The Midlife Dynamics and the Spiritual Journey programme at Sumedha Centre concluded yesterday (August 31) with the participants expressing immense satisfaction with the content of the programme, the organisation, the atmosphere at Sumedha, hospitality and facilities – and the scenic surroundings of Sumedha.
The dominant metaphor that informed the programme was that of “Journey” – represented by Scriptural journeys – that of Abram from
and that of the disillusioned disciples on the road to Emmaus. Abram, we are
told, “journeyed by stages,” setting up an altar wherever he pitched his camp,
turning wherever he stopped into “sacred space” – a place to encounter God.
Jesus joins the disillusioned disciples, listens to their stories, reframes
those stories and gives them a profound revelation of himself that transforms
them, and they return to Haran
their “hearts burning” within them. The midlife programme was designed to
provide participants similar experiences. Feedback from the participants
confirmed that indeed was their experience at Sumedha. Jerusalem
Jose Parappully, the Director of Sumedha, facilitated the programme.
The psychological content of the programme was based on Erikson’s developmental stages, especially the stages of identity, intimacy, generativity and integrity. Rich input that integrated much of available literature on midlife, carefully selected journal articles and book chapters provided as reading material, expressive writing and drawing, somatic meditation which incorporated music, meditation, bioenergetics and dance, thematic movies, sharing in small and big groups, well-integrated liturgies, and an outing to the lakes provided a unique transformative experience to the participants. Some typical comments from participants:
“This was an inward journey for me. The inputs—especially on spirituality, sexuality, celibacy, intimacy—, the opportunity for quiet contemplation, provided me new and helpful insights.” Amal Raj
“The relaxing and trusting atmosphere created helped me open myself in ways I have never done before. New insights to enrich my consecrated life.” Archana
“A unique programme. From the very first to the very last session, it helped me to be in touch with myself in ways I have never experienced before.” Biji.
“Feel very enriched. The inputs and time for reflection were very helpful. Felt free to share my inner life. Gained better understanding of especially of spirituality, celibacy and intimacy.” Arul
“Feel energised. What was most helpful was getting deep into myself. The whole programme was arranged in such a way as to experience integration and wholeness. Very enriching.” Flory.
“I had an excellent time here from arrival to leaving. The friendly and interdependent atmosphere, the hospitality, the food, the holistic approach. New understandings of spirituality and sexuality from the inputs, articles and sharing. Strengthened my values” Kumar
“This was a liberating experience. A well-integrated course –not just the rich inputs, but the drawing, writing, dancing, sharing and praying. Inputs clarified concepts. Drawings brought out what was hidden within. The dancing was very liberating.” Rethna Swamy.
“Enjoyed my stay here. Greatly enriched my knowledge on some very important topics and deepened my self-knowledge. I felt very comfortable in the group.” Rupa
“A very holistic experience. I feel more integrated and in touch with myself…The surrounding scenic beauty provided a rich environment.” Sangeeta.
“Really enjoyed the course, even though I did not know what it would be like. I gained so much more awareness of myself.” Sheryl
“Deepened my self-awareness. The sharing in groups helped me to come out of myself. I learned so much. Feel I can contribute better to others now.” Soucely.
“I really enjoyed my time here. The beautiful natural surrounding helped to create calmness and quietness. The dancing meditation helped in body, mind, and soul integration.” Xavier