The priests of the Zoroastrian community are respected members of the community. They meet their clients, the laity or the people who visit the fire temple. They meet with them regularly or for the prayers of their departed ones or on happy occasions. They have sensitive conversations with the laity during times of sickness and bereavement.

“Empowering Mobeds”; a session on training in self-awareness and basic counselling was conducted for the priests of the Zoroastrian community. It was an offsite training programme held in the midst of greenery and serenity.

Here are some reflections from the experience:

Exploring the self, communication with others, role of language, resonance and the importance of being decentred yet influential, were a few skills I tried to highlight with the use of my knowledge of the narrative ideas and practices.

As the session progressed, from just being listeners to active participation and dialogue based on mutual respect and non-judgemental conversations were some of my observations. A simple exercise using questions based on interviewing about a pleasing story resulted in awe and understanding among the priests who were co-workers.

With the practise of externalising conversations, sparkling moments were visibly noticed. The operations of hierarchy and power between the congregation and the Mobeds was made visible and a discussion on being aware and taking this into consideration in interactions was made possible using the narrative ideas and practices.

Our conversations drifted to various topics, though keeping in mind the timing of the session, I was reminded of how these conversations created a space for related conversations which needed to be addressed leading to an understanding of multiple identities of others, and the importance of “loitering”.

Here’s what one of the participant had to reflect, “It was a great way to know someone better. The experience got me more understanding after a certain flow; personally I got confused at a point myself while asking questions, but that was probably out of a lack of having these skills. There seemed like a sense of relief to the person being asked the question knowing that he knows the answer/ solution.”

Another participant said, “For the first time the priests reported the unique experience of being heard and sharing feelings.”

About the author –

Kashmira A. Kakalia is a Special Educator and enjoys working with students and adults with special needs,to promote their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development to facilitate them to be self reliant, confident and guide them to achieve their goals and qualify for a better tomorrow. She’s passionate about teaching and cooking she believes if for pleasure and fun. She has completed her training in the Mental Health Training Program at Ummeed.

You can contact her at kkakalia@hotmail.com

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