Watching, witnessing, participating..
In this beautiful dance of life
One of the many blessings
from a dear friend, Brijbala
200 some people!
Children, Youth, Adults, Elders
A teeming of energy, flow and indeed
Abundant diversity, Profound intensity
Lightness, Play, Music
Yes- each of us, discovering, sharing…
Singing our song
Such resonance and yet
It took us so long to connect!
A community that seems to be already
Living, manifesting, unfolding vibrantly
The dreams I have held
There was an ease and flow
When nothing ‘needed’ to be ‘done’
A lot was getting done
It seemed .. as if.. by itself.
Still marvelling at how we all
A great and spacious ‘holding’
& hosting 😉
It seemed so effortless
Rarely have I encountered
So much diversity
All that remains ..
Is profound gratitude and …
An ongoing deepening of
Conversations, connections and co-creations
This is a glimpse of the Learning Societies gathering that I participated in at The Deer Park Institute early this April 2011.
What was fascinating about this gathering –
• Diversity: People from different geographies and histories 😉 (e.g. Iran, US, Canada, Egypt…) ethnic backgrounds, generations, livelihoods
• Spaciousness for people to be and do, listen and sing the song they want to
• Freedom amidst a deep structure- that of life itself!
• Spontaneous Responsibility
• No ‘one’ is significant and so each one is.
• Synchronous connections
• Birth of a new world order where people get to decide what they want to do, how they want to learn, when they want to play and more.
• There is nothing loudly spectacular and yet there are so many many amazing moments people are having which are nothing short of the miraculous expressing in simple ordinary ways.
• The innocence, the simplicity, the purity of people- indeed an encounter with what is soul-full.
• A facebook that’s suddenly popped out of the screen and is alive in flesh and blood
What I am noticing and learning about me/ my mind:
• Part of me wants to share, reach out, participate, learn, enthusiastically dance and there is a part of me that is laid back, wants to rest, be by myself.
• Am noticing that unlike in the past, I am more at ease with what is.. inside myself and outside.
• When the need to be noticed and shine drops, life shines through me in the way it wants to,
When the desire to ‘stand out’ is held lightly, something ‘outstanding’ radiates brightly
• I enjoy connecting with people one-to-one
• I really miss the internet- Deepakbhai’s internet also stopped working! – maybe a signal from the universe to chill and attend to what is present.
The unspectacular and yet great Aha! moments
• How people gathered around my sharing, the beginning of dialogue- like the gentle moist getting deposited on flowers and leaves effortlessly
• Seeing Deepakbhai and doing ‘The Work’ with him around his relationship with his son-
‘He should have a purpose in his life’ – Such beautiful turnarounds –
a) I should have a purpose in his life (as a friend, not merely a father!- being his friend, allowing him to be mine)
b) I should not have a purpose in my life 😉 (coming here without purpose enabling some great stuff to happen, when I let go of my need for ‘purpose’, the purpose that life has of me begins to sing itself through me)
• Meeting with Ross who was sharing about his journeys – Art for Peace with children- his epiphany and awakening of Kundalini and the sheer simplicity and profundity of his sharing, caring and living.
• Warren and Tana – http://www.OrganisationUnbound.org – and their work. And how they were drawn to the work of CoEvolve.
• Chatting with Om, Ravi’s nephew – listening to his desire to join the IPS- connecting him with Rajesh, the inspiring IG of Bhopal and North Node book and also Tao of Leadership- all of that resonated with him deeply!
and many more
The note which was sent out to build context and invite people is itself an interesting document to read.
Learning Societies Conference
on “Contemplation, Compassion, Creativity and Courage,”
This intergenerational conference will bring together approximately 150 leading
“thinker-doers” from around South Asia who are active in challenging the
monopoly of factory-schooling and nurturing diverse learning communities,
vernacular traditions, intercultural dialogue and swaraj. There will be organic
farmers, artists, artisans, activists, designers, filmmakers, healers, alternative
educators, entrepreneurs, homeschoolers, unschoolers, barefoot innovators,
parents, youth, spiritual seekers, and more (there were facilitators, writers,
environmentalists, dancers, musicians etc.) We believe that the agenda of
education and learning is far too important to be left to just B.Ed teachers and
NCERT educationists. As with all learning societies events, the conference is open
to families and children.
We hope to build upon the reflection, dialogue and co-motion that have been
initiated in the Learning Societies network already. There will a lot of space in the
conference to explore radical ideas, proposals and projects. This is a fantastic
opportunity to really think outside the box. Most importantly, the central purpose of
the conference is to build strong friendships and critical connections. Previous
conferences have taken place in Udaipur, Mumbai, Brazil, Jordan, Pakistan, and
Several exciting inquiries have emerged over this time, and out of these, many new
– What is the learning ecology of each of our diverse communities? What challenges is it
facing? How can we regenerate it?
– What kinds of unlearning and uplearning experiments are significant and necessary for the
times we live in?
– How do we connect learning with healthy food, community media, zero waste, local
economy, cultural creativity, and other essential aspects of harmonious living?
– What harm has factory schooling done to us and what is the way beyond ?
– How do each of our individual learning journeys relate to one another?
– What can we do in our own lives and work to challenge the Education and Development
systems which are violent, exploitative and dehumanizing?
– How can we recognize diverse forms of power, resistance, regeneration, and engage and
What are the ways to deepen and expand intercultural dialogue, trust and gift culture?
You may like to review the previous five learning societies books (published by
Shikshantar) which contain over 60 essays from around the world. If you do not yet
have copies, you can download them from the web at
http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/ls_discussion.html or you can write to
for hard copies. You can also see two previous
learning societies conference films on the learning societies facebook page.
The format is of an unConference.
This means that we will co-create the agenda
together. There will be a lot of open space in the conference for participants to
spontaneously share questions, experiences, experiments, workshops, play,
music, food, treks, etc., with each other in the spirit of deep dialogue and
friendship. We have also decided not to require any submission of formal academic
papers. Instead, we are asking that you actively participate in the pre-conference
online interactions in the coming months. We feel that this process will help us to
better self-organize ourselves into a vibrant learning community when we all meet.
We will be using yahoo groups and facebook for this.
The conference fees will operate on the principle of gift culture. You can contribute
whatever you are able to toward the costs of food, accommodation and materials
(the rough cost is about Rs.1800 per person). This applies to those staying at the
group dorms and dining hall facilities at the Deer Park Institute.
We look forward to welcoming you at Deer Park!
Prashant Varma, Deer Park
Manish Jain, Shikshantar
Nitin Paranjape, Earth Care Designs
Claude Alvares, Multiversity
Ravi Gulati, Manzil
Aspi and Yasmin Shroff, Possibilities
Saud Hakim and Reva Dandage, Swaraj University
Some people’s experiences:
“there is nothing i can specifically say that i learned from LSC… yet, it has left me transformed.
like i put a status message on FB – i feel, if i left for joining LSC feeling like a caterpillar, i came back feeling like a butterfly.
whatever i have received, doesnot seem to sit inside me distinctly, and separately. nothing that i can pull out and examine.
some magic seems to have happened.
what happened seems more like winds that went through me, leaving me transformed.
and as a result, i find myself standing in a new place, a new world.
and i feel that true learning is always like that. integrated. dissolved.”
– Biren Shah
“I am celebrating that there were so many people from pune. I felt like seeing people from my home town and was excited to connect with them.
… that the sessions on unconventional relationships were held outside the open space time and there was open ness and trust in them.
… that we had the langar and it was like a dance where things happened organically like a true self operating system, almost like the way things happen in nature.
… the presence off all those who supported it by serving and by receiving it. I would like to share this song,
“I never feel more given to
than when you take from me/
when I understand the joy I feel giving to you
and you know my giving isn’t done to
to put u in debt….
but because I want to live the love I feel for you.
To receive with grace
Maybe the greatest giving.
There is no way I can separate the two.
When u give to me
I give u my receiving,
When you take from me, I feel so given to”
…..‘given to’ by Ruth Bebermeyer