UPAMA RAJASEKHAR is a Brighter Minds facilitator. Here, PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNAN meets with her and some of the children she facilitates in the program, to learn firsthand about their experiences.
I had heard a lot about the Brighter Minds program, when I had a chance encounter with one of the facilitators ram, Mrs. Upama Rajasekhar, and this meeting was perhaps one of the turning points in broadening my own perception about the world in so many ways.
“So, why did you decide to become a facilitator?”“I wanted to train my son. He is an archer and wanted to master blindfold archery, so I wanted to help him realize his dream. The rest, as they say, is history.”
This was just the start of the conversation. She invited me to interact with her students. When I joined them, I felt like I had entered a sci-fi movie set, the likes of Asimov’s second foundation series.
“My son changed and developed so much in just two days of the program, that we felt this is something all children in the world should experience,” said Upama.“So what exactly happened?” I asked.“Have you heard of the term sensory perception? Our brains can sense certain things from the atmosphere, depending on their capacity of perception. When their functions and capacities are heightened, we can perhaps call it super-sensory perception,” responded Upama. “So, do these kids acquire a sense of perception than is more heightened than normal people?”“Well, that is not exactly true,” answered Upama. “To an extent, however, we are awed by their abilities to learn quickly and the way their memories improve. Their intuition develops, and this leads to better confidence in everyday life. They have a pleasant personality, and we just feel so empowered around them. Let me introduce you to some of the children, and you can interact with them to see what I mean.”
Some of the kids were familiar, because they were from near where I lived, and they sat down to chat with me.
One boy said, “Aunty, you should see me performing while blindfolded.”
This young boy was blindfolded and then guessed the colors of colored balls correctly. I was awed. I had heard of such things, but never witnessed it with my own eyes.
“What else can you do?” I asked him, wanting to see more.“
Aunty, close your eyes and think of something,” he replied.
I closed my eyes and wondered what to think of. For some strange reason, my attention went to the dry deserts, and I could see a pyramid being built in the distance. I went nearer, and noticed that there were so many workers, who were probably slaves. I saw a pharaoh nearby, but then thought that a child couldn’t figure out something so complicated, so I decided to focus on a single pyramid. I opened my eyes to see the boy in a deep concentration. “
Aunty, I can visualize some laborers,” he said.
“What were they doing?”
“They were building something,” he answered.
“What were they building?”
“A pyramid, I think.”
I stopped him, and gently asked him to open his eyes. I think I couldn’t take more than this, so I told him to go back to his friends.
“Upama, how did he do this?” I asked.
“So, did you think of a pyramid?” she responded with a question.
“I visualized exactly what he mentioned – some people building a pyramid in the desert,” was my answer.
“It happens. I am not surprised. Some children have that uncanny ability to tap into their abilities at the most appropriate times. But it does not happen all the time.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“There has to be an environment of calm and composedness. They have to be completely relaxed on all planes. So that is why we relax them at the beginning of the session using the Heartfulness Relaxation technique. And then we proceed to the other activities of the Brighter Minds program.”
“So in their minds, in their calm composure, are they really able to know exactly what someone else is thinking?” was my next question.
“Neuroplasticity!” responded Upama, with great emphasis. “It just means that the brain cells reshape or remold themselves depending on various external and internal stimuli in the exercises. We have exercises for the right and left hemispheres of the brain, for the eyeballs, and many other things. We also have certain music which stimulates the brain and helps it to enter the alpha and theta states. We always encourage children to be natural. We are not rigid in the exercises. Who knows what these kids could lead us to! So, a certain amount of flexibility is required as a facilitator. We facilitate the children in their journeys to realize their true potential.”
My next question was, “Don’t you think the children could start getting proud of their achievements, their confidence spilling over into over-confidence?”
“When they go through their journey, when their minds are opening up in such a magnificent way, there is no place for ego. There is no place for pride. The children feel humbled and awed, feeling confidence in the higher support, as they evolve. Their hearts are refined, and their humility is also refined. The more they know, the more they realize that there is a lot more to traverse.
“Let me tell you about how I feel – there is no place for pride or ego in this work. I am happy seeing these children. I have trained 500 children so far, and I have seen them flower so beautifully, without ego being inflated. Every day I thank God that he chose me to do this in my life, where I can be of use for humanity’s upliftment.”
I also had an opportunity to interact with Upama’s son: “So, did you learn blindfold archery?”
“Yes,” he responded, “and I am happy for that.”So I asked, “What has changed in you from within?”
“Ideas come. I am curious. I have changed. Feeling change itself is creative. I was a limited version earlier. I now feel that every day I am becoming a more complete version. Do you know what I mean?”
I did not entirely comprehend, but I accepted what he said.
There is nothing great in
what we are doing here.
We are not creating history.
We are not making magic.
We are just helping people
realize their true potential.
“Upama, I am curious, can adults also improve their sensory perception?”
“Yes, we are planning to release adult classes soon, for the general public. We are in the process of concluding some research. You know, there is nothing great in what we are doing here. We are not creating history. We are not making magic. We are just helping people realize their true potential. We are telling them, ‘There is this organ called the brain, so please use it to the fullest capacity.’ That is all. Why don’t you try what the other kids are doing?”
“But I am an adult,” I said.
“That is exactly what I was trying to convey,” she said. “Don’t create these barriers in your mind, as they do not exist. We are still researching the program for adults, but that does not mean something wonderful cannot happen with you. Come on.”
My personal experience with what happened is a story for another day. Let me tell you, though, I came out with my heart filled with beautiful magic, an eternity of waiting having unlocked in my mind. It is difficult to put into words what I felt after that. I don’t know about identifying colored balls while blindfolded, or guessing thoughts accurately. I have not tried to guess things many times, but I can vouch that this is something everyone can try. I now understood what Upama’s son was trying to tell me earlier – that indeed change is creative. It is the ultimate creativity.
Sometimes, things we have always wanted all our lives, without consciously realizing it, come in packages that we least expect. After witnessing the miracles in the mind, how can the heart go back to its past state?
Our logic and science are so limited.
There is so much mystery in this world.
Knowing how to unlock our own hidden potential
at this time in humanity’s evolution
seems all the more exciting.
Interviewed by PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNAN
Illustrations by ARATI SHEDDE