The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Centre in is based on a splendidly beautiful country estate in Nuneham Courtney in Oxfordshire, where you can enjoy free meditation, spiritual study and personal development courses amongst like minded people seeking answers to some of life’s more philosophical questions – or perhaps just looking for a little time out and peaceful contemplation.
The Brahma Kumaris is an organisation that started back in 1936 in then India, but now Pakistan, by Dada Lekhraj, a 60 year old businessman who experienced visions about the nature of Soul, God and Time after becoming aware that he needed to seek more understanding about life and “being”. Since then, the group has expanded and grown to be represented in over 100 countries across the World.
The course I attended was a meditation insight and introduced the principals of Raja Yoga meditation, the core of which is to connect with your inner self - your soul - and to learn about the connections between soul, God (or if you prefer, Higher Power) and the material world. Aside from meditative practice, which was very effective, calming and peaceful, there was a great deal of insight into the subject of control. It’s a theme that has been coincidentally present in other areas recently – through reading online success stories about conscientious capitalism, ethical business practices and the subject of personal development, particularly involving women. Though there are complexities to the subject, the core idea is simple: the only thing you have complete control over, is yourself. What you can have no control over is other people and social and environmental elements like weather, tax and so on. So concentrate on controlling your “self” and let go of the rest. And essentially, stop trying to control other people.
Our attempts at controlling others are ultimately self defeating. However hard we try to persuade, coerce, force, bully or otherwise attempt to make others do as we wish, unless it just happens to be something they naturally want to happen themselves, the most likely reaction is at worst greater resistance accompanied by anger and rejection and at best some short term movement in your direction that quite quickly results in resentment and a reversal towards freedom from others. What we are encouraged to use instead of control is a conciliatory form of influence. Give and give freely, expecting no return and only when you have established that what you want to give is something the other person, or people, wants to receive. For example, don’t give advice because you think other people need it – that is not your decision to make (that’s you trying to control someone else). Offer the opportunity of advice and only give it if the other person agrees it’s something they want (that’s you influencing the other person in a way that’s truly helpful to both of you). In this way, progress is more likely in a spirit of harmony and peace. And it applies to all areas of life – and very much so in business. It’s such a simple way of being, take your hands off the business of others and concentrate on yourself. The greater respect, peace, love and understanding you have of self, the more likely you are to engage appropriately with others.
I’m sure there of those of you that would read this and think perhaps that without control, the result might be some form of chaos, a breakdown in structure, a lack of defined action that means the things we want to achieve will simply not happen. That leadership is undermined or perhaps that a plan cannot be met. But what this principal really is founded on is the art of letting go. It does not mean that we don’t set goals and have plans in place, it means we let go of the desire to stick rigidly to those plans and goals without taking into account the changing, unpredictable and unaccounted for factors that surround us all the time. What it requires is that we set our goals and formulate our plans and then stay open to the flexibility of altering our path along the way to accommodate emerging circumstances. It’s less rigid and more free flowing, less coercive and more collaborative, less stressful and more relaxed in style of delivery. It should make so many areas of our life more joyful and ultimately more successful.
At it’s most basic, I like to think of it in terms of Nature’s Metaphors and the natural elements of our world. When we try to control some of those powerful and naturally evolving forces we almost always fail or at best make our life difficult. Like battling against the tide instead of going with the flow of water.
“Letting Go” is a huge topic – one I’ll write more on. It’s also one of our most difficult lessons in life – and yet so incredibly freeing and empowering.
The Centre offers a whole range of one day retreats and events, covering many topics, including self esteem, positive thinking, dealing with fear and much more and there are courses on learning to meditate.
Do check out the website www.globalretreat.org, I highly recommend that you consider it, if only for a lovely, peaceful and interesting experience. But there’s so much more to gain – there are also other sites around the UK that you can attend. One very interesting thing of note about the meeting I went to, of an audience of around 100, at least 90% were women.
There is also a festival called Peace In The Park which is held in the summer every year, join their mailing list to receive details.