Movement of Integral Coaching in Asia

We recently asked senior faculty member Sarita Chawla about what moves her to help bring Integral Coaching to her native continent.

Q: What about Asia calls to you as both a human being and a NVW faculty member?

Sarita: At a personal level, hailing from Asia, I have always had a burning desire to bring this precious work to the country and continent that I come from. The East, with its ancient way of being, spiritual foundations and relational foundations, seems so right for this work.

Aurobindo was among the first to speak of Integral theory, and yoga was always intended as an Integral lifestyle. When I first encountered Integral Coaching over twenty years ago, there was a sense of homecoming for me. The view of each human being as unique and constantly changing felt true in my own experience. There was no mold or template that I needed to conform to. I think that Asia, at its source and roots, understands that. For instance, no one can convert to Hinduism because, for the most part, Hinduism sees all spiritual paths as a means to the same end.

Over the years, we have had so many Asians in our classes, and they have felt welcomed and seen. This is true for our students from all parts of the world, and yet to me there is a quality of welcoming that is part of the Asian cultures and New Ventures West. It’s an invitational quality. Relationship is the foundation of our coaching work and of Asia. In both cases, weaving and knitting communities together is always in the background.

Of course I am biased and a zealot about this work, and in a funny way I sometimes say, “we have to go there … there are so many people there!”

Seriously though, when I have taught our two-day program in India and co-led the yearlong program in Singapore, there has been a sense of right fit. Asia is home to the notion of practice.

Just a few years ago in Asia, contemplation came with ease. The digital age, however, with the marketing of Western products and an emulation of the fast-paced Western world, has eroded some of these longstanding values.

In the work we have done so far in Asia, there has been a remembering of the importance of development, of wholeness, of the spiritual stream. I believe that it would land on fertile ground.

Q: Why about this time in history feels important to you to bring Integral Coaching to Asia?

Sarita: I notice my heart skip a beat with this question. I have returned to Asia almost every year since I arrived in the US in 1969. I have seen the changes that modernization and Westernization have brought. All the changes have unintended consequences. As in other parts of the world, lives are plagued with busyness and lack of time. I wonder about the heart and soul of Asia and truly believe that Integral Coaching will support the wellbeing of Asians as they take their place in the modern world. How can Saraswati, the goddess of learning, be as important as Laksmi, the goddess of wealth?

Asia is a rising star. I believe that our work can also support Asians in retaining the values that is its essence, with joy, freedom and success all integrated.

Q: Why in general is it significant to spread this work to different cultures? What is emerging globally that wants this work?

Sarita: Some of the emergent meta-narratives include both globalization and fragmentation. New capacities are being called for to develop deep understanding and openness towards “the other”; the ability to see and sense our interconnectedness and extend our time horizons; and cultivating subtle forms of power and learning how to authentically say “yes” and “no.” At a surface level, different cultures have different norms, practices and languages. And yet there is something about being a human that we all share. I believe that our work supports the development of qualities and competencies needed cross culturally today. At a meta-cognitive level, we learn how to develop whatever competencies are called for.

Q: What about the Singapore Professional Coaching Course are you most looking forward to?

Sarita: Singapore is a wonderful representation of an integration of the East and West. You can feel and see both. I love the kind of space where each can be who they are and not lose their essential self. I also see this second PCC as a gateway to further our work in Asia, like an airport hub or center of a spider’s web. I come alive in such a cosmopolitan place with such a wide and diverse representation. I look forward to learning from the rich wisdom that our student colleagues bring. When a teaching is precious, how can one not want to share it?

New Ventures West