Listening to the Sound of Silence: Moral Re-Armament Programme at Panchgani

The following passage presents my recollections from one of the best moments I have ever had in my life. I was at this 4 day session called ‘Moral Rearmament programme’ conducted by ‘Initiatives of Change’ at Asia Plateau, Panchgani, Maharashtra. Read this if you believe in the power of listening to your inner self.

 

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We all lead a hectic life.

From daily classes to never-ending deadlines, it is extremely easy to get lost in this fast paced world. Every day, we struggle with challenges that lie both outside and inside ourselves. But with time, we lose our inherent capability to fight these challenges while trying to keep up with the world around us.

The moral re-armament programme conducted by ‘Initiatives of Change’ (IofC) was a welcome change from the rat-race that we are all a part of. It is conducted at a beautiful location called Asia Plateau –Panchgani. To describe the experience in one sentence- it provided us with an opportunity to connect with our inner self and experience the power of silence.

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Asia Plateau, Panchgani

Our first day started with waking up early and catching the 6 am bus from our college campus that would take us to Panchgani. After an exciting morning ride, we all reached the Asia Plateau campus within three hours from departure. The first glimpse of cloud covered campus made us rejoice with happiness. We have seen plenty of cloud cover days here at Lavale, but this was different, it was as if the weather had a personality of its own!  We were all waiting for the sessions to start.

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More shots from the Asia Plateau Campus

The first session was conducted by Siddharth, a volunteer who has been associated with Initiatives of Change for almost two decades now. He introduced us to the importance of ‘Values’. Values are something that we have been carrying with us since childhood, they have just evolved over a period of time. The session was designed in a manner that the attendees were given a lot of time to be silent and introspect what values we associated ourselves with. The silent introspection periods really helped me to talk to my own self after such a long time. We were also asked to write down all of our thought in a small yellow note book provided by the institution. Little did we know that this notebook will become a prized possession for the next few days.

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After each session that was conducted by their volunteer, we had a family session to follow that up. Our batch was divided into groups of around 10 people, each group being called a ‘family’. The family sessions were designed as a mechanism to give everyone room to talk about his/her inner reflections or feelings about the previous session.

 

 

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Some shots from the Asia Plateau, Panchgani Campus

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The first day ended with a wholesome dinner that was hand cooked by the staff members. Each family group was encouraged dishwashing and contribute in the food serving and dish washing activities. I personally loved the enthusiasm we all showed while cleaning the dishes, all of us frequently breaking into a song while bonding over a simple activity. This was the power of social activities, a lesson that is very difficult to learn without practical experiences.

The second day started with a session on soul nurture, which made us walk across the Asia Plateau campus while we contemplated life. This was followed by ‘Realm of Possibilities’, a session that informed us about why we make certain decisions in life, and other complex concepts like ‘Life Sentences’ and ‘World of possibility’. I was amazed by the fact that our mentor, Siddharth was able to communicate such complex ideas with such ease. It made me realize the hidden potential I possess and the importance of taking risks in life. The day ended with some more family time and self-realization sessions, most of which included a lot of ‘silence time’. The yellow notebook was getting filled up pretty fast.

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The third day was my favourite. It started with an early morning session on inner listening, basically encouraging us to listen to our inner voice. This was followed by a session on ‘Relationships’. A lot of speakers from ‘IofC’ came forward and shared the relationship issues they’d had in their past and how ‘silent time’ and listening to their inner voice helped them overcome these problems. Worth mentioning is the story of Ai from Japan, who heart fully shared her struggles with her father and how painful it was to adapt to her father’s new love interest. It made me realize that I had been incredibly lucky to have such amazing parents, and everyone does not have such privileges. This experience inspired a lot of SIBM students to open up and share their personal stories. It is amazing how such things bring us closer to each other. Another highlight of the day was the ‘Appreciation workshop’ where we all wrote appreciative words for each other. It was overwhelming to read the lovely things my classmates had to say about me. I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that how smartly this programme had been structured, giving us a glimpse of a different aspect of our personalities each day.

That night, we had an ‘Expressions’ session where the students showcased a variety of talents including dance, music, mimicry and even poetry!

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The fourth day, the last one was a mix of sadness and contentment. Sadness, as the entire programme was coming to an end. But by that day, we had started to have a feeling of contentment, a sense of being empowered by something more powerful than anything we had experienced before, the silence screams of our emotions. The last learning session that we had was about the ‘Power of Vision’ that taught us to how to find our calling.

It is amazing that we failed to realize how quickly the four days passed, and we dreaded the going back to our Hill-Top campus. These four days showed me new, and better, sides of people. Moments of self-realization, moments of new friendships, and moments of new found power.

One thing that I’ll definitely take back from this programme is the habit of indulging with myself more often than I used to. I have realized that I need to create a habit of giving time to myself no matter ow busy the schedule I am facing. The time that I spent with myself in silence not only helped me realize my true potential, it also made me conscious of the mistakes I had committed in the past. It’s rare to have an opportunity to relive your entire life in contemplation and the Moral Re-Armament programme provided me with just that. I am glad that I could be a part of this journey, and would love to come back to Asia Plateau again to relive the experience.

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I leave you with some shots from the Asia Plateau Campus

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-Vibhav Bisht

Vibhav is an avid traveller, photographer, and is currently pursuing MBA (Marketing) from SIBM, Pune. Feel free to disturb his daydreams by contacting him at: vibhav.bisht92@gmail.com


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© Copyright for all the images owned by SlowRover and Vibhav Bisht

 

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