Awareness Through The Body
'Awareness through the Body' is a quite
exceptional programme taking place in Auroville's Kindergarten, Transition
School and, occasionally, in adult groupings as well.
In these pages they tell about this
Through the Body' aims to provide tools for children to expand their
consciousness, discover their inner self and eventually their psychic being, so
that they can figure out by themselves how to steer their life, make out their
own navigation charts, and create their own 'owner's manual'.
want to give individuals the possibility of refining and internalising the
senses so that they can use them in a more complete way, detached from judgment
and preconceived ideas, thereby becoming aware of his/her own perceptions with
as little outside interference as possible.
think that the way to achieve this large goal is to discover and explore the
body, and through the body awaken the consciousness of the entire being and all
the parts that form it.
and planes of the being
Mother and Sri Aurobindo describe the being as formed by several parts. Some of
these, which are important for Awareness Through the Body, are as follows:
The physical, our visible body,
is formed by matter.
The vital plane contains all the
forces of life and movement, which cover the whole range of human feelings; what
we call the emotional body belongs to this plane.
The mind is the gradation of the
being that corresponds to the present stage of evolution, a transitional stage.
It is not a faculty of knowledge; it is a faculty for the seeking of knowledge.
It is there that ideas and principles work to establish themselves. Above the
mind are higher levels of consciousness, which are often expressed in religion
and spirituality, and to which we can have access by special gifts or
The psychic or soul, a very
important element in the gradations of being, is supporting all the other
gradations. The psychic is essentially divine or the Divine. It is this psychic
being which takes up the gradations mentioned above when it incarnates as a
parts of the Being
address the physical body by working with the senses and through exercises that
promote fluidity, space and expansion in joints and tissues of the body. By
helping the children to internalise the senses we open access to all the
richness of the child's inner world and to their subtle body.
work the vital being through games and exercises that help to differentiate and
control energy, and, with older groups through exploration of emotions and
approach the mental being through attention, concentration, relaxation
exercises, and debriefings on the exercises that have been done, although,
attention, concentration and relaxation are always part of whatever activity we
gradations form a whole within the divine unity of being with many intermediary
shades that run into each other. The parts of the being are interwoven and
cannot be separated. There are also, we may say, two beings in us: one on the
surface, our ordinary exterior mind, vital, body consciousness, and another
behind the veil, constituting the inner self formed by an inner mind, inner
vital, an inner physical consciousness. The psychic being is the inmost being of
all and quite distinct from the inner self. This means that we need to develop
ways to bring children into an awareness that not only acknowledges each of
these parts, but experiences them as integrally linked. This creates
opportunities for the children to unfold and to develop all the potential that
is in them.
of the Inner and Outer Being
we live on the surface of our feelings, thoughts and emotions without being
aware of the depths of our being. To become aware of the inner self we need to
separate ourselves from the surface and become an impartial observer or witness
who looks at all that happens as a spectator without active interest or
preference, being neither pleased nor repulsed. By developing an awareness of
the inner being in all parts and actions of our personality, our consciousness
begins to become an instrument of our soul rather than remaining primarily in
the domain of our physical body, mind and emotions. Developing an awareness
of the witness attitude - the observer within - stands central in all our work
with Awareness through the Body. It is a never-ending process, a theme that
resurfaces and grows. It is this witness attitude along with a deep sincerity
that opens access to the psychic being.
'use' of oneself
all of the exercises we do with children, we put the focus on what is
done and how it is done, what is happening and how it is
happening and we give special importance to the concept of the use of oneself.
Use of oneself conveys the possibility of feeling, acting and thinking without
identifying oneself with the actions, as if the thinker, doer and feeler were
not oneself but tools of the self.
key word on this concept is use. Generally speaking, we learn to use many outer
things or instruments, we learn to do things, but we do not often learn to
evaluate how we use ourselves in everything we do. This concept allows children
to consider what they do, how they act, feel and think. Instead of just reacting
to situations, they can reevaluate and assess several options to achieve their
aims in a more precise and effective way. This concept helps to reduce the
stress produced by conflicts that they may have in relating to themselves or
with the environment. It brings the possibility of overcoming habits and
limitations, and gives a sense of inner freedom. This concept also feeds the