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Life Skills Workshop
in New York City
By Bhaktin Miriam
This past spring, during the Memorial Day Weekend, a wonderful course took place here in New York City's Brooklyn Temple. It was appropriately titled "Personal Transformation/Life Skills Workshop" and was given by Dhira Govinda prabhu with the assistance of Malini dasi and Kaunteya prabhu. Kaunteya prabhu came all the way from India to help with the course.
Twenty people signed up and attended the workshop. It had a mixture of devotees and non-devotees from all walks of life. Professionals, non-professionals, a full time devotee, housewives, friends of devotees, young and old, etc.
There were also three non-devotee social workers in the group. Except for one who attended a temple function twenty years back, they all came to a Hare Krishna temple and met devotees for the very first time in their lives. One of them did not even know that the Hare Krishna movement existed. She was surprised to see us dressed in devotional clothing and practicing this type of religion.
It was very gratifying to see these three social workers appreciating not only the course but also the devotees and our philosophy. One of them even attended the New York City Ratha-Yatra which was held in June.
Anyone who attended this workshop before knows that it is a very spiritual experience. The teacher, Dhira Govinda prabhu talks about devotional life, about Srila Prabhupada's teachings concerning relationships, and he makes numerous references to the scriptures. The numerous spiritual teachings of the seminar combined with lessons of how to be a better person, to have more satisfying relationships, to communicate better and dig deeply into one's own psyche transforms the course into a powerful spiritual experience.
These three social workers appreciated the spiritual component of the course. One of them told me that it made her a better Christian. She even acquired great fondness for Dhira Govinda prabhu. I still receive e-mail letters of appreciation from her, and she never forgets to send her regards to the teacher.
The seminar turned out to be a huge success. All of the participants who completed the workshop were very impressed by it and many expressed their gratitude. Several of them told me that they are applying the skills taught in the course to their everyday lives. One of the social workers told me that the course had made a great impact on her job and that the skills taught had improved her performance as a counselor. She raved about the workshop to her supervisor and told her that she would like to take part in a more advanced course, whenever it is offered.
For those who are not familiar with the course, it is a full three-day intensive workshop on basic helping and life skills. Its concentration is on different communication skills, problem solving, accountability, conflict resolution, taking proper responsibility, making and keeping commitments, finding alternative solutions to problems, and assertiveness training. The seminar is experiential in nature, and it's filled with fun and powerful group exercises.
The goal of the course is to communicate and get along with others better. Its fundamental premise is to develop more satisfying relationships, not only with others but with one's self. The exercises and homework are designed in such a way that they are meant to tap into the core of what is really holding one back from getting along better with family members, co-workers, friends, temple devotees, and superiors.
From my own personal experience and from reports of other participants, the results of the workshop can be very powerful. There is truly a personal transformation involved by taking the workshop. It is a course that all devotees should take, including our movement's leaders.
Radhadesa (ISKCON Belgium), October 28-November 8, 2002
Please contact Yadunandana prabhu:
You can also contact Malini dasi Prabhu at the above address and phone number.
There are also plans to have the course in London, England in the near future. No date has been set yet.
© CHAKRA 17 October 2002
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