Thursday, March 17, 2016

Finding one’s psychic being is dependent on Grace
text and pictures: Sri Aurobindo Education Society, New-Delhi. © quotations from SriAurobindo and The Mother: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust,. Pondicherry.

So often the question has been asked: “I want to live a true spiritual life, but how do I combine this with my work?” Indeed, it is not easy to stay focused on one’s aim while living an active life in society with all its demands, entertainment and distractions. It seems almost as if the society does everything to make us forget our deeper aims in life. How can one help oneself not to forget? This book could provide some answers and exercises to those who would like to pursue their spiritual quest more actively in every area of their lives. The content of this book is based on the writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Sri Aurobindo wrote thousands of letters to those who asked for his advice. In one of his letters he writes that one of the aims of his Yoga is, “to live in the inner consciousness more and more while acting from it on the external life...” This implies that the deepest layers of our existence have to come to the foreground and guide every aspect of our daily life. 
The Mother, for several years, answered questions orally in her Questions and Answers sessions. These letters and Playground sessions are available to us in book form and make an incredibly rich resource of thousands of pages. Besides this, Sri Aurobindo in his earlier years, and The Mother from the forties onwards, have given advice that relates specifically to education, and emphasised the integral and psychic aspects of it. If all this is available, why then still bring out a book like this? This book came about in answer to a need often expressed in Mirambika, an integral education school with a teachers training in New Delhi. ...

“What does Integral Education really mean?”, “How to put it into practice?” 
Of course, the answers to these questions can be found in the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, but teachers of integral schools and trainee-teachers during their courses have expressed frequently the wish that this information should be made available in a more easily accessible form. 
In the original writings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother there is a richness that can never be obtained in a simpler workbook like this. I am fully aware of the fact that any compilation lifts their words out of context and takes away some of their original depth and meaning. This has been the main reason for me to hesitate so long to bring out this book. But if this book can serve as a stepping stone to these original writings its purpose would be fulfilled. The first part of this book has been written to help all those who want to take the first steps in integrating spirituality in every day life. It may also have something for those who are already on the path. 
Part 2 of this book deals more specifically with education. Integral Education, as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, is centred around the soul. In the ideal situation it is the psychic being of the teacher which creates a psychic learning environment for the students. Of course, finding one’s psychic being is dependent on Grace and one cannot demand an immediate result the moment one begins intensifying this search. It may take years, it may take more than one lifetime to find the soul. But, it is also true that one cannot implement Integral Education if one has not at least started the search for the soul in oneself. 
To be able to help students to discover their innermost self, teachers have to provide an environment in the classroom conducive to psychic growth. For this it is important to have a conscious experience of what it is like to be on this quest. Living the search ourselves, gives us the strength and the wisdom needed for implementing Integral Education. It helps us to provide an atmosphere where students and colleagues feel invited to look within themselves and explore the deeper meaning of life. ...

Since the educational world has not yet recognised the significance and potential of Integral Education, one of the challenges of an integral teacher is to stay focused on its true aim and not let the work be diluted too much by forces that oppose change. Many teachers have found the exercises and introspections in this book helpful to remain focused. Hopefully these exercises will also work for you. But above all, may you be guided more and more by Their Presence. 

Many wonderful people, young and old, have helped to make this book possible. Without their commitment and support this book would not have obtained its final form. I owe so much to you all and feel a deep gratitude radiating to each one of you from the depth of my being. Neeltje Huppes February, 2001
Neeltje Huppes was born in the Netherlands. After post graduation in the sixties, she taught in a progressive school and at a young age became a member of a ...
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