Friday, May 11, 2018

PERSONA, SHADOW, THE UNCONSCIOUS AND SPIRITUALITY


Two important and closely-related modules facilitated during April 2018 as part of the 9-week-long (March 15-May 16) Sumedha Sadhana – A Psychospiritual Wholeness Journey" were: 1) the  "Unconscious Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey” facilitated by Dr. Johny Dominic Padinjar, the Assistant Director of Sumedha Centre and 2) “Jungian Perspectives on the Spiritual Journey” facilitated by Dr. Ajoy Fernandes, Director of Prafulta Mental health Services in Matunga, Mumbai.


Johny Dominic helped participants explore the dynamics behind the helplessness that they often experience in not being able to do what they want and doing what they do not want.  Using concepts from Freudian, Jungian, NLP and Transactional Analysis theories he helped them unleash the powers of the unconscious to facilitate healing and wholeness.


Working from a Jungian perspective Ajoy Fernandes helped participants explore especially their identity and understand their personality type and its implications for their spiritual journey, and helped them move toward greater personal integration by exploring and owning their persona and shadow and integrating their animus/anima.


Both these modules and the module facilitators were very much appreciated by the participants. The modules provided participant’s much awareness about themselves, particularly regarding their defense mechanisms and their shadows.


During this period the the General Councilor of the Salesians of Don Bosco for South Asia, Rev. Fr. Maria Aroka Kanaga SDB visited Sumedha Centre. He interacted with the Sumedha Participants and along with them planted a sapling to encourage ecological sensitivity and care – something that is part and parcel of the spirituality explored and practices at Sumedha Centre.



Monday, April 16, 2018

TEA IN THE STREAM! FUN MIDWAY THROUGH SUMEDHA SADHANA


14th April marked the midway point in the currently running 9-week-long Sumedha Sadhana - A Psychospritual Wholeness Journey -- programme at Sumedha Centre.


Sumedha participants marked the occasion with  a tea outing the afternoon. (In the morning they concluded the module on Psychological Dynamics on the Spiritual Journey facilitated by Dr. Jose Parappully).


They walked up the stream flowing below the Centre for about 45 minutes and settled down in a dry spot in the midst of the stream. 


They prepared tea there and enjoyed some delicious snacks. 


They had a good time playing the pools of water around and playing bingo. 


They spent about two hours there before returning to the Centre, quite rejuvenated by the experience.



PSYCHOLOGICAL DYNAMICS ON THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY



The first and foundational module of Sumedha Sadhana - a Psychospiritual Wholeness Journey - is "Psychological Dynamics on the Spiritual Journey."


This module, facilitated by Dr. Jose Parappully, the Director of Sumedha Centre concluded on April 14th, which marks the midway point of the programme. 


Parappully began the module helping participants explore what is happening in their lives at this juncture on their psycho-spiritual journey and to discern what God might be telling them through all that is happening in the "bits and pieces" of  their everyday lives. 


He then presented the evolution in spirituality in the context of changing paradigms and presented 17 characteristics of a mature spirituality and helped participants assess how much of these were present in their lives. He distinguished between prayer and prayerfulness and helped them learn some contemplative approaches to cultivate prayerfulness.



A major portion of the module was devoted to exploration of the dynamics of midlife and post-midlife years. Parappully used insights from various psychological theories, as well as tools and techniques from Expressive Arts and Bioenergetics, as well as movies and music, to help participants explore and integrate these dynamics in order to enhance their spiritual journey.



Other topics covered in this module included sexuality and intimacy needs and their integration into a celibate lifestyle. 

Participants found the module "inspiring, informative and insightful... The process followed was excellent."





Sunday, April 15, 2018

FEMINIST & WOMEN'S SPIRITUALITIES.

The module on "Feminist & Women's Spiritualities," part of the 9-week-long Sumedha Sadhana programme, concluded on Friday 13th April at Sumedha Centre.



This module was facilitated by Dr. Shalini Mulackal PhD, Professor of Theology at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, New Delhi and President of the Indian Theological Association.


Dr. Mulackal explored the meaning and salient characteristics of spirituality from women’s perspective. She helped participants look critically at some of the popular images of traditional Christian spirituality, the process of masculinisation of women’s spirituality, and religion’s subjugation of women through theoretical inputs and examples from everyday life.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

NEWNESS OF LIFE

EASTER  is all about newness of life.


Easter occurs at the end of winter when, apparently, nature is asleep and the beginning of spring when nature bursts forth in a riot of colour with new blossoms and new leaves adorning the hitherto dead-looking trees. Newness of life!


The symbols of the Easter Vigil indicate newness. There is a new fire, a new (Paschal/Easter) candle made from pure wax (supposed to!), newly blessed water, new Christians through baptism, new oils (now blessed at the Chrism Mass), renewal of baptismal promises.


All the readings chosen for the nigh vigil speak of newness of life.


And the cultural symbol of Easter - the Egg -- represents new life in a powerful way.

No question, Easter points to and invites us to newness of life, to renewal and regeneration - to a new birth.

What is the newness we are experiencing/need to experience at this Easter. Celebrating Easter without an experience of some newness/renewal in our lives, is to be stuck at Good Friday, to remain in the tomb, not  to experience resurrection.


The Sumedhans celebrated the Easter  Vigil and the Easter in grant style in a moving and meaningful liturgy and celebratory dinner. Almost the whole of Holy Saturday was spent in preparing the Liturgy. Participants showed great initiative, creativity and enthusiasm. The resulting joy was palpable!


Friday, March 30, 2018

Silence of the Tomb


Holy Saturday is the in-between time – between something old dying and something new emerging. Holy Saturday is the time between the seed falling and lying dormant but unbeholden germinating new life. 


It is a time when nothing seems to be happening, when one sees no light at the end of the tunnel. When one feels stuck. Good Friday looks like the end of the story. 


But not really. The story will continue. Light will appear at the end of the tunnel. The fallen seed will sprout. Death will be conquered. The silence of Holy Saturday will be shattered in blaze of glory.


When have we felt life to be a long Holy Saturday, when we felt like we have reached a dead end – with no way forward, no light at the end of the tunnel? …. And then surprised – at the happy turn of events?

 As a popular song says, there is sunshine after the rain, there is laughter after the pain; so too there is an Easter that will shatter the silence of Holy Saturday in a glorious resurrection!



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Good Friday: Sunrise Way of the Cross at Sumedha

The Sumedhans gathered at sunrise on Good Friday at the foot of the Sumedha Hill to begin their Way of the Cross.


Starting with the First Station at the foot of the hill they went up the winding footpath, carrying a heavy wooden Cross,  to the top of the hill where there is a sculpture of Calvary - Jesus on the Cross and Mary his Mother and John his disciple stand grieving.



The fourteen Stations of the Cross are marked with a Cross along the footpath leading to Calvary.


The Way of the Cross used today, based on Sacred Scripture and a meditative reflection on the realities of our every world of suffering, was specially composed by Dr. Jose Parappully, Director of the Centre.


"Good Friday: ...The story has apparently ended. Whatever hopes Jesus had evoked  have been shattered.... Remember the words of the disillusioned disciples on the road to Emmaus: "We had hoped..." (One of the saddest phrases in Sacred Scripture) Now there is only a great silence, the silence of the tomb..."