Beginning its third year of operation the Prama Institute has scheduled over 30 programs for 2009 with the addition of more of its own seminars focused on Ananda Marga philosophy and practices.
The Neuroscience of Spiritual Experience: Spirituality and Clinical Practice was held on January 31, 2009, led by Sid Jordan, Ph.D. and Laurie Hamilton, Ph.D. The purpose of workshop was to explore what is currently known about the neuro-biological basis of spiritual experience, the belief systems that arise to explain such experiences, and the application to clinical practice in discerning “abnormal” from “normal” experiences (or healthy from unhealthy). An area of interest is the effect of “religious/spiritual trauma” when non-congruent belief systems are imposed or a leader in the belief system behaves badly.
Climate Change Workshop: March 27th – Sunday, March 29th
This year’s first Headwaters Gathering was held at Warren Wilson College, one of the greenest campuses in America. Hosted by Warren Wilson, The Wilderness Society and Orion magazine, and sponsored by the Prama Institute and other businesses and organizations, Headwaters Gathering spoke to the challenges climate change poses for life in Southern Appalachia and created a call for action. Keynote speaker Herman Daly, along with Majora Carter, Winona LaDuke, retired coal miner Chuck Nelson of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, David Orr (NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center scientist and a lead author on the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report), Dr. Thomas Peterson, Janisse Ray, The New York Times DOT EARTH’s Andrew Revkin, and National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Larry Schweiger, engaged us in working across divides, galvanizing our concerns, and strategizing for change. Included was a town meeting convened by a panel of experts, compelling whole-group sessions, and a writers’ intensive. A follow-up of the Headwaters Gathering will be held at the Prama Institiute on June 13 entitled Creating a Sustainable Western North Carolina: Charting a New Path in a Changing Climate.
Other programs for the spring and summer included an open house on March 21 for the Prama Institute which served as a fund raiser for the Greater Asheville Yoga Association entitled A Day of Healing and Yoga that attracted 130 participants for a day of yoga classes, massage, acupuncture, sweat lodge, hikes and an evening of kiirtan music.
On April 24 – 26 the Ananda Marga Atlanta Regional Retreat was held at the dome. On May 7 – 21 we are sponsoring a three week program entitled Poetry and Rhythm which will include four poetry workshops with three local poets and readings by teachers and students accompanied by live music in the evening. On July 17 – 19 we will have the second year of the Asheville Yoga Festival that features yoga classes, lectures, booths and music. Last year we had over 300 attendees; 120 of whom camped on the MU. Also the last two weeks of July and the first week in August we will have, for the third straight year, our Ananda Marga Yoga Teacher Training. Later in the year we are planning a series of yoga retreats that will feature fasting, raw foods, silence and meditation.
A number of yoga groups from the region including Lighten Up Yoga, Asheville Yoga Center, Moving Mantra, and Barefoot Yoga are returning each year to the Prama Institute with their students.
In spite of or due to the difficult times through which we are passing the community seems to be continuing to support the programs sponsored by the Prama Institute that focus on building a more sustainable spiritual community.
A new road was built to access the Didis’ MU and the intentional community for margiis which is adjacent to the Didis’ MU. As soon as the surveying and deeding of these two projects is completed, integrated planning for development of both the Didis’ MU and the intentional community will proceed under the guidance of the Coordinating Council.