Interview with Bhashkar Perinchery

The Purpose of IMU

Life is A Celebration

 

Dr. Ulrich Bayer: “I would like to ask few questions, that I felt arise in connection with what you do. What is the main purpose of the I.M.U.? Why did you think it would be important that it exists?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “First of all, in the very questioning there is one aspect, which we can start with. The normal approach of the human being is very much based on logic and this emphasis on logic and the calculativeness of the mind is one side of the whole story of life. But life is also magic, life is also mysterious, and the mystery is the basis.

Inner Metamorphosis University is emphasising on this need to connect to the wholeness of our reality - not only to the logical aspect, but also to the mysterious, the magical aspect of our reality, so that we are not just remaining caught in the calculative, businesslike approach of life, but we remember that life is a celebration, we are not doing things just for the sake of doing, we are doing whatever we are doing for the sake of being together, celebrating life, being in a loving way with each other and for discovering and understanding.

It is this deeper process, which has to be consciously brought in at the Inner Metamorphosis University, an approach which emphasises on the wholeness of the human being, an approach, which includes the mysterious and logical aspect of our reality. It becomes very, very valuable, especially in the modern context of our development in the world.”

Ulrich Bayer: “What is your foundation? Do you promote any specific life-style? Any philosophy about how one should behave?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “In life the orientation is life itself. I am not trying to teach some philosophy which I have been thinking and calculating. It is much more the awareness of that what is already there in life and the way to discover it, the way to awaken to it and the way to realize it which has to be made available.

And it is not a philosophy where somebody thinks in one way and somebody thinks in another way and argues and counter-argues and discusses, it is much more opening to the vision of seeing and experiencing the reality and that is not somebody’s individual business, it is not somebody’s private fantasy, it is just recognising the wonder that we are, recognising the beauty of this existence, recognising, that behind the whole paradoxical process of life there is harmony, there is a quality of love, there is a quality of playfulness, so that this awareness can be there undercurrently while we are in the turmoil and excitements of the day to day life.

Otherwise without such a deeper awareness we get easily trapped in the superficial aspect of the reality and then everything becomes too much, everything becomes very quickly serious, everything becomes also very frightening.

Only when this awareness of the deeper dimension becomes possible and when it gets felt and realized, a new understanding of what we are, who we are, what life is, becomes possible.”

Ulrich Bayer: “What does Inner Metamorphosis University mean?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “Metamorphosis is in the natural process a very interesting phenomenon, where a seemingly uninteresting moving small caterpillar goes through a process, goes through a period in the cocoon, and becomes a very colourful butterfly. It is a shift in the dimension. From a crawling, one-dimensional kind of approach it is attaining a new quality of colourfulness and freedom and beauty, which is transplanted to the human inner development, the nature of our development and inner process.

It is something of a magic process, it is a jump. It is something which one normally cannot conceive, that so much joy is possible, so much beauty is possible, so much wonder is there in this existence.

Because being busy with the day to day life, one easily gets trapped in the obvious, in the apparent. And then one forgets why one is doing all this. Everyone is living not just for him- or herself, but there is something more, something deeper to realize. This inner metamorphosis refers to such a requirement for a leap in consciousness, for a jump in understanding, which is possible for a human being but which the logical, calculative mind often cannot conceive of.

The inner metamorphosis is referring to this phenomenon, which has to happen and which can happen to the human being. The University is the basis for creating such awareness and supporting those who are ready to go through this process and begin to explore and inquire.

It is an inspiring, encouraging, supportive framework, which is created through this Inner Metamorphosis University.”

Ulrich Bayer: “Is there any specific reason why the I.M.U. was opened here in Chicago?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “One can try to explain everything in the logical way as I mentioned first, and imagine that everything can be reduced into logic, so I would put it the other way round: Why not? Why not Chicago?

Like it is the tendency in certain people: when you ask one question, the answer is one more question, so I would like to bring that approach, because that has some beauty in it so that it is not remaining in a logical serious way, but it allows a certain playfulness.

But there are many factors, when one comes to the logical aspect of it. Life has its ways and many things in life are very mysterious. But one of the factors, which I would like to mention, is that the Inner Metamorphosis University also has a religious quality.

One of the first meetings of all the Religions of the world was happening in the last century in Chicago, and this is something which has to happen. Rather than becoming trapped in the divisions created by following certain concepts blindly, it is necessary that everybody is looking at that which is joining everybody together, that what is bringing everybody together.

A religiousness which brings diversity together and at the same time accepts and respects uniqueness is possible and that is what the Inner Metamorphosis University orientates towards.

Ulrich Bayer: “What is the purpose of meditation? Why do you think it is so important?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “Meditation is an indication, which in Sanskrit language for example simply means: attentiveness. The word Meditation sounds a little mysterious to people who are not familiar with it. But Meditation in practice is simply connected with deepening of the awareness, deepening of the attentiveness. Bringing the attention to the deeper factors of our reality is what is meant with the meditative process.

In the normal way of going, the mind focuses on certain aspects only and invariably it is a projection. One refers to that which comes from outside to that, which is there as conditionings, to that, which is there as impressions from the past and based on that, everything gets categorized and labelled.

Our normal way of understanding is a way of projecting through the past. A meditative approach is learning to look, so that we are not only focusing at some of the impressions and trying to come to a conclusion about reality, but learning to be with the ongoing, changing, moving, mysterious process of reality.

It is allowing an aliveness, a dynamism which is in life, which has the quality of joy and the quality of playfulness, which is what can happen through going into a meditative process. Meditation is not something of a serious and struggling approach; it is much more a quality of discovering a certain inner curiosity to understand and in playfulness to see what life is, to see what our reality is. It is such an inner quality which is required when one wants to enter into meditation.”

Ulrich Bayer: “What if someone is not able to meditate? If he is just not able to sit still for a whole hour, when the back hurts and when one cannot stop thinking? Some people need something more active, for example, some people may prefer to relax while jogging, swimming, or making music or something.”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “The meditative process is not limited to just sitting alone. Sitting is only one of the bridges to the meditative process and many of the methods and a variety of approaches of meditation are used at the Inner Metamorphosis University.

Some may be connected with dancing, some are connected with expressions of the different emotions and feelings, some are connected with just the energetic process, and some are connected with simple movement and breath-awareness.

There is an innumerable variety of approaches, which are offered, and according to that, which enables someone to go deeper, or that which is the requirement of the particular person, they can work with it more intensely and deeply and allow the quality of inner silence, inner sensibility to develop.

It is not that sitting alone is the meditative process. Sitting can be for some people the starting point, but for some, activities of a different kind will be the starting point. In the process of the meditative development there will be stages where we stop interfering with the process of nature and remember to be a non-interfering observer. And this is one of the key factors, because in being a non-interfering observer we are moving beyond the political approach, we are not taking sides with one part or the other part, we are not going into believing and holding to conditioned identifications, instead we are allowing a deeper way of being with reality, where we connect to that which is more like a mirror, which is simply mirroring all that is in front of it without choosing one against the other.

Normally what is called an objective way of looking is not so objective, because unless you become aware of the workings of the mind within, you cannot really be objective in a deeper sense. But such a quality of mirroring the reality is very very valuable and a great bridge towards becoming aware of the mystery, that is in oneself and all around oneself.

This is the direction. It is not limited to one particular approach, it is multiple kinds of approaches which are possible and made available and that is what is decisive.”

Ulrich Bayer: “Is there anything special about your approach as opposed to others?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “I am not trying to compare and compete with anybody. That is not my approach. My approach is to accept life with its diversity, with its mystery and I simply remind everybody who is ready that it is possible for you to look deeper and to become aware of the real treasure which is in oneself and to allow a life which becomes a life of playfulness and freedom, of joy and celebration.

It is possible for everybody, because it is the innermost reality in everyone. Therefore, what I am trying to make available is not something which I am managing. I am simply helping the person who comes to discover what is already there, but is hidden. It is like the work of a gardener. In the seed there is already the potential of a flower, but the seed needs to be put in the right ground with the right support and then it goes off in time.

One day it comes into flowering and suddenly almost unbelievable, it has such magnificence of colours and beauty, which one cannot - of course - conceive of, when one is just seeing the seed of it.

And so it is with the human being.”

Ulrich Bayer: “I could mention, that many people may be attracted by what you are saying and at the same time they may think: ‘Oh, I am so busy, no, I have not enough time, how can I spend hours with some exercises every day?’ Can it not be shorter?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “This preoccupation with such a calculative approach is also the trap of our modern time, but I have been creating also reminders with which people can work during the day to day life-process, so that, without taking additional time they can take some inner steps and begin to sense and feel a different basis of the reality.

But on the other side, one has to realize that whenever one wants to understand oneself, understand life more deeply, one has to go beyond this calculative approach and also allow spaces where one is not just remaining on a calculative utilitarian level.

Otherwise one is reducing oneself just into being part of machinery. When you take time for yourself, it is taking time to go beyond these usual roles and goals with which one is so preoccupied. And that is creating the right distance - the right space - so that we can understand the game we play in life and all the roles and goals and see it with the right perspective.

I make it possible that everybody can start from wherever they are and    - in spite of all the pressures - that it becomes possible for people to begin with it.  Some approaches, some reminders, which are given in the books which are available, are methods with which one can work with in day to day life-process without taking additional time.

But there are also methods which people can practice together to go deeper, opportunities to participate in seminars to really bring the attention to the deeper factors which have to be looked at and considered. It is possible to integrate all different kinds of people; they can start according to their possibilities and according to their readiness.

I try to create bridges to everybody who is somehow a little bit interested and ready.”

Ulrich Bayer: “How is it that changes will happen in ones life so that things become better? How can the exercises that you suggest help me in making positive changes?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “The exercises are just a support in different ways to experience the energy-potential in you, to become aware of your own individual responsibility in your own happiness and future, and also making it feelable, that you are not just accidentally in this life-process, you are part of this alive, dynamic, celebrative process of life and wanted, welcomed.

This is a very very important aspect for everybody to realize, that nobody is unwanted in this existence. Human beings may judge each other like that.

Like in the Upanishad there is a saying: “Even if a blade of gras is missing, the whole existence will thirst for it.” It is a very significant indication, because it is just reminding, that nobody is unwanted, nobody is here really as a stranger. Only we may have lost the connection to our reality and to ourselves, but that can be re-discovered and that is, what can become possible. A person, who starts working with the exercises and is sincerely interested in understanding oneself and life more deeply, will find tremendous support through this framework, in this background. This person will recognize that it is not just someone’s theory, but that there is a basis in it; that this is how it is in reality.

And when somebody through his or her own experience comes to recognize it, then it is not believing somebody or following somebody, it is their recognition, and then nobody needs to convince them.”

Ulrich Bayer: “In joining the classes offered by the I.M.U. will I get what I want, for example a pleasant marriage, more money, a nice house to live in? Will it help me in achieving my goals?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “It is not goal-oriented in that narrow way. And yes, it will help you to achieve your goals in this way:

if you are really interested in being fulfilled in life, if you are really interested in living a life which leads to clarity and freedom - if you are really interested that you are not remaining in an entangled state, that you want to go with your energy in a creative and loving way in life - then, this will be very very valuable and supportive for that.

Of course, when you start getting more clear inside and in you the feeling arises, to go in one direction or another direction, it will become more and more transparent for you what are really the factors that are pulling you in this or that direction and whether it is really relevant for you. You will be able to go more energetically in that direction, more clearly, more intensely in that direction.

The meditative process helps you to get clear of that, which is against you in yourself, that which is hindering you in being clear and free and fulfilled. And it helps you to see that what is valuable in you and to give more energy to it and participate more intensely in these aspects.”

Ulrich Bayer: “Why do you suggest in your exercises to look at the negative? A lot of methods work with looking at the positive side of everything and with not allowing the negative into ones life. That seems to be more effective. I cannot see why witnessing the negative should help, but bringing the attention to the positive definitely makes a difference.”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “It is like this. It is not that all exercises are concerned about confronting the negative, but in the dynamism of life the positive and the negative aspects are there and if we only try to suppress the negative and cover up the negative and condemn it, then we are not able to see what is meant with this aspect which appears to us as negative.

Only when we realize we can be free.

Not by suppressing anything and not by managing to appear positive, but by confronting reality and by being authentically with all that is. To bring about a clearance, to bring about a transformation of the energy, which is not against the negative but simply releasing the energy of getting trapped in the negative patterns, that is what can become possible when we look at that which is working as negative factors in our life. The negative factors continue to dominate us only as long as we don’t confront them deeply and directly.

If we remember to look at it without reducing it into some analytical approach, if you just look at it, without calling it any name, without labelling it in any way, without wanting - from the beginning - to be against it or get rid of it. Just seeing, what is it, what is behind the negative feeling or negative behaviour, negative tendencies, negative approaches, then one realizes that often there are fears or uncertainties or some desires which are at work, and the primary step is to come in touch with these factors, the fears, the desires, unclarities, which are operating in oneself and which - when it comes to awareness, when it becomes conscious to us - we have the possibility to go differently about it.

Then we can see what other ways of going about it are there.

Because it is also very important to realize that most of the negative behaviour is not coming from a state of clarity and intelligence, it is more an automatic way of reaction

The moment you bring your attention and see things the way they are, then you also have a little distance to the whole situation and you are able to incorporate your deeper intelligence in your answering to the situation and that is the significant factor, because everybody can see somewhere what is a creative step and what is a destructive process. But very often people are getting overwhelmed by certain reactions because they are not bringing the attention to these processes which are taking place undercurrently. Rather than just covering up or condemning them or trying to only deal with them in a superficial way, when you decide to confront them and allow an authentic clearance and transformation to take place that will be an enduring step and that is valuable.

That is not just a kind of making up something and creating a plastic image, which is not alive and true, but it is simply by understanding, seeing and allowing the clarity, to bring to manifestation that which is true and really oneself.

And that is the understanding also behind all this, that deep within - whatever be the apparent state of anybody - deep within everyone is part of this divine process, everyone is part of this mystery, everyone is part of this oneness of the life-process. The so-called sinner and the so-called saint are only apparently different. A really holy person is one who has become aware that life is one interrelated process; it is a non-dualistic-process.

That means that there is no condemnation in a blind sense towards anybody, there is no feeling of being superior to anybody, because deep within you realize that the whole life-process is one process, that the other and me are not - deep within – separate, we are interconnected.

And naturally when this is your experience and not only some theory when you come to realize it - then you see the playfulness of life, then you also connect with each other with a different sensibility. There will be a deep friendship and respect and gratitude towards life and towards each other and that is what is very important.”

Ulrich Bayer: “What is one supposed to do in the silent sitting? Does one reflect and contemplate on things?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “Silent sitting is one of the methods and is simply as the words indicate: sitting silently without doing anything in particular. That means in essence, consciously not interfering with life, because unconsciously in our normal way of going we are interfering in many ways. We are going on judging, we are going on projecting and often not realising, that this is what is happening.

When you consciously take some time to be with yourself and reality without going into the normal approach of categorising and labelling, it is in a sense making yourself more deeply and directly available to life.

That is the orientation in many of the active methods when you go deeply into it in the way it is indicated, it will allow, in the process of it, such a quality of consciousness and receptivity towards life.

It is creating the basis in which the human being can go beyond the traps of negativity, depression and violence in which one can so easily get trapped when one goes unconsciously and blindly in life. But when one remembers that we have to understand life more deeply and that we should not hold to the conditioned knowledge and the values with which we have been programmed blindly, then, a new way of experiencing reality, a new way of connecting to the reality becomes possible, and that is what a quality of inner silence will enable one to experience and feel.

Silent sitting is one of the methods. There are methods which are starting with different kind of activities which basically orient towards allowing such a deeper awareness and receptivity to reality.”

Ulrich Bayer: “What is an optimal inner practice? What does it look like?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “All practices said and done are preparatory work. The real inner work is not a work, it is not a doing, it is just a remembrance. It is the remembrance that we need to use the mind and knowledge with the recognition that this is not the absolute basis of our reality. The judgement which we have and the knowledge which we use - howsoever significant and relevant it may be in certain occasions - is always relative.

To become aware of it and not be trapped in the judging approach, for example when Jesus used to say to those who were connected to him: "Judge not", it is not only about being kind to each other, it is not only about looking at the other in a more accepting way, it has also to do with allowing a deeper way of experiencing the reality and that is what is behind such key statements.

When people practice it, then it will start bringing about a different insight into reality, but such deeper practices are possible only when being connected with the context, where the unclarities and difficulties which arise, can get confronted and cleared, because it is not following a theory and constructing something, it is a very paradoxical process. As I said, it is all not just logical; it is allowing the dimension of the logical and mystery process of life.

We have to go more with a different quality. It is like a river which is flowing to the ocean. The river is not just flowing in one direction, just like a Highway, which is going straight all the time and directly to the goal. But a river which is moving to the ocean is taking sometimes such windings and going around, sometimes taking turns, which look as if it going into the opposite direction.  But in such a playful dancing way it moves to the ocean and that is the quality which is important, that it is not a technique, it is remembering to celebrate life.

In one of the last Life-surfing-seminars I gave everybody one reminder, which I said, is abbreviated as ARCH: Acceptance, Respectfulness, Celebration and Humility. Arch is a bridge between the sky and the earth. This abbreviation is also to remind of this possibility of bridging between the different dimensions of our reality and for that, accepting oneself and respecting oneself is very important. Just like one has to accept life and respect life. And the celebration is one of the very significant factors, because when you remember that all that is there in life is not given as a punishment or as a kind of burden.

Even the greatest challenges are simply hidden invitations for us to discover and to understand life in a deeper way and to come in touch with possibilities of our reality which we otherwise may not have come across.

By celebrating life - you are creating the right basis for experiencing and receiving life. Accepting, respecting, celebrating life, be humble. Humility not just as a kind of appearance and attitude in the sense of looking humble, but humility arising from the recognition that this vast mysterious life with such variety, with such great intelligence is there, even before we came and it will be there, even when we are not there in this body.

We have to connect to it with such wakefulness, so that we are not trapped in our knowledge and utilitarian thinking and not trapped in all kinds of heaviness and seriousness and depressive states.

Only when one remembers that we need to look at life with a quality of innocence to understand what life really is, this quality of innocence is what makes the difference. The quality of innocence which arises through awareness is humility.”

Ulrich Bayer: “Will I be a different person after I meditate for a while?”

Bhashkar Perinchery: “It is not the meditation which is doing anything to you; it is your basic interest in understanding life that is the primary factor. The meditation simply creates a certain framework for you to go deeper into your inner wish, into this intention of understanding and experiencing life more deeply.

The techniques and the meditative process are a support together with your intention. Your intention is the primary factor. When in you there is a wish and a readiness to learn, to grow and to awaken, definitely all this will be very supportive.”

LIFE IS A CELEBRATION, Interview with Bhashkar Perinchery   - Initiator of the I.M.U. - recorded in September 2005 for the opening of the Inner Metamorphosis University

This Interview is available on audio-CD click here