Testimonials from Retreat Participants
Participating in the Retreat at the Study Centre is a recommended activity for all irrespective of age or objective. The setting in the Valley School campus in the midst of nature and the overall structure of the programme is extremely suited for a dialogue with 'self' amidst the right facilitators and participants - all on the same journey but on many different paths.
Right from the moment of arrival at the centre on a rainy evening, the first experience of being 'aware' happened while being led to our rooms.Snails were crawling across the pathways and we were to use our torches to avoid trampling on them and we were reminded to perhaps slow down as in our usual rush we had inadvertently stepped on a few before we were made 'aware' of their presence.
How to be 'fully available' and aware to whatever the activity we were doing - walking, eating, listening, reading, talking - without having any judgement on it was the mainstay of the program and revealed a lot. The retreat was structured in a way that each activity peeled away layer on layer drawing you more and more inwards. Our facilitators (fellow journey companions would be more apt) gave us the space, time and specific inputs which made the whole experience superlative. And above all, Krishna ji's words and thoughts shone like a beacon everywhere constantly reminding that we need to know ourselves first. "If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation." ― Jiddu Krishnamurti
I came into the retreat as a parent, husband, employee and with my own set of beliefs, past, knowledge etc. but left just as someone on a journey to understand oneself. It is certainly difficult to put this into practice once we get back to daily life but the least we can do is to have a strong intent to live with awareness in the present. Hope to see this message spread further and more people benefit from such retreats.
"My experience of the retreat (continuing now as well) was really beautiful. In fact, just after the retreat, while I was returning back home, I was reading something K said on duality and conflict (from Mind without Measure), and it so clearly struck some part of me and the way I looked at conflict. That was so powerful. Something from that has stayed on from that moment, and I feel it is helping in the 'sense of unbrokenness' and 'feeling less of an effort' while being observant of myself.
The possibility of integration of the external, body and mind awareness is also something that I discovered more fully during the retreat.
During the silent periods, the sense of this integrated awareness was more, leading to the ability to see with more clarity what is happening in the inside of my body-mind.
It was very interesting to observe myself during the dialogue process as well, to see the mind subtly chattering and hearing from past inferences, agreeing, relating, disagreeing, justifying, etc. That is something that has continued since then, and the self-observation while listening to others speak continues to show me a great deal of what's going on inside and whether I'm really listening from a fresh state of mind.
All the activities of the retreat were so much a window to the self and the power of self observation, from which I feel a real unfolding of the layers causing conflict happens.
I continue to look at myself from the unfolding that happened at the retreat. The study retreat has really been a very interesting and powerful experience."
Sameer Gandhi, IT Professional
This retreat was a much required pit-stop to the grilling F-1 lifestyle which many of us are going through.
At the retreat ,slowing down the pace of living, rediscovering self, pondering over JK's teachings in the company of like-minded people ; spending time in such a serene ,peaceful atmosphere , getting connected with nature, enjoying listening to the sounds of the insects, the continuous chatter of the birds.. well, the time seems to have stopped here !
Sanjay Kumar, Mumbai
Life has quite drastically changed after the retreat. About my experience of the retreat i would just like to say that it has changed my mindset, the way i look at the things .Now, in everything i do i have a sense of observation in me. I think that's the best thing that ever happened to me. I am looking forward to improve on it.
I thank the Bangalore Study Centre very much for making such retreats possible.
Swetha Gowri (ex-student, The valley school)
The retreat came at a very important time to us and has helped me look at all the happenings in my little life objectively- I have been able to see where my thinking energies were going and re-direct them positively. I think being removed from the typical routines of your life and placed in such a natural setting has given rise to some important introspections on the nature of our lives, our attachments and dependencies. On coming back, I have been very alert to all the patterns and traps of everyday interactions that take us into some needless quagmire in our minds. I think "watching" has been a useful tool for reflecting without instantly reacting. On a physical level, these have helped me in my day-to-day interactions with people. On a very internal, personal level, being so close to nature, has revived and revealed some invisible structures of the self- I feel the need to be engaged with this discovery everyday. There have been times when in a leaf or a flower, I feel like I am speaking with god, with the universe- it's a great feeling of quietness. I am quietly marveling at all this since returning from the retreat.
The theme of the retreat was very gently opened up, discussed & was very well connected with JK's philosophy about the conditioning of the mind, awareness of the self, sensitivity and connectedness to nature and society in general.
I feel a new awakening in me and a thirst for understanding myself more. I stopped having an enquiring mind long ago & now I have it again. Thank you ‘Study center' for preserving JK's rich philosophy and making it readily available for all those who seek.
I went through a whole lot of new experiences that it is very difficult to summarise. I'm unable to express through words, the retreat has triggered a lot of important changes in my life. For the very first time in my life I opened up to a group voluntarily. Being an extremely introvert person, sharing my personal feelings was not my cup of tea. The friendly atmosphere and the feeling that I will not be laughed at or criticised allowed me to be free. I really liked the non-authoritative, non-leader centric exploration of the retreat.
It's strange that as a Valley alumni, it took me so many years to think of going for a retreat at the study center. After going for one, I can't recommend it highly enough. It was conducted so well, and wasn't in the least boring or stuffy. I rediscovered just how beautiful the place was, realised how long it had been since I was close to nature. And I found myself changed in minute ways afterward. It's just the beginning of course, but the retreat lit a much needed spark.
I just love these retreats. It gives me the much needed quiet time to reflect within myself and understand some very important questions of our life (that we take for granted). Every aspect of the program was very meaningful and was very well thought of. I would continue to recommend this program to all whom I know are interested in deeper understanding of life.