Authentic Learning for Youth

Justin Wesenberg arrived at the Ashram this spring to participate in a three-month Learning Residency to gain new skills in gardening. He found the learning environment to be “really authentic” and recommends it for young people.

I chose the Learning Residency program because I was in transition and researching Transpersonal Psychology as a new career path. The Ashram was recommended as a place I could begin my studies in a less formal way, and friends encouraged me to go.

I learned about serving others, which was a great experience. It gave me a greater perspective of what service means. I always reflected before, but being given reflection questions and sharing with other people made me think in a different way.

I remember Swami Sivananda saying during our orientation that spiritual life requires two things – quality in action and self-awareness. The Ashram teaches both. I feel like I have a lot more awareness about what is important to me and who I am as an individual, and how I can be of greater service to others.

I know now I can do what my heart desires – work as a counselor and publish my poetry. I’m returning home to help my family with their new vegetable garden with lots of new skills and knowledge.

Read Justin’s poem about his experience this summer:


Living in community
Such a beautiful gift
Learning and sharing
Allowing spirits to lift

To another realm
High above
Where one finds
The path of love

Dedicating yourself
To what you know is true
Allow service to be
All that you do

As you serve and give
You will be shown the way
Just as the rising sun
Illuminates the day

As Guruji bestows
His loving grace
Energy descends
Dissolving space

Birthing you
In Eternal Light
Clarity is bestowed
As you gain true sight

To the goal of practice
The spiritual aim
To understand unity
And know we’re all the same

The cosmic source
Eternal bliss
The Mother’s kiss


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