9 Stages of Transformational Learning

Behind all the visible forms and activities, Auroville is a force field of a new consciousness. It is architecturally and symbolically represented by the Matrimandir at the centre of Auroville.

It is like the Force, the central Force of Auroville, the cohesive Force of Auroville.

The Mother, On Matrimandir, 7 July 1970

It is this force field the underlying generative soil of Auroville bringing forth new forms and ways of learning and transformation of self and society. The master plan of the city campus spirals around this centre in the form of a galaxy.

When you come to Auroville for a learning journey, it is into this energy field you are immersing and it infuses and enters you in subtle ways creating the necessary conditions for your transformation. The short structured courses, internships, apprenticeships, workshops, and activities you get involved as a part of your learning journey are means to enter and engage with the field directly. The transformative influence and impact of the field on you depend on the stage of your individual learning journey. The way you experience your encounters and experiences in Auroville changes according to the stage you are at and it varies from person to person.

Here is an attempt to give you a brief overview of nine stages of the learning journey, a pattern that may help you to understand where you are in your journey and what is happening. This by no means is a fixed or linear model but an evolving one that we are updating and refining based on our shared experience. You may find going back and forth through various stages.

Stage 1: The End

For those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville obviously has no reason to exist.

The Mother, Aug. 1968

This is the beginning of an adventure and you may arrive at this stage through some of the following ways.

  • Your life has lost its meaning, nothing around is inspiring.
  • You feel burnt out or empty and not able to find a way out.
  • You have lost trust in what you used to unquestioningly trust - your ideals, your social norms, authority figures, teachers, governments, academia etc.
  • Things are no more working out as before, you feel a growing confusion inside.
  • Your old ways of living are coming to an end.

Stage 2: The Call

And that which receives the influence and answers to the call is not so much the intellect, the heart or the life mind, but the inner soul which better knows the truth of its own destiny and mission.

Sri Aurobindo
  • There is something growing within you, an inner call.
  • Your focus increasingly turns inward, soul searching.
  • You know there is a growing thirst in you but you do not know what it is.
  • You know you must leave behind the old ways of your life.
  • You are troubled by insecurities and uncertainties and unsure.
  • Your aspiration and sincerity are steadily growing.
  • You gain faith that there must be some ideal out there.
  • You are willing to trust your intuition even if you can't explain it.

Stage 3: The Leap

There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavor, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.

Sri Aurobindo
  • You gain courage and make a leap of faith into the unknown.
  • As you start following your intuition pathways open.
  • Mysterious coincidences bring the right things to your life.
  • You sense signals and aha moments of discovery.
  • You learn to receive and follow your intuition.
  • New self-knowledge and world knowledge unfold.

Stage 4: The Excitement

  • You discover new meaning and purpose in life.
  • You find a new tribe where you belong.
  • You are inspired but naive.
  • You jump into action following the high ideals you have discovered.
  • You trust the members of your new tribe.
  • You glorify your ideals and the tribe.
  • You have high expectations of a quick transformation of self and society.

Stage 5: The Fall

  • You discover that things don’t change as fast you imagined and you get frustrated.
  • You discover that your fellow tribe members are ordinary humans with flaws.
  • You learn from life experience that human nature is the same everywhere.
  • You learn that idealism by itself doesn’t change human nature.
  • You discover the enormous gap between your knowledge and action.
  • You recognise the presence of the shadow within you as well as the tribe.
  • You are troubled by the enormous difficulty of change.

Stage 6: The Ground

  • You learn to identify the gap between your ideal and your actions.
  • You learn that changing your behavior and habits is not as easy as you thought.
  • You develop a higher level of self-awareness.
  • You develop humility and discernment.
  • You learn that personal transformation precedes social transformation.
  • You learn directly from life through action.
  • You learn to exist gracefully when things are not working out.
  • Instead of fighting with the life you learn to collaborate.
  • You learn that you are responsible for your own growth, not others.
  • You learn that your knowledge is superficial.
  • You learn that your will is limited.

Stage 7: The Path

  • You find the right people - mentors and colleagues.
  • You recognise the presence of greater wisdom at work.
  • You recognise and honor the presence of an inner guide.
  • You are open to ask for help.
  • You are consciously open to receive.
  • You collaborate more easily.
  • Money is no more controlling your choices.
  • You learn to serve and give yourself without expecting rewards.
  • You have renewed aspiration and faith, quiet and steady.
  • You discover the joy of learning and growing through giving.

Stage 8: The Work

  • Your life purpose is emerging clearly.
  • You are no more living in imagination but in the living moment.
  • You are responding to the needs of life in real-time.
  • Your life and peers are your teachers.
  • Your learning in action is transformative.
  • Your faculties of cognition, enjoyment and action are getting refined and effective.
  • All your actions are purposeful.
  • You know where you are going.

Stage 9: The Flow

  • Your actions are becoming effortless and intuitive.
  • Your mind is becoming silent and emotions and energies are becoming calm and steady.
  • All your activities are now a process of constant learning and self-giving.
  • It doesn’t matter what you do but how you do it, your state of consciousness is now the key.
  • Social transformation is now one with your personal transformation.
  • You have found your rhythm and pace of transformational learning.
  • You are flowing like a river getting wider and calmer.
  • You are now a Karmayogi.