|SEMINAR COMMENTS BY PARTICIPANTS
January -2003-Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.
A new opportunity to work. Or better yet, a new way to see the need I have to Work. The International Seminar 2003, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, my first seminar of a truly international dimension, constituted for me a new contact with the possibilities the Work offers and the miracle of our lives.
Nine highly intensive days with a complete activity program from early morning till night, starting with The Great Prayer at 6:am, continuing with the morning exercise, small groups meetings of reading and observation, the daily exercises that happened every half hour (at the ringing of the bell), Movements (in three separate groups), practical work, ktitchen work, small groups to work on the moving center, and Zikr before dinner, closing the activities at 10pm. In total 82 persons (includin 10 children) roughly half coming from the Dominican group and the rest from several countries.
The Dominican group had an excellent opportunity to host these people who came as a divine gift to visit and share with us. They gave us the opportunity to open ourselves to other forms of being. Many of them did not belong to a Work group but were however easily integrated into the daily activities.
Several days after the seminar I felt a strong connection with the whole group, a feeling of union through some special energy. And above all, a feeling of gratitude for having had the opportunity to participate in this event. A thread united me with the entire group, without expecting anything from anyone and without them expecting anything from me.
My gratitude especially for the balanced seminar work structure covering many aspects of the Work and relating them intelligently. I really appreciated the clear articulation of tools, methods, models, suggestions and understandings, but without the intellect cutting off the emotional vitality and physical liveliness. Your group work has heart in a very refreshing way, and I am grateful to have been moved and nurtured within it...
The daily theme readings from Pierre Elliot and John Bennett fell upon me as a soft rain, providing a firm foothold from which to approach each days exercise. I was particularly impressed by the reading which suggested a relatioship between Hanbledzoin and Theomertmalogos, Bennett's look at Function, Being and Consciousness and knowing that there lies a personally accessible body of understanding apart and beyond the three centers. Also a passage which asked us to look at the difference in taste of remorse and self reproach, remains with me.
The exercises buid upon one another systematically and, with the help of others in our group meetings, allowed for the clarification of some confusion and preconceived ideas which I had concerning sensation, bodies and energy
"Laborare est Orare" to work is to pray. My time spend in the seminar povided a subtle shift awareness of the importance of my attention from the external to the internal, individually and as a group. I whish to thank everyone connected with this event who made the experience possible.
Jose and Wim pushed us hard the first 3 days and that was understandable. This way they could quickly evaluate us and provide us with those moments of opportunity when the inner self is laid bare for the viewing. I did not mind being brought out beyong my capabilities and struggling with the mechanical self for those 3 days (which is a total of 9 hour in class!). Although if it had not been balanced with the more compassionate treatment we received beginning on about Tuesday. I would have had a very bad overall experience I believe. If I had not tasted any success at all (which was the case for the first 3-4 days), and not had the chance to 'mix' with any Movement what-so-ever, I do not know what would have become of me. There was a serious war going on inside me as it was, the urge to give up was constant and forceful. Again, I did not mind confronting myself and accepting the suffering. I did not stabilize emotionally till Tuesday. I knew I was doing a kind of 'doble-time' on the suffering department (as opposed to what we normally go through in life) and I accepted that as part of the process. However, if I hat not been given the chance to catch my breath and experience success in a Movements class, I may have succumbed to the losing feeling. I am deeply greatful to Wim and Jose for taking this firm but patient approach with all of us. I can imagine how destructive a wrong approach could be. For me this was the central element, the key element to my having had a positive experience overall at the seminar (and resultantly a good experience in my day-to-day life since returning home).