendously interested by all the potential I could see in advance that this new Research Centre to be called 'Laboratory of Evolution' could later on offer. So, as no one else at the time came forward to start it, I had finally to do it myself, hoping more people would join and form a team. And it did happen to some extent, but in the meantime, mostly for lack of space, funds, and people - real scientists as well as simple helpers for exhibitions etc. - this vaster LOE didn't develop yet, so Auroville is still missing most of this indispensable piece of itself.
What would be the advantages for all if the LOE became truly at last the 'Laboratory of Evolution? It would become the space where everyone could go for any or all of the following:
- Acceleration of the development of specific inner capacities through the use of Biofeedback devices;
- Objectivisation for the individual of the subjective inner state reached;
- Validation in scientific terms of the inner results obtained;
- Validation of Group Inner Work towards clearly identified goals.
As this whole new space of the enlarged LOE would be a 'hands on' kind of place, children too, even when still small, could come there and (under supervision if necessary) make good use of what would be available. With a system of scheduled time-slots, everyone interested, whatever their age, could come and train themselves on their own, at their own pace, in their own way, in that collective space for scientific inner experimentation open to all, where the collection of individual or group data would be facilitated by the use of that common space and equipment.
What the needs are
Together with the existing, ever-expanding Library of Evolution, if spaces for the various workshops our team is already offering since many years (in whatever other place, even our own homes, as our present very small temporary quarters at Bharat Nivas are full to capacity with just the Library), and if this scientific experimentation area would be added too at last, the Laboratory of Evolution would become one of the first environments like the ones Mother wanted Auroville to have, as the vast integrated field of Education she envisioned Auroville to be: lively spaces, each of them dedicated entirely to the passionate research and study of one main topic: in this case, Evolution.
Permanent exhibitions and temporary ones could be organized, talks and lectures could be given by Aurovilians or invited Guest Speakers from the whole world. Teaching-Learning material developed by our team or by others could be used there, research books would be published, etc….
All of this has already been done at one time or the other in the existing LOE; but to sustain such an all rounded effort means a larger team than we have had till now. For this potentially so important work we need people to take up certain areas of that work just like has happened in the past for the Specialised Library, with such happy results. But to be able to support new team members, we need to obtain the possibility of more maintenances than the four that are at present allocated to the LOE: two for the Library and two for the Research, which is enough for now, but doesn't allow for any widening of the activities beyond what is already happening, much of which isn't covered by any budget either.
For thirty years we have shown that we could do our work against all odds and difficulties. Hasn't the time come at last for the fuller realization of that dream within Mother's Dream?
Report from the Specialized Library team
The library of L.O.E has a growing number of donated and purchased books on the effects of Evolution in various fields: health, sciences, ecology, etc.
It is amazing to see how the predictions of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are being realized nowadays.
For example, in Mother's Agenda, Mother says that diseases are sent to us by the Divine to make us able to have an awareness on what we have to change; there are now many health dictionaries which indicate the wrong emotion or the wrong thought which creates such or such disease.
Our aim in LOE is to share all the new discoveries which are the proof of the prophetic vision and experience of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, in many fields.
We are preparing for next year some lectures introducing the 'Life Divine' most relevant passages for the modern man: the seven ignorances, the seven steps of Manifestation, Life after death, etc.
We organised this year a special cupboard with all the documents (photocopies, films, audio CD) about Auroville to help our many visitors to understand Auroville's ideals.
Report from Namah
It is the third year – and it will still take one more year - that I am involved in French Academic Research on the topic “Education, Evolution, Human Potential, Sri Aurobindo's works and Auroville”. This research leads me to be in relation with a French University and a Research Group on Self-Education and Spirituality. I was asked, after a presentation of Auroville in Paris, to write a Ph.D on this subject. There are already some positive results coming out of this work:
- Publication of an article written by me in a French scientific educational journal about the individual experience in Auroville. (En: “Analysis, Spiritual Practices, training and cultural relation”. International Journal in Educational Sciences, Paris University. January 2014) (Fr: “Analyses, Pratiques Spirituelles, formations et interculturalité”, Revue Internationale en Sciences de l'éducation et de la formation, Université Paris 8. Janvier 2014)
- Contact and work with a researchers' team in a French University, GRAF, (Self-Education), in order to organise a seminar in Auroville in Septembre 2015. This research is mainly based on Sri Aurobindo's work, interviews with Aurovilians and analysis of the way we are developing ourselves in Auroville at the individual level. Of course, the collective dimension of Auroville appears during this research as well as the general situation in the world and other researches which are developed in other places concerning the changing of the world and the reality of this transitional time for humanity.
Introduction to Auroville and workshops
- Welcome to French groups (3 to 20 people) coming to Auroville and presentation of Auroville and Integral Yoga.
- Regular workshops on Yoga and Integral Yoga in Auroville and this year, on invitation, in South India (Chettinad)
Regular weekly work meetings
- As a representative of the LOE, I participate in the research group CIRHU/Lila.
- With Bhaga, research on the actual evolution of humanity through documents, films, and analysis of particularly meaningful aspects of our own inner development.
Report from Bhaga
It must be mentioned first of all that my work has been interrupted this last year by violent weather conditions that finally forced me to move out from 'Repos', the beach community where I had lived and done my LOE work for nearly twenty years. Here is a brief chronology of events:
- August 2013: Massive coastal erosion on the beach outside starts threatening directly Bhaga's house too. The front door cannot be accessed any longer, the back door into the bathroom becomes the only entrance. Interruption of all workshops because of this dangerous situation.
- September and October 2013: Emergency Moving to another place in Auroville, 'Djaima', which is more inland, and re-locating her LOE Workspace there too.
- November and December 2013: Re-establishing the normal regularity in writing new posts for her Research Blog and Facebook Page, and answering comments and questions from 'visitors' there. Giving workshops 'Introduction to Auroville's Spiritual Dimension and the Integral Yoga' to people asking for it.
- December 20 to January 3rd (2014): Thanks to a visiting friend from France, Bhaga gets an Introduction to the well-known NLP methods, while her friend deepens her own understanding of Sri Aurobindo and Mother's teachings through Bhaga's workshop, 'Introduction to Auroville's Spiritual Dimension and the Integral Yoga'.
- January 2014 to April: Various workshops given to various visitors. Many new posts written and published on her Research Blog and Facebook Page.
Cellular Consciousness workshop
From April 4th 2014 to May 14th, the Cellular Consciousness Workshop that Bhaga has been giving since many years directly to people either who had come to Auroville or to whose country she had gone, was for the first time, as an experiment, given online, with all the communication needed being done through email and Skype video calls. This turned out to be a very successful experiment. This is an important progress for this aspect of the work done by the LOE.
Historical background of this method
Based entirely on Sri Aurobindo and Mother's writings, plus my own totally unexpected, spontaneous cellular experiences since the end of 1976, this method was put together by myself originally in 1998 when asked to add a workshop about the cells to whatever else would be proposed to the 15-odd Aurovilians who had chosen to participate in the first Residential 15 Day Retreat organized by the newly created Quiet Healing Centre.
In this Centre since its opening in February 1997 I had enlarged my LOE work by simply starting there the indispensable Healing Library, with first of all Sri Aurobindo and Mother's books, including of course the 13 volumes of 'Mother's Agenda'. But for that first Retreat some other staff members felt I should also find a way to share with the participants my own long experience with my body-cells, so I felt moved to indeed prepare something.
After trying out the outline of such a workshop during that first opportunity, I had many more opportunities to refine it and improve upon it in the following years, both in Auroville and in various countries on several continents were I had been asked to give it, particularly between 2001 and 2007.
In the following years the situation started changing, I had more and more to get involved in the Auroville beach settlement where I lived, but I always kept my LOE work as my priority through writing frequent new posts on my Research Blog, and giving workshops at home whenever people came to ask for one.
Why the ‘online’ was is an important improvement for this workshop
In my Reports for the recent years I mention mostly the Cellular Consciousness Workshop that was particularly asked for.
But although the workshop was successful and the people having taken it were satisfied with it, one problem always encountered since ever was the short duration of such workshops, due to the fact that most participants could be present only for a week-end or, to the most, for a full week. It wasn't really long enough for the totally new and unusual contents of a workshop on such a topic to be fully digested and integrated into the participants' life, with a long-lasting impact and result.
What is a remarkable improvement when doing it online, is that the time factor then isn't a problem anymore: the participants are in their own home anywhere in the world, every week on an agreed upon day they receive a new Lesson and Exercises to be practiced as constantly as possible during that week; according to the feedback they give, each participant is advised how to proceed for the proper integration of that specific Lesson. Then a new Lesson with other Exercises are added, and so on for the four weeks of a full month. In that way the participants have much more time to assimilate all these new notions and inner ways of doing things, and so to truly integrate them into their daily life.
Foreseen developments regarding this method
- Another such workshop will be given 'online' again soon, this time in French, as several persons already mentioned their interest if the workshop was given in French.
- It will probably be possible in the future to propose such Online Workshops with some regularity, either in English or in French, in order to keep the number of participants every time low enough to be easily handled through email and Skype by the person giving the workshop.
- With such a more or less finalized, written down Method available in those two languages, other members of the LOE willing and able to use it properly will be taught directly by me how to do it, so that this method will not risk being lost just because it is known and practiced only by me until now. A few others at least will be there to also do it in a way that will always give the full credit of it to Sri Aurobindo and Mother, and keep the Method always as close as possible to their teachings. It may in this way become more and more a Method known as having been developed in Auroville itself, through the research work done under the umbrella of SAIIER and by this specific Unit, the Laboratory of Evolution.
- This Method as it is presented now can be used for all 'beginners', so to say, even those not yet on any spiritual path, let alone that of Sri Aurobindo and Mother's Integral Yoga. It could be adapted for children too, as it brings about a different, truer relationship of each person with his/her own physical body, and it would be ideal if children were familiar from an early age with this way of relating to their body and its cells.
- A Second Part of the same Method, meant this time for those individuals whose cells's consciousness has outgrown the contents of Part One, is in preparation. This Part Two will bring out, put together in an easily accessible form, the many indications given by Sri Aurobindo and Mother, that will be of most help for those whose cells' consciousness starts turning towards the Divine. What to do then, and equally important, what NOT to do, will be clearly and inspiringly communicated through the quotes in this Part Two, to the individuals anxious of helping their cells in the right way in such a crucial turning-point of their evolution.