8/15 — Evolution of the Telos Model and its Applications

August - November 2014 / Feature Articles

Arul Dev and Manoj Pavitran

Introduction

Manoj Pavitran

Manoj Pavitran

Arul Dev

Arul Dev

Telos, is a model of consciousness based on the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Developed by Manoj Pavitran and Arul Dev, the first version of the model looked upon consciousness as having seven notes. While a detailed write up is available in the ILR article that was published in January 2011 (http://integralleadershipreview.com/325-telos-a-consciousness-based-perspective/), we give a brief summary below:

  • Key Note: The Spiritual is the transcendental satchidānanda beyond time and space that sustains the whole of creation and the Psychic is the involved satchidānanda in time and space leading the evolution on earth.
  • Mental Note: This has two parts – The Thinking and Dynamic mind, which is the mind of pure reason, philosophy and idea will; and the Externalizing mind that deals with precise communication, sense bound data and information.
  • Vital Note: This has three parts – The higher vital involved with emotions and affection, the central vital involved with power and passion; and the lower vital involved with sensory enjoyment and desire.
  • Physical Note: This is the stability and self-preservation of the physical body.

The purpose of this article is to map the evolution of the Telos model and its applications, over the last 3 years, post the first article in ILR. This is more a personal sharing as to how the Telos journey has evolved, in the eyes of Arul Dev and Manoj Pavitran. Hence we have used ‘we’ and ‘us’ as a style of writing this article from a personal perspective.

Telos Matrix Diagnostic Tool

We first developed a simple questionnaire with a set of 10 questions for each note of consciousness. This gave a brief snap shot of how developed one’s consciousness is across its seven notes in the spiritual, mind, vital and physical. However in reality all the notes intermingle with each other and create either harmony or cacophony. For example, the lower vital and the thinking-dynamic mind can intermingle. In a healthy option a sound principle or philosophy governs ones sensory pursuits of pleasure seeking. Or in a limiting option the excesses of the lower vital sensory desires can cloud the clarity of the thinking mind. To capture this rich interplay of the notes within themselves, we developed a diagnostic tool with 147 questions. Through carefully framed questions we captured the seven notes mapping into each of the other notes (7 x 7 = 49). We zoomed into three spheres of one’s life – work, family and self (7 x 7 x3 = 147).

Our first test of the Telos Matrix Diagnostic Tool was with a group of people called Chittasangha – a group of facilitators, trainers and change agents, interested in the evolution of consciousness. While the total number of active members was about 20, we ran the tool for a group of 12 people who were coming together for a retreat in January 2012. Once the filled up forms came in we did individual diagnosis for some of the members pre-retreat. During the retreat, we presented a collective diagnosis of the group consciousness. We shared which notes of consciousness were well developed and which needed more purification and development. We also interpreted how the individual patterns could interplay with others and shared what could be potential group high points and what could be potential conflict points. The diagnosis turned out to be very accurate.

We then tested the Telos Matrix diagnostic tool with many individuals for a period of one year. It yielded fantastic results. We could clearly see the healthy and limiting dimensions in participant’s consciousness. At the same time the tool was running into certain challenges. First it took people even one hour sometimes to fill the 147 questions as it almost covered the whole breadth of their life. There were equal questions on healthy and limiting aspects of consciousness covering the whole gamut of their life. Secondly some people got into mild ‘depression’ when they answered the limiting questions. As the questions were sharp it make them to see areas where they were not ready to see it yet. Some also felt that there were so much of untransformed issues within them. The third difficulty came in the interpretation. As facilitators we could see through their ‘shadows’. This put us in an awkward position as most often the clients were not ready to see their unconscious limitations, this nakedly. So while the diagnosis was very accurate, experientially it was resulting in problems with few clients who were not yet ready to see deeply within them.

Introduction of the Vital Mind

Based on an input from Dr. Devdas Menon, a faculty in IIT Madras, and who is also part of the Telos team, we realized that Vital Mind has to be integrated into the model. This is the mind involved in imagination, creativity and visualization in its healthy note. It can also be the part of the mind that comes under the influence of untransformed desires, making up false imaginations that can cloud reason. We introduced this Vital Mind into the Telos model and elaborated on the key words across all the notes. We renamed the ‘States of Consciousness’ as ‘Parts of Being’ to be more aligned to the terminology in Integral Yoga. We renamed the three parts of the mind as Pure Mind – the mind that deals with ideas, Vital Mind – the imaginative mind, and Physical Mind – the mind that deals with word, precision, data and information. To keep it more relatable to a secular audience we changed the Spiritual as Higher Self and Psychic as the Deeper Self. These gave consistent terminologies with Integral Yoga and at the same time it kept it very simple and accessible to people from different spiritual paths. A detailed map of the new version of Telos model is available in http://www.telos.org.in/telos-model.

Break-through of Delight as our Focus

In our ongoing deeper research and study into Integral Yoga we came across the realization that ‘Delight’ is behind the source and the sustenance of the whole of existence. We then reflected why we need to go after the limitations and pull them out, when many are largely unconscious about them. We said why not focus on the Delight.

The sun is the source of light, but its intensity is too much for our direct sight to bear. However if we go to the beach on a sunny day and take a swim we can actually catch the dance of the sun as it sparkles in the waves of the water. Similarly Delight, the nature of our Self is often hidden and its bliss is too intense to bear. However we can detect the presence of Delight in our mind, vital and body, if they are sufficiently purified and developed. If these delights are recognized, harnessed and offered back to the Universe it leads to a life of inner and outer abundance and fulfillment. Then increasingly there is joy in our actions, mastery in our works and longevity in our creations.

We then culled out the delights in each of the instrumental notes of consciousness, as shown below:

Parts of Being Delights
Pure Mind Clarity of Seeing andInsight in Ideas & Vision
Vital Mind Newness in thinking
Physical Mind Precision and Accuracy
Higher Vital Emotional Connection and Affection
Central Vital Dynamism and Power
Lower Vital Sensory enjoyment and Connection
Physical Stability of Conscious Habits and Health

Application of the Delight focus in Telos

We now chose to refocus our Telos work around Delights. First we applied it in our own lives and with a small group of students who had attended our Telos work from IIT Madras. We shifted our focus into identification of delights, holding them and letting them flow through us. To access delights we certainly needed to purify and develop our mind, vital and physical, but we started doing it in the context of Delights.

Next came the third ‘Self Awareness’ course in IIT Madras in which we teach the Telos model as one of the course contents. In the four-month semester course we kept the whole focus around Delight and Inspiration. We gave two long assignments, of one month duration each, for students to actually collect the delights that occur in their lives and note it down every-day in a pocket book. We then guided them to infer what their core inspirations in their life are. Many experienced breakthroughs. Personally we were convinced that we were on the tip of something precious that is only beginning to unfold.

We then formed a small group in IIT Madras, consisting of some students who wanted to dive deeper. We decided to build a diagnostic tool keeping Delight as the focus.

Emerging new projects

The first emerging project is the Telos experiential labs. In the last six months we started doing two-day experiential labs based on the Delight work in Telos. We have completed three labs and it has been a breakthrough for participants to connect to the ancient Indian Wisdom of delights in a very practical modern context. For these labs we had an insight that we could drop these labels for the parts of being and cull out the corresponding inner processes for each. This way we felt we could keep the labs more experiential – where the focus is not so much on the labels, but a direct observation of our inner processes and how to bring delight into them. The Telos labs done with this insight were a breakthrough. In the labs we set up processes for people to access each inner process within them and harness the delight. Thus we attempt change in the here-and-now space of the lab.

We share below the inner processes and the corresponding delights that need to be harvested in each:

Part of Being Inner Process Delights Invoked
Higher Self Transcendent Vastness SilenceInspiration
Deeper Self Yearning ResonanceSurrender
Pure Mind Idea ClaritySynthesis
Vital Mind Image Conscious formationNewness
Physical Mind Word Conscious expressionPrecision
Higher Vital Emotion Inclusive connectionGiving
Central Vital Power DynamismStrength
Lower Vital Sensations BeautyNourishment
Physical Body Conscious habitHealth

The second project emerging is a pilot research towards building a Telos diagnostic tool centered on delights. For a period of one month a group of six of us, have been recording our delights experienced during the day, in a simple Google sheet. We are finding that by doing this simple activity together it is helping us to:

a)      Keep our focus on delights in our life and thus make it grow.

b)      Be inspired by others delights and experiment with them in our lives

A sample list of the kind of delights that emerged from the above pilot project is included below:

Parts of Being Physical Lower Vital Central Vital Higher Vital Physical Mind Vital Mind Pure Mind Self Total
Name 1 5 1 1 6 2 15
Name 2 2 6 10 12 4 1 9 12 56
Name 3 1 2 1 1 5
Name 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 15
Name 5 2 2 1 15 3 3 4 30
Name 6 1 3 2 2 1 9
Total 14 14 14 39 8 6 18 17 130

A sample of the actual delights experienced by the participants is shared below:

Higher and Deeper SelfSilenceInspirationResonanceSurrender
  • Every day I am reading – Hymns to a mystic fire, a treasure house by Sri Aurobindo on the Vedas. I understand some 25% of it but something is delightful by just the reading.
  • I have a bookmark which (I keep in my office table) has Mother’s quote. It brings light whenever I falter. The quote says – “There is nothing but Him. This is what we should repeat to ourselves from morning to evening and from evening to morning, because we forget it at each moment.   There is only Him.   There is nothing but Him – He alone exists, there is no existence without Him, there is only Him!”
  • Watching flowing water has a gentle effect on our senses and can be a deeply meditative experience. I sat beside a student on the banks of the water, watching the fishes gentling moving around; and the water gently rippling by the gentle breeze. A few minutes of sitting beside the student who was meditating on this, pulled me into a meditative state. There is a role of water in our lives. The sound of water is also subtle meditation.
  • When we forget our lover we are troubled and our lover troubles us. Yes I am referring to the flame within our heart to which we need to offer. I have started forgetting her and today I felt my energies were zapping. I said what’s going on. And then I remembered and connected and there was joy again. Such is the sweet torture of the flame within.
Pure MindClaritySynthesis
  • Can I replace the term Spirit with Consciousness – I am searching in Letters on Yoga and found the joy of reading Sri Aurobindo again and again. Full clarity yet to come but already feels good.
  • While analyzing the Indian economic scenario, I had an idea and vision as to how policy makers must proceed. Yesterday the RBI governor was exactly echoing my mind and felt really thrilled because my idea was not in vain.
  • I bought a new phone a month ago. Today I posted a review and rating of the phone on Flipkart. I did this because I saw that the reviews and rating I read on the site helped me to make my choice. So it is a good way to help others make their choice. It is a good principle to rate consumer products based on one’s experience. It helps the users and demands the industry to perform better. This clarity easily translated into action. I see the value of it. When there is good clarity, action flows freely.
  • Had an awesome conversation with a client. Together saw the underlying problem present in the culture of the organization.
Vital MindConscious formationNewness
  • In Chittasangha where I am a member we had a very creative email exchange using Fishbowl model to explore some unpleasant issues. It was a fun power play and at the same time imaginative and creative.
  • Came up with a new way of using foam roller to exercise. Tried balancing and walking over foam roller. Was delighted to find that it was great fun.
  • Our experiments with key inspirations, tiny habits, conversations with oneself have opened new doors.
Physical MindConscious expressionPrecision
  • I have been experimenting with precision of word to express – it seems a lovely experience.
  • Formatted a metrics template with great accuracy.
  • Last one week I am learning a new word every day. This is opening up new horizons and takes the mind to think of new things and meanings.
  • Discovered Quoro.com. Sharing knowledge with unknown people. Connecting with the happenings of the world.
Higher Vital:Inclusive connection Giving
  • Found some songs that resonates and started hearing songs that does something to the Heart. The feel of it has been awesome.
  • A hurt experienced earlier was healed by wishing well for the other, deep from the heart.
  • Interacted joyfully with old friends, felt very complete.
  • I went near the window, and saw 2 new cutest pigeons, just hatched! Oh my god, how beautiful the scene is! Extraordinary feeling to see the new-born! Today too I had a look – mother pigeon was feeding and the cute kid pigeons were yet to open their eyes! 🙂
Central Vital:DynamismStrength
  • Expressed authentically to a client, with strength and clarity.
  • Used a silent presence to communicate a ‘no’ to the other.
  • Without blame expressed wants directly at work.
  • Created a goal of reading a book and succeeded 85% in it.
Lower VitalBeautyNourishment
  • Did morning asanas in the open, removed my top, wore only shorts and enjoyed the cool breeze.
  • Used a new soap got from ashram shop – aloe vera and cool mint. So awesome. First day fresh smell was fully there. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
  • Took time to dress up well
  • Played with children. Played the key board.
PhysicalConscious habitHealth
  • I began a practice – every time I eat I made sure my plate was clean and I didn’t waste food.  When I began doing this, I felt good.  Though my plate is not yet at the level I’d ideally love, it’s 500% better than how it was before.
  • I used to do yoga with great effort, try out difficult asanas, try to match with its classical ideal posture and stretch the breath as long as possible. Today I chose to do asanas softly. I chose relaxing soft and easy basic asanas this morning and did it softly, allowed my strength to subside and stopped few times in-between to watch skies, pigeons, to feel the air… this is very good! Need to change gears I thought to myself.
  • My house is getting painted and it is pleasure to see them doing their work meticulously, making my house beautiful.
  • Incorporated a tiny habit of clearing clutter, and celebrating each time.

The goal of our project is to use Delight as a focus so that the whole of our life gets transformed. This team that works on delight meets every fortnight. Many have reported breakthroughs purely by giving attention and tracking the quality of delights present in their lives and drawing inspiration from others in this journey.

We are now about to launch a second and a larger pilot project with 60 individuals. We have selected 30 people who have gone through Telos work and 30 people who are totally new. We are creating a website where for a period of a month, all will be asked to record their delights. This project is in the making and will be launched within a month. We are applying research methodology into the construction of this project and the verification of the findings.

About the Authors

Arul Dev V has trained and consulted people in the area of individual and collective transformation, since 1994. An engineer from BITS Pilani, he is the Director of People First Consultants, a human resources consultancy offering recruitment services and training, committed to nurture the deeper aspirations of people. He is also the co-founder of Telos, which aims at the facilitation of the evolution of consciousness based on Integral wisdom and methods.

He has 18 years of rich and varied experience in training and coaching. His primary background comes from sensitivity based training, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Inner psychological processes of change, Spiral Dynamics, Dialogue based learning and Integral Yoga. He now focuses on Integral transformation of the individuals and groups – both for corporates and educational institutions. He is a guest faculty for the ‘Self Awareness’ and ‘Integral Karmayoga’ elective course in IIT Madras. He can be reached at aruldev@peoplefirst.co.in.

Manoj Pavitran, born and brought up in Kerala, is an engineer and post graduate in Product Design from National Institute of Design, NID, 1993, Ahmedabad, India. He has been exploring integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo since 1989 and to pursue it in depth he joined Auroville (www.auroville.org) in 1995, an international city in the making in South India.

In Auroville currently Manoj is involved in the following:

  • Telos – www.telos.org.in – a project focusing on the evolution of consciousness and its practical applications based on integral yoga.
  • Auronet – www.auroville.org.in – development of software tools for the Auroville community’s intranet portal.
  • Sopanam – www.sopanam.org – making films based on Sri Aurobindo’s vision.

He can be reached at manoj@auroville.org.in.

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