I just completed a 5-day workshop titled Wonder Why for 4 children aged 8–13 years. It was aimed at answering their myriad questions about the hows and whys of culture, spirituality, religion, faith, personal energy, superstitions, practices, rituals, et al. It was a trial session for me to see what I may be getting into if I choose to do this workshop on a sustained basis to basically help parents who feel clueless when their kids ask them questions related to these subjects.

Not that I have the answers, but given the three decades I have spent understanding this space, I feel I can probably throw more light on explaining common ‘unfathomable’ and ‘gosh-why-do-we-do-that’ rituals and practices through the prism of science. In fact, when I started doing PEM workshops in 2007, I started it as a workshop for 16- to 25-year olds, and then broad-based it later.

So, before starting my workshop with my four participants, I had asked them to list down whatever questions they had on the subject and title it ‘My Questions to the Universe’. My commitment to their parents was that I would answer a minimum of 25 questions. Here are some of the questions they sent me:

  • What power does God have over us?
  • How did God get magical powers, and who made them?
  • Why are there so many variations of God?
  • Do heaven and hell exist?
  • Is there an afterlife?
  • Is Karma real?
  • What factual data is there to prove God exists?
  • There is no factual justification for spiritual “energy,” chakras, or any other conspiracy fabricated by society. Could you justify any of them?
  • Why do you feel an inclination towards the existence of God?
  • Have you ever directly experienced any phenomena that cannot be explicitly explained by the laws of physics?
  • What are gut feelings? Where do they come from, and should we listen to them?
    Why are there only 2 pre-existing genders?
  • Why are some people so uncomfortable with the existence of homosexuality and, in general, LGBTQ+?
  • What happens after you die? Where do you go? Is there an afterlife?
  • Why are most people right handed and not left handed?
  • How do senses/thoughts/moods come into our brains?
  • Who am I?
  • If your soul travels from body to body after death, then isn’t (my name) just a name I have been given to this body?
  • Is it my brain that’s controlling me or my soul?
  • Why is our body able to function at the capacity that it is?
  • Why can’t there be a different hormonal makeup than there is now in females and males?
  • How did superstitions come into existence?
  • Why do we have different religions?
  • The world began with only 2 people (Adam and Eve) apparently … then are there only 2 families in the world and we all are distantly related?
  • What myths do you follow?

Phew!!!!? My first two sessions were vociferous. I encountered a very high level of dismissive disbelief and it was tough to get through even a wee bit. I was fascinated at their thought process and wondered how do children process the information they are receiving? How and why do some of them become so dismissive of everything?

I did what I knew best: I taught them through PEM. Because everything is energy, and when seen through that lens, it kind of leads you to some answers. Probable answers. I didn’t answer their queries till the last day, when I added a few more commonly-asked questions to the list and sent them a pdf.

When we were saying our byes, one of them told me, “Sir, (thanks to the various PEM exercises we did), we now realise we need to be open to receiving and finding out the answers ourselves, and that there’s much more to know than what we know or are taught.”

That was exactly what I was aiming to achieve. That is, every answer is contextual, open to interpretation, and based on the times when it was first espoused. I don’t know how much this workshop will help them. But for me, this was one tough workshop, but one that was worth it.

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