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Integral Learning Centre

Schedule of activities in Verite'

 

Two times inner

 

 

The Integral Learning Centre is based in the intentional community called Vérité (because "Truth heals") and has been dedicated since its inception to 'higher healing' or  non-medical-healing-towards-Wholeness.
Integral Learning is as much a state of mind as a 'centre' and we experience integral learning in the actual work of bringing the buildings into existence, in the everyday challenges of living in community, and in the many classes, sessions and gatherings which take place in Vérité's two Halls.

 

Integral Learning in Community

Living in community means that an effort is made to refer all important developments to the group for feedback and collective decision. Very often the process of doing this creates tensions as people pull for their particular idea before a common direction is agreed. Holding each other in respect and love during differences is another opportunity for integral learning.

 

Integral Learning in the Halls

In Vérité community, there are two Halls. The original Yoga Hall, now called the Music Hall, has hosted over the years many workshops by visiting teachers and Aurovilians giving workshops and presentations of various topics such as Psychosynthesis, Essential Peacemaking, Art Therapy,  T'ai Chi, Dances of Universal Peace. Also Vérité's weekly community meetings, daily meditations and music sessions happen here.

 

Regular communal sessions

Various activities take place with great regularity, such as:

  • Vipassana meditation

  • Tuning

  • Meditative movement

  • Sanskrit chanting

  • Sacred song

  • Consecration

  • Bhajans

  • Development work

  • Study sharing

Three seasons

Once the larger Vérité Hall opened, there has been a clear development and widening in the community's programme. The year is seen in three seasons: guest season, retreat season, and study season:

  • During the guest period (December-March) a variety of workshops and classes are organised catering to visitors to Auroville so that they are enabled to have access to inner experience. Last year for instance two workshops, 'Who Am I?' conducted by psychiatrist-psychotherapist Dr. Henner Ritter, were held, and also Ashtanga Yoga teachers conducted three week-long classes here.

  • During the retreat season (April-June), after the guests have fled for the heat, there are less programmes and the Vérité community meets itself in quiet. Usually a 10-day Vipassana retreat is held during this time. Last summer, village children from the Village Action Summer Camps were introduced to Auroville and creativity during eight half-day sessions in Vérité during this period.

  • During study season (July-November), - and this has grown into the season having the most intensity and influence on the rest- Verite's Aurovilians meet other Aurovilians in the main Hall in a number of small groups. Participants of these sessions study and research and share together in such fields as singing and chanting, tuning, harmonics, Sanskrit, Vipassana meditation, body awareness and movement, meditative dance, drama, 'Consecration Week', and development work.

Transformative learning

These activities serve to develop in the participants the awareness of integral learning, by emphasising non-conventional approaches to learning. For instance, importance is given to other parts of the being rather than just the mind, teachers and learners are interchangeable (everyone is a learner), the 'success' of any given class is judged by how much each participant feels he or she has learned, not on outward signs of achievement. 
The atmosphere at most of these classes is almost as akin to prayer as to study - as the important result is that the participant connects not only with some mental idea but actually with the Source of ideas and with each other. This is perceived as transformative learning.

Very gradually, very subtly, the sense of what an integral learning centre might be, how it might function, begins to dawn on us.

 

Integral Learning with the Industrial Zone and the Bioregion.

Vérité has always been aware of its location in the heart of Auroville's Industrial Zone. It holds for the area a focus on ecology, community and spirituality, especially in relation to business and worker relations. In its way of conducting its guesthouse business and caring for its workers, Vérité tries to actually model a style of operation wholistic and caring.


Throughout the year, the Integral Learning Centre has presented on-going classes with Development Work trainees of Auroville Village Action Group introducing them to Auroville's deeper meaning, and to their own potential to grow and unfold their personality. Individuals from the villages are frequent visitors, getting assistance and guidance to develop their communicative and creative skills.
 

AVAA

Presently these activities are being consolidated into a programme called 'AVAA', a Tamil word meaning 'enthusiasm for learning' and also an acronym for Auroville Village Action Arts, which started in July 2000 with a 'Saturday Camp' in music, dance, physical education for village children. Follow-up sessions and classes took regularly place since then.
 

Future Plans

Developing the Programme: The programmes going on within the Halls should continue to expand, following the inspirations of the participants.

  • Special attention will be given to developing the opportunities for integral learning for the management and workers of the Industrial Zone.

  • A continuation of active collaboration with the Auroville Village Action Group in training their staff and in developing arts as a bridge between Auroville and villagers.
    § The development of the Vérité Guesthouse as a retreat facility for integral learning, with an elaborated guest and student programmes will be part of this movement.

  • As well, the use of the retreat centre facility to encourage residential in-depth workshops for Auroville working groups is under consideration as well as the documentation of the Vérité Community process as an action-research.

  • Counseling is also seen as a major activity to be accommodated by the new facilities.

  • As the very nature of integral learning precludes a rigid mental plan and a harmonious agreement among all the participants, only after the community planning process over the summer can we expect to be able to formulate clearly these directions.

Contact: verite@auroville.org.in

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