Exploring Inner and Outer Ecology

Inner Space Workshop
Exploring Inner and Outer Ecology

Led by Marcus Bussey and Dada Shambhushivananda
Saturday June 21, Zonnelicht Daycare centre, ‘s-Hertogenbosch,
The Netherlands

39page16-02Director Yolande Koning is keen on developing the Neohumanist potential of her staff at Zonnelicht Daycare centre in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. She has thirty staff and the daycare caters to 300 students aged 0-12 years. Yolande invited Dr. Dada Shambhushivananda and Dr. Marcus Bussey to run a day workshop on the theme of Inner and Outer Ecology. The purpose of the day was to inspire the staff and others who attended to take responsibility for their own inner spiritual lives and to more consciously engage in fostering a Neohumanist ethos in their classrooms and the daycare centre.

After considerable discussion with Yolande it was decided to make this workshop one that introduced the theory of Neohumanism through an embodied workshop based on many of the techniques of Interplay. (InterPlay is an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. http://www.interplay.org/). Marcus Bussey lead the group through two sessions in the morning aimed at clearing an inner space from which to focus on Neohumanist essentials. Along with the clearing came capacity building. Marcus led the staff on a quest to explore their passions and find out how best they can serve their world. The key to this work was the exploration of the following three questions:

  • What calls us to be in the world?
  • What kind of future would you like to see?
  • What is your role in realising that future?

To get to the last point he presented, by way of an introductory map for the day, a Neohumanist Tool box that included reflections on how a playing and passionate group generates a relational field in which a shared Microvita – a subtle energy field – brings consciousness a purpose where previously there was individual ego and separation. He told how spirituality was a science that followed the same rules as empirical science – theorise, test, reflect and modify – yet its object of study was more subtle and relational in nature. He pointed out to the staff that the body was a central element in spiritual research – without the body you cannot meditate. So he said the workshop would return to the body regularly to remind participants that body data (sensations) could become body knowledge (awareness) and move on to body wisdom (intuition/holism). He explained that much of the time we live in a Trance. This trance is induced by accepting unreflective culture. When in Trance we react to the world rather than acting. The way out, he said, was meditation that incorporated mantra, presence and breathe so that the mind and body could become focused.

As the audience was nearly all Dutch he reminded them that although he spoke English they should speak Dutch. They should also understand that the body offers us a universal language and that the workshop was to be an exploration of Neohumanist practice. The Inner Space concept is based on the Open Space idea and draws on Interplay forms and as such there were a couple of rules people could turn to if they felt overwhelmed.

  • Rule 1: You can disengage at any time
  • Rule 2: Always stay within your physical limits

Marcus also reminded participants that in the world we are the sum of our actions yet internally we are always much more.

Following this introduction the workshop began in earnest with participants moving their bodies, grouping with partners to playfully express in a range of ways (including made up languages) ideas, feelings and sensations.

They then moved freely, danced and laughed and invented shapes with their bodies. The goal was to stop at intervals and reflect on how their bodies felt, sensing the energy in the room, exploring stillness.

Participants then moved to explore what was calling them into action in the world. They sat in groups and discussed outer and inner signs that action was required and put these up on a Futures Wall. They were then invited to notice, look for patterns and see what ‘stories’ could be told. Marcus then introduced the group to the ideas of Warren Ziegler (see his book When the Spirit Calls) and invited everyone to be ‘Busy Bees’ and move around the room to find what he said about the Nine Spiritual archetypes:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Sustaining Spirit
  • Loving and Caring Spirit
  • Mending Spirit
  • Just Spirit
  • Organisational Spirit
  • Enlivening Spirit
  • Reflective Spirit
  • Poetic Spirit

Each archetype is a calling. Marcus pointed out that to be able to know which archetypes (usually a group of them) resonated with you was to have a deeper appreciation of one’s own spiritual character and capital. This self-knowledge laid the foundation for each of us to honour the calling when it arose within one as a ‘Calling to Act’.

At this time Dada Shambhushivananda stepped in and took participants for kiirtana and meditation. The energy in the room was quiet and focused and the attendees found a deep stillness.

The afternoon began with some more body movement and then Dada Shambhushivananda spoke about the importance of meditation, describing the spiritual science – biopsychology – at work within the Neohumanist system. His talk demonstrated that the Neohumanist process was based on a clear experiential knowledge of deep body wisdom.

Once again the group walked, ran, stopped and invented. This playful body work moved into an embodied reflection in which two groups spoke for the past (year 1900) and another two groups for the future (year 2100). This was very powerful and moving for all and came to a climax when each participant moved to the centre and spoke their Calling to the group. To do this they bent and took a flower from a vase that held all the possibilities of the present.

The energy in the room was becoming more subtle so we moved to a special reflective space – a gift to each participant in which they did 5 minutes meditation and then 5 minutes writing. This was repeated four times in all and ended with the writing down of three things they were going to do. This private message was their gift from the day.

The day closed with a circle first holding hands and then in namaskar heart mudra. We played one last time with the deep reflective microvita of presence and then we danced on behalf of our Passion. There was a lot of joy and release in the room. We were all moved by the day which had been a real journey of discovery.

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PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK

The workshop focussed on stepping out of the usual, unconscious, comfort zone and including a more subtle, complementary part of oneself that too often remains unused. One specific beauty I experienced was that in this way, meaningful social contacts developed almost by themselves. Marcus, the trainer of the day, opened a sweet path of welcoming whatever offered itself. This made the atmosphere of the day easy going. Thank you Marcus!
Henk de Weijer


I was very motivated to join the seminar and this day has brought me a lot more than I expected. I was gladly surprised that it was mostly practical and focused on my own process of growing. Quotes and moments which remain with me are:

  • Exformation: remove ballast to get more to the essence of things
  • Becoming aware of your own creation in relation to microvita: where is my attention and which space do you create here together with others
  • The ethos of being able to think and do out of the box
  • The letter to thank the people in the future, which made us aware of the tasks we have to accomplish for the world.
  • Working together on the signals/care for the world.
  • An atmosphere where a group meditation has a place which is self-evident.

What have I discovered?
One month before the seminar I had the idea that I had to do something big for the world. At the seminar I experienced that a positive change for the World is already going on, as long as I’m connected and therefore first of all I’ll have to take care of my own inner connection with the universe. It’s about a much more subtle level in myself then I was thinking of before…
I’m very grateful for this day.
Ellen van Tuijl.


Every exercise, and therefore every contact with other participants or with my inner self, were filled with surprises, amazement and a sense of love and oneness.

During the day he was able to awaken all the dormant senses and to bring me in touch with my inner longings on a deeper level.
Afterwards I was filled with Gratitude.
Warm wishes, Marije Lamers


Listening to the advice from the past, hearing the update on where we (the world) stand today followed by the reaction of tomorrows people…all ‘played’ by a group of workshop-participants was very inspiring because the message was clear and still positive.

At one point we wrote down what is wrong in our world and, what makes us feeling happy…good thing to see the positive is more expanded on the wall (we were putting our pieces of paper on a wall for all to see). Again very reasonable in its message. For me it was good to see so clearly that we can make a change, it isn’t too late to make the world an even better place.

Taking care of my feelings so that I can really be there for someone who needs me without judging, and using the power of emotions in a positive way. The feeling of sharing and inspiring one-another was beautiful and keeps me motivated to be there for us…

Thank you,
Ilse Pashouwers (teacher at Zonnelicht)

“Sá vidyá yá vimuktaye - Education is that which liberates”