1 1 OZORA W. O. W. RESEARCH ANALYSIS 2014 INITIATES PROGRAMS Dr. Sally M. Torkos & Professor Béla F. Torkos INTRODUCTION WHEEL OF WISDOM PROGRAM On five of the six days of the annual Ozora Festival, an international music and multicultural festival held in Ozora Hungary, Dr. Sally & Professor Béla Torkos present a rigorous five day, two hour course. Each day there are between participants in the WoW program, primarily with a different group each day. Dr. Sally & Prof. Béla are also the authors of this report and when you read sentences beginning with We teach; find; (etc.)... it is in reference to them. The Wheel of Wisdom course utilizes an ancient symbol, commonly known as a Mandala or Medicine Wheel, as a teaching tool. This symbol can be used as a blueprint for the evolution of human consciousness. By learning and understanding the meanings of the seven directions participants learn ways to consciously evolve. We teach using two distinct methods: through lecture about symbolic meanings of seven directions and through the ritual use of a stone structure (15 meters/45 feet wide) that depicts the symbol. Ritual creates a different relationship with the symbol than lecture. Through guided meditation, opportunities to make commitments for personal evolution, and building the Wheel each day, participants have the possibility to experience and apply the meanings of the seven directions in a more direct and personal way. We find that by utilizing both lecture and ritual, participants are able to engage in the subject matter on a, deeper, more complete and profound level. Each day the format is the same but the content changes, corresponding with the direction we are teaching for that day. Tying content to direction is an ancient memorization technique that assists participants in remembering the specific symbolic meanings more easily. For example: South represents Childhood & the Heart; West represents Adolescence and the Body & Soul; North represents Adulthood and the Mind; East represents Elder and the Spirit. These four directions comprise the content of the first four days of the course and include the evolution of human consciousness both throughout one s lifetime and through the stages of human consciousness, from prehistoric beginnings to the present time and into the potential future. This evolutionary journey represents the horizontal plane of consciousness. On the last day of the course we present the three directions of the vertical plane of consciousness: Above: Universal Consciousness; Below: Earth or Planetary Consciousness; and Center: The Great Mystery and Unitive Consciousness. Through a blend of ancient and modern wisdom from a wide variety of sources (yearly, on the Ozora website, we publish an extensive updated bibliography) the WoW program supports and encourages participants to have an understanding and experience of what it means to be a consciously evolving human; one who understands their place in the Universe and knows how to connect with and thus care for, their living and life sustaining planet. Participating in one s own evolutionary consciousness may be considered a necessity for developing oneself to one s fullest potential as well as effectively dealing with possible Earth and World changes. We
2 2 are the only ones who can do our work of becoming more conscious human beings and the joy is we get to! INITIATES PROGRAMS In addition to the ongoing daily program we conduct a smaller (limit 25), more intensive Initiates Program. Initiates are required to attend the daily program as well as attend an additional hour long program. In this additional program we invite Initiate s to reflect deeply on their lives through lecture content, discussion, group interaction, spending time in nature (finding a special spot in nature to return to each day), and daily homework assignments. Their homework requires that they write different reflections on themselves corresponding to questions generated from the four directions (i.e. S. emotionally, W. physically, N. mentally & E. spiritually), additionally throughout the course they fill out self reflective questionnaires (on the soul, what they want from life, and their experience of the program). We also suggest practices (i.e. meditation) for them to experiment with and continue when they return home from the festival. Because Initiate s have a more in depth and grounded experience and understanding of the Wheel of Wisdom program we have concentrated our WoW research on them. From our prior research findings we received a recurring request from Initiate s for advanced coursework so they can further be supported in continuing their development and understanding of consciousness evolution. For the first time in 2014 we began an Advanced Initiate s program. It has a similar format to the Initiate s program but includes exploration of the material beyond the introductory phase. RESEARCH 2014 is the third year we have conducted research and as indicated, have evaluated Initiates to determine the effectiveness of our WoW program. Additionally, we have included responses and feedback from the Advanced Initiates. In order to accomplish the research we created a questionnaire asking Initiate s and Advanced Initiate s about their experience of participating in the program. Their responses are the data we analyze. We utilize the feedback gained from participants responses to our questions to continue to develop our work. Some of the changes we have made in our Programs since 2012 have come directly from participants feedback. Through the research process we accomplish several things: 1. Participatory Program Development, where Initiates and Advanced Initiates, through their responses to the research questionnaire, help to develop future WoW programs. 2. Provides us with a method to support our ongoing learning and development about ways we can continue to evolve the WoW Programs (and ourselves). 3. Evaluation of program effectiveness through understanding participant s responses, needs & experiences. 4. Evaluation of the need and validity for an educational experience with content, participation, and teaching method like the WoW program. If we can demonstrate that our program is effectively teaching participants ways they can consciously evolve themselves, then participating in the Wheel of Wisdom program contributes to the conscious evolution of our species.
3 3 From our analysis of the responses we have received from our research since 2012 we have seen that we are continuing to successfully accomplish positive results in all four of the areas we have listed above. As will be seen, the 2014 research analysis further demonstrates the overall effectiveness of the WoW programs, including their content, the teaching/learning methods utilized, and their transformative usefulness in participants lives. We have also found that the support of Radio O.Z.O.R.A., the O.Z.O.R.A. Prophet, as well as the O.Z.O.R.A. website have all contributed to educating and informing people about the usefulness and value of the WoW programs. We intend to continue developing our relationship with these sources of support for our work. Our research questions for Initiates targeted specific areas we think are particularly important for evolutionary development and expansion of consciousness. We wanted to know the effects of participating in the program on their awareness of: themselves, psyche, consciousness, nature, and how participation affected their experience of Ozora Festival itself. We also asked Initiates if participating in the WoW program affected their likelihood of making any changes in their lives, what those changes might be and anything else they d like to share. For the Advanced Initiates, we focused on exploring ongoing changes in their lives from their involvement in earlier WoW programs, their experience of the Advanced Program, and anything else they d like to add. We are particularly interested in the long term effects of participation in the WoW programs. Ongoing, sustainable, and positive changes in participants lives would indicate the WoW approach to learning has an enduring effectiveness. The following report begins with the demographics of the participants and then moves on to the list of questions we asked them. After each question we provide our analysis of respondents answers. To protect participants anonymity, we have listed them as numbers in the same order each time. DEMOGRAPHICS INITIATES 1. Number: We had 19 participants in the program and 13 completed the research questionnaire. 2. Gender: Female 6; Male 7 3. Age range: 20 50; one each: 20, 25, 36, 38, 40, 50; three: 21 and two each: 24, Education: High School: 2; BA 4; Attending College: 1, Technical College: 1; College of Alternative Medicine: 1; MA: 1; Ph.D.: 1; No Response: 1; Illegible, Country of Origin: 2 from Germany; 1 German/Egyptian, one each: Albania, Austria, China (Hong Kong), Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Serbia, United Kingdom, No Response. 6. Occupation: 2 Students; one each: Animal Trainer, Artist/Psychotherapist, Charity Fundraiser, Dancer, Gemstone Cutting Engineer, Healer, Musician, Music Teacher, University Teacher/Researcher, and 2 No Response (one who just graduated). 7. Religion: Buddhism 1; Christian 4, (one each: non specific Christian, Orthodox/now searching, Catholic background, Protestant roots/now non specific); Jewish 1; Meditation 1; Searching 1; Mixed Spiritualties 2; No Response 3.
4 4 On the first day of the program we actually had 23 or 24 people attending the Initiates program and through the course of the week the number decreased to 19, with only13 completing the research. After four years of teaching the Initiate s program we have come to expect some amount of attrition. The program is challenging and time consuming and those who really have come to Ozora for the music, entertainment, partying and a break from the rigors of daily life, often need to leave to better enjoy themselves. We support such a choice and recognize the WoW program is not for everybody, though even an introductory experience of it often has planted seeds. We invite everyone, even those who have left the program before completion in previous years, to come back and try again when they are more prepared for it (which has occurred several times). Humans have the capacity to continue evolving throughout their lifetime and the age range from 20 to 50 indicates the program is valid for a broad age range of participants. Additionally, we see that participants come from all over Europe as well as from as far away as China and Israel, have a wide variety of occupations, educational levels, and religions, demonstrating that the program is applicable to people with a broad range of differences between them. We celebrate these differences and find that they contribute to the overall experience of participants learning from one another. ADVANCED INITIATES 1. Number: Two 2. Gender: Female 1; Male 1 3. Age: Both participants Education: High School, University 5. Country of Origin: Germany, Hungary 6. Occupation: 1 No Response, 1 Manager of Operations 7. Religion: Earth & Universal Love, Christian Since 2014 was the first year we introduced the Advanced Initiate s program we did not expect a large number of returning participants. In general, we anticipate the class size to be small; an Initiate is a rare breed of human and there just aren t that many of them in the world yet. But who knows, with time and experience that number may grow. The Initiate s Facebook group, started and sustained by an Initiate, also continues to expand and experiment with ways of supporting one another s ongoing evolutionary process. We are still in the beginning stages of developing ways we can contribute to this group s progress. QUESTIONS, ANALYSIS INITIATES We prefaced the questionnaire with the following statement: Based on your experience with the Wheel of Wisdom program... and proceeded by having them answer the following questions: Question 1: Has participating in the Program affected your awareness of yourself? How?
5 5 All Initiates reported a positive effect on their ideas, awareness, understanding, and how they might continue to develop themselves from participating in the WoW program. They described their WoW Program experience as helping them to analyze their position in life (corresponding to stages of the Wheel) and see the unfinished work they still have to do. They also described their experience as helping them to be more in tune with themselves and connected to their soul, enabling them to be more self reflective. Several of them felt motivated to better themselves, wanting to be more self aware, maintain higher states of consciousness, become more disciplined, and think about their needs, morals and vices. WoW program participation contributed to participants thinking about themselves and their choices in life with a clearer sense of who they are & what they want. Perhaps they have not really stopped to think about themselves in quite this way or at all and their responses indicate that it s an eye opening experience to have such an opportunity. The WoW program contains information and experiences designed to help participants begin to self reflect and recognize the opportunities life has for them. Question 2: Has participating in the Program affected your ideas about psyche? How? Psyche is an immense and complex topic and that eight participants (over half) were able to say that they are starting to know what it is & how it works indicates that we are on the right track with our information. Several expressed the program enabled them to deepen their understanding & awareness of Psyche and others indicated how deepening or diving more into psyche allowed them to experience different views and stronger intuition. Three participants expressed that either they don t know yet, or need to think about it more; one had no answer and one said definitely no. This makes a total of five participants who were either struggling with their understanding of what psyche is or the program material didn t affect them at all, indicating that we have a little more than a quarter of the Program participants not as clear in their understanding of psyche as we would like them to be. This result is an indicator that although the material is meeting the needs of a majority of participants, we also need to consider different ways of presenting the material, perhaps through organizing, clarifying and simplifying it or presenting it differently, possibly offering participants more direct experiences of psyche. Question 3: Has participating in the Program affected your ideas about consciousness? How? All but one Initiate indicated that program participation positively affected their ideas about consciousness, most of them saying that their awareness of consciousness in general had increased, enabling them to notice their potential & power, be conscious of nature & the universe, and finding it exciting & fulfilling. Their increase in understanding of consciousness also helped them recognize they had more work to do such as developing themselves, wanting to be a better being, wanting to learn more, as well as also recognizing tendencies to be unconscious. Consciousness, like psyche, is an immense and complex subject and that almost all of the participants showed some form of increase in their understanding of it is another positive indicator of the efficacy of our program. We can also see that the program is of an introductory nature, and that several participants spoke of wanting to learn or understand more shows that
6 6 there is indeed a need for advanced courses. We also intend our program to inspire participants to independently pursue attaining their own learning and development and not necessarily depend upon participating in a program to continue. Question 4: Has participating in the Program affected your ideas about Nature? How? All Initiates responded positively about the WoW program affecting their ideas and experience of Nature, one person reported having a totally new awareness of Nature. Several described experiencing Nature as alive and conscious of them, and that they can communicate with it; one received a clear direction to develop their Nature awareness. One person appreciated being able to connect with others as enthusiastic & encouraging about Nature as they were. Nature disconnectedness is one of the paramount problems of the 21 st Century, especially since the coming of age of the Internet and the plethora of technological devices that keep humans preoccupied. It is our contention that participating in a program that supports a conscious relationship with Nature as well as recognition that Nature is also conscious and capable of relating to them, opens up new awareness for participants, encourages them to become more aware of their relationship with their planet and to care for Nature. A disconnection from Nature often mirrors a similar disconnection from one s own body. Developing a conscious relationship with Nature encourages people to develop a conscious relationship with their own bodies. For what are our bodies but the human expression of Nature? Question 5: Has participating in the Program affected the likelihood of you making changes in your life? (Circle your choice): Yes Probably Maybe Probably not No Twelve of the Initiates said they would likely make some changes in their lives, with eleven stating yes and one probably. Though one person neglected to circle a choice (which we have indicated as no response), they answered the next question (What changes?) with a plan to make a specific change. From that action, we observe that they also have at least an intention to make a change, resulting in our interpretation that participating in the program encouraged all Initiates to intend to make changes in their lives. Question 6: What changes? All Initiates described the changes they would like to make. Some were specific with their changes, with statements such as trying meditation, learning emotional containment and critical thinking, developing a daily practice, becoming a powerful leader, and having more discipline. Others were less specific, stating things like wanting to be a better human being, sticking to commitments, believing more in their strength, using all they learned, planning for the future, and developing in all directions. One of the purposes of the WoW program is to encourage participants to want to make changes in their lives. Such a desire shows they are recognizing they have choices about who they are, what they can do, and who they can become. We want participation in the WoW program to spark in them that innate desire that lives in the Heart of all of us: to become all we can be, to live to our fullest potential, and attain the highest possible consciousness. Why not?
7 7 When we have all participants saying yes to change and even indicating ways they want to change, we can t help but be happy that what we are hoping for appears to be actually happening. Question 7: Has participating in the Program affected your experience of Ozora Festival? How? All Initiates reported that participating in the WoW program had an effect on their experience of Ozora festival. For twelve of the Initiates, the effect was a positive one, making their time at Ozora seem like a spiritual journey, finding something of value, receiving a feeling of energy or being unable to stop smiling. Several recognized that they were supposed to be in the WoW program and saw how they went beyond partying, or didn t want to party and this helped them change their view of the festival, turning it into something different: a holy task, a test I make myself take. Another person felt that the program causes Ozora Festival to become an effective transition tool. One participant would have liked to have the WoW program separate from being at Ozora festival because participating in the WoW program took so much time that they couldn t attend other parts of the festival. Initially, this individual thought that there might be an unbridgeable gap between what WoW is offering and the rest of the festival; but upon reflection, considered that the work WoW does might just fill that gap. This participant s response represents the ordeal many Initiates have to go through to complete the program. Despite many delightful distractions, they must continually choose to stay the course. Making such a choice is an example of the development of one s Free Will and the process strengthens the Initiates capacity for sticking to their commitments. The significance of developing Free Will is one of the important lessons we teach and at the end of the Initiate s program, they all seem to feel a sense of great accomplishment. And they are right! As this example demonstrates, the amount of time the program takes is necessary for Initiates to become immersed in the experiences (go through the ordeals), understand the material, and learn to use the tools we have developed for them. The work of the WoW program actually eliminates any gap because part of the learning for participants is how to focus on themselves and their own development despite the numerous other activities Ozora Festival offers. Grappling with and overcoming ordeals is part of their training. Being part of Ozora Festival is actually necessary for the WoW program. WoW and Ozora Festival have a complementary relationship, where we mutually enhance, support, and contribute to one another. Question 8: Add anything else you would like to say, you may also use the back of the page. The majority of respondents expressed gratitude, thanking us for the program and the work we are doing with WoW. They said they had become more conscious, received some wisdom & knowledge and wanted to integrate into their lives knowledge based on the development of the Self. They also expressed an interest in having more WoW material available on the website. One participant initially grumbled a bit about feeling disillusioned with Ozora Festival because of attendees who have big egos. However, after some critical thinking (as taught in the Initiate s program) indicated they might return next year for the Advanced program upon realizing Ozora is more than just a festival, thanked us for our work & efforts and said it was necessary & worthwhile. This particular Initiate had some ideas & opinions for the Festival Organizers, which we have communicated to them.
8 8 Participants expressions of gratitude are one of the gifts we receive from doing our WoW work. When participants are feeling thankful at the end of the program for what they have experienced and received it demonstrates the successfulness of our work and the WoW program. These expressions of gratitude and all the other positive indicators of the effectiveness of the WoW program from this and our previous research contribute something very important to us. It inspires us to keep on developing the program and studying ways to even more effectively support and facilitate consciousness expansion and evolution in others. It becomes a mutually enhancing experience, where what we are contributing to others development & evolution contributes to our development & evolution. Could we ask for anything better? QUESTIONS, ANALYSIS ADVANCED INITIATES Question 1. What changes have you made in your life (if any) from experiencing the Wheel of Wisdom Program and the Initiate s Program? Advanced Initiates responses show that experiencing the WoW programs have supported and encouraged them to make specific sustainable changes in their lives. One made significant life changes in: diet, exercising, and stopping smoking, as well as finding new work through conscious intention. The other participant reports experiencing the level of consciousness having significantly grown. As previously mentioned, one of the goals we have for the outcome of involvement in WoW programs is that participants will want to make such life changing choices and that such changes will naturally expand their consciousness. It is encouraging to see this goal being met in the lives of these Advanced Initiates. Question 2. Add anything else you would like to say, include your experience in the Advanced Program and add any feedback you have for us. Advanced Initiates have also validated the WoW programs effectiveness through their responses. One participant recognized that the symbol of the Wheel occurs in all aspects of existence, from the activities of the sun & moon to the simple act of drinking tea: Everything has this way of the Wheel. Because of such an understanding this respondent perceived the WoW program to be especially suited for our current times. This Advanced Initiate also expressed gratitude for the program and requested: please go on teaching us & building a sacred post modern Indian Wheel of Wisdom for Europe. One day it will be a Pilgrim Place for sure. The other participant felt the program validated the choice of continuing to walk the path of consciousness, that it s the right path, and a lifelong journey, and states: if we live our life consciously, happiness will find us. This person also requested that we spend some time on the last three directions for the next WoW Advanced program. This request demonstrates a desire to effect future program content and perhaps an intention to return next year. CONCLUSION:
9 9 The Wheel of Wisdom program is a practical, step by step introduction to ways participants can begin to become more conscious human beings. The content of the WoW program contains seeds of inspiration and knowledge, which encourage participants to start, as well as continue, the lifelong journey of personal growth and consciousness evolution. From the responses we have received from participants in this research we can see that those seeds are already beginning to sprout. Overall, both Initiates and Advanced Initiates research responses confirm that WoW program participation has made a positive and transformative impact in their lives. Their willingness to make specific changes in their lives is a further confirmation of the program s effectiveness. From these research results we can make several observations: 1. The age range, diversity of cultures, and educational/occupational backgrounds represented indicate that the WoW program has application for an wide variety of people. 2. When people have powerful learning experiences and make subsequent changes in their lives, they affect those in their sphere of influence (friends, family, etc.) The diversity of countries represented by WoW program attendees signifies the possibility of WoW information and knowledge being shared with many different parts of the world, perhaps encouraging others to become more conscious beings as well (and possibly to come to Ozora for the WoW experience). 3. This third consecutive year of research mirrors the previous two, continuing to positively affirm WoW program s value and influence over time. 4. Understanding the nature of consciousness appears to be one of the newest fields of study both in Science and Humanities. The WoW program has the potential to make a significant contribution to consciousness studies. 5. We again will be utilizing participant s feedback to make changes in the program content. Some of the changes will focus on: a. Sharpening language of the research questionnaire, for example asking Initiates if WoW program participation affects their understanding of the subject matter rather than their ideas about it. b. Ways to have more participants complete the research questionnaire. c. Ways of making some of the more complex program material (i.e. psyche, consciousness) clearer and more explicit, exploring ways of developing these ideas in the Initiate s program through the course material and the homework assignments. d. Further developing the Advanced Initiate s program, and adding more questions to their research questionnaire. e. We are continually developing our curriculum, refining and improving it each year. As we discover new material that we feel will more effectively demonstrate what we are teaching, we contribute it to the program. Finally, we wish to include something about how we are also affected by our participation in the WoW program. We have found that continuing to develop and deliver the WoW program has significantly altered our lives. Our research has shown us that our work makes a positive difference in other s lives, which gives us a sense of fulfillment and purpose, and indicates that we have created something of value. Therefore we want to keep working and
10 developing the program. The work becomes mutually enhancing for the WoW participants as well as ourselves. Through the positive responses we have received from the research results we have become aware of how we are mutually both giving & receiving benefit and consciousness expansion. This mutual complementarity indicates there is a living, dynamic, process occurring between us all and the WoW Program has a life of its own. Additionally, one of us (Dr. Sally) has experienced moments of synchronicity with some of the participants responses during the research analysis. These experiences made her pause, self reflect, and then develop an insight into a similar issue she may share with them. Studies have shown that consciousness is non local, not brain dependent (not material), and part of the fabric of the Universe. At the subatomic quantum level there is really no separation between anything and anything. Moments of synchronicity are examples of the non locality and complementarity of consciousness. Perhaps as Dr. Sally received insight about an issue shared by a participant, they simultaneously receive one too. 10