Q: Your ‘Discover Yourself’ workshops empower people tremendously, and God bless you for that! While people are very empowered during the three days of the workshop, when they get back to the realities of their lives, be it toxic family members at home or the workplace, rough men and women, traffic, pollution, water problems, and all such mundane matters, how do they retain their sanity outside your workshop space? – Jagir Resham
A: Thanks for your kind appreciation of our work. When we receive such messages from participants, it encourages us to dedicate our self and continue selflessly in seeking to make a difference to humanity.This workshop is not something simply to understand, but, rather, something to live by it, to apply.
It’s a very common syndrome”some people get obsessed with what they learn in the workshop for a short time and fully immerse themselves in it, only to give up a few days or a week or two later”what the Japanese might call a “three-day monk syndrome.” A “three-day monk” gets very little accomplished because a short, intense enthusiasm isn’t enough to accomplish meaningful change. How can you get in shape if you exercise for a week and then stop? How can you learn a language or write a novel if you spend only a few days working on it every six months?
In our experience of over 16 years, we have found that many of the workshops participants get the workshop conceptually but do not practise their learning and hence the impact does not last for more than a few days. They have no intention to implement what they learn and be the change that they want to see around them. Their focus is on knowing and learning new tools to change others, not themselves. Merely after listening to some inspiring talks, some people go about claiming that they know everything, but this only furthers their ignorance. Some people are content with merely listening to discourses and sermons and attending seminars and workshops. That does not lead to Realisation. Without practice you can never get connected to the heart”the Realization faculty.
In a spiritual journey, we can only guide the participants but cannot walk for them. They have to do the walking themselves. The workshop does not change them”that is something for them to work on”but some participants have the misconception that once they attend the workshop, it will transform them permanently. But nothing is permanent! One must continue to practise the tools learned in the workshop until this becomes a habit, a way of life.
Another thing that we have observed is that in several cases, the spouse and other family members, rather than encouraging and being supportive to those who have done the workshop, continue to taunt them, sarcastically passing remarks”that they are useless and that they will never change, no matter how many workshops they attend. This attitude of the family has a deeply negative impact on their inner self and forces them to give up their commitment to change.
Forgetfulness is another cause for some of those who have participated in the workshop to go back to the default mode of living as in the past.
A few of those who are committed try to put into practice the tools they have learnt in the workshops, and they gain the benefit from that. For them, external situations and circumstances, toxic people etc. have no impact on their inside. They are firm in their commitment, and even though sometimes they may slip up because of external influences, they pick themselves up and re-affirm their commitment to a sort of life that they choose.
The secret behind the retention of the tools learned in the workshop lasts till you do not make such statements like “It is not possible for me to practice” or “It does not work for me” or such similar statements.
The workshop intends to take people out of their self-created problems, miseries, and sufferings and free them from the burdens of the past and anxiety about the future. It seeks to give them the tools to live in the present and practice Islam as a way of life. The workshop helps those who are willing and committed to come out of the domain of logic and reason into the domain of reality. Reality is beyond logic and reason, and you cannot come out simply by knowing things but only by practicing the tools. Everyone is trapped, left, right, front and back, by the mind, and hence, lives in self-created reality, in Illusion, in Maya, in deception. Allah wants us to go beyond logic and reason, but most of us are unwilling to let go. When freed from the illusion, we will realize the truth of the Self, and move towards God-Consciousness. This process leads us to move from illusion to Reality, from darkness to light, and thus it is a doorway to Self-realisation.
“What shall avail a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?”