04.06.-05.06.2016 ►JVBL ►Retreat at WYboston Lakes

Posted: 30.06.2016

A weekend retreat was organised by JVB London on 4th and 5th June at Wyboston Lakes in the presence of Samani Pratibha Pragya, Samani Shukla Pragya, Samani Rohit Pragya and Samani Unnata Pragya. Over a hundred people participated in this event and the age of the participants ranged from infants to octogenarians.

One of the main purposes of holding the retreat was to introduce Preksha Meditation to newcomers and reiterate its value/importance to regular practitioners. Having completed their registration formalities after their arrival on Saturday morning, the participants were served light breakfast.

The first programme of the meditation consisted of the recitation of the mangal bhavana (auspicious aspirations) and the singing of the preksha hymn. This was followed by the initiation ceremony which was conducted by Samani Pratibha Pragya. This consisted of the recitation by of the dhyeya sutra   (aphorism for the purpose of preksha) followed by sankalpa sutra (resolution for meditation).

Samani Pratibha Pragya explained to the participants to bear in mind the following guiding principles (upasampada) for the weekend event:

 

  1. Bhavakriya - Mindful action
  2. Pratikriya virati - Restraint of reaction
  3. Maitri - Universal friendliness
  4. Mit Aahar - Restraint in eating
  5. Mit  Bhashan - Restraint in speech

The participants were divided into the following three groups:

 

  1. Children up to the age of 15
  2. Youths 16 - 40
  3. Over 40

The programme for each group was tailored to fulfil their specific needs. Samanijis with the assistance of Renu Dhariwal and Yashika Jain organised games for children such as  “Discovering Yourself” and “Treasure Island”. They also participated in relaxation, breathing and memory exercises. Children were taught the most important Jain Sutra - Dhammo mangal mukkittam….. verses from sacred text of Dasavekalika sutra. Stories from the life of Lord Mahavira, twenty- fourth Jain Tirthankara were also narrated. Samani Rohit Pragya in one of her lectures covered the topic of - “What makes you Big?”

The youth’s group had theoretical as well as practical sessions on Preksha Meditation and these were conducted by all the four samanijis. One of the topics of the lecture was - “Live life to the fullest” which was delivered by Samani Shukla Pragya.

Samani Pratibha Pragyaji’s session on contemplation, emphasised on our inner ability to heal. As a case study, one of the participants narrated his experience with   the guidance of samanijis the power of prekhṣa which helped him keep away from heavy dose of medications.

The adults group also had theoretical as well as practical sessions on Preksha Meditation. The Samanijis have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience of Preksha Meditation by conducting various workshops and camps not only in India but in various countries including United States of America, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Kenya, and Indonesia.

Moreover, the youths and adults groups   had lectures and practical sessions on various related  topics including wellbeing, empowerment, anger management, health in your hand, contemplation of forgiveness, asana, pranayama, kayotsarga,  mantra recitation  and white colour meditation. Power point presentations were used wherever necessary to make the lectures lucid and interesting. Samani Unnata Pragya gave a very stimulating discourse on     “ adhyatma padavali ” (concept of spirituality) - a composition by Acharya Tulsi. There was an interactive discussion with the audience about the duality of body and soul and the higher purpose of life.

After dinner on Saturday the participants took part in Gaman Yoga (walking meditation) on 280 acres of English countryside with a beautiful view of the Wyboston Lakes on a pleasant summer’s evening.       

The high point of the retreat was a game of “Spiritual Cricket”. This event took place on Saturday evening. The game was won by Preksha Dhyan team by 7 runs. They scored 47 runs with 9 wickets down against Preksha Yoga team score of 40 runs all out.      The title of the   “Woman of the Match” was awarded to Pragya Jain from Preksha Dhyan team.

The concept of the game was as follows:
Two opposing cricket teams - Preksha Yoga team and Preksha Dhyan team - had eleven players each. The game consisted of bowlers asking questions to batsmen on topics discussed during the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday. The batsmen had a choice of choosing easy questions (one run) to difficult/hard/tricky questions (four runs). Twenty seconds were allowed for each answer.

Most of the rules of the game of cricket were incorporated including overs, no balls, wide balls, run-out, caught, lbw, substitute for injured batsman. There were also a third umpire, two commentators and two scorers.

To sum up the weekend,   I quote the opening paragraph from an article written by Rahul Bhattacharya on Dravid and Laxman in the 150th edition of Wisden - Cricketers’ Almanack 2013. “Nusrat singing, Laxman and Dravid batting - TV on mute, and yoga”. A note from an acquaintance in Mumbai had this description of his perfect day.!

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