July 27, 2009. East Providence, RI. Rhode Island - the state that saw the first Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom (natural settings, sites, cities, etc. dedicated to the cause of international friendship and harmony) - held our first ever Joy Day Weekend on July 25-26, 2009.
About 40 people from New York, Boston and Rhode Island area Sri Chinmoy Centres gathered for a Joy Weekend in East Providence, Rhode Island - a state famous for its natural beauty and ocean beaches. We shared meditation, good food, running and trips to various sites around the state dedicated to world harmony by the Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Joy Weekend highlights included a quiz on Rhode Island Notable Facts in the Centre's history and activities since the Rhode Island meditation centre's founding in 1978. One question: "What percentage of the 39 cities and towns in the state had a Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree with a plaque dedicated?"
Answer: 100 percent!
A slideshow compiled from countless photographs, newspaper clippings and other historical memorabilia gave everyone the chance to learn about the multi-faceted activities of the centre in Rhode Island as well as Sri Chinmoy's numerous visits to Rhode Island. A photo showing 4 members of the group meeting with Sri Chinmoy over 30 years ago prompted a present-day pose of those individuals (Vijali, Ganapati, Santaru, Khipra - all present at the Joy Days) to stand in front of the projection screen and have their picture taken. Now that's a before and after for the record books.
After dinner, it was off to WaterFire, a public art experience in downtown Providence that draws thousands upon thousands of viewers to see bonfires lit along the canals and basins of the city along with haunting music, performance artists and chandeliers lit under the overpasses across the water.
Sunday's activities included an early morning meditation with a video excerpt from a Peace Concert that Sri Chinmoy gave to an audience of 700 people at the Unitarian Church in downtown Providence in June 1984, only a few short months after the first ever Peace Concert in Cologne Germany in March 1984. This exquisite meditation and concert footage sent by Niriha brought tears to the eyes of several of us.
Next came a 2 mile fun run on the East Bay Bike Path, a path along the river that feeds out to the ocean. The earlier rain stopped long enough for the race and Purna Samarpan spotted a small bunny rabbit hopping along the path. We also saw swans in the adjacent marsh waters.
The weekend finished with a pilgrimage to the Monastery in Cumberland where there is a Sri Chinmoy Peace Tree and Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile - both marked with plaques/signs. A mile down the road brought us to the world's first international Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom, a bridge that joins the town of Cumberland and Central Falls, Rhode Island. Last but not least, we stopped at another Sri Chinmoy Peace Bridge in Pawtucket, Rhode Island near the Slater Mill - the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Since Rhode Island is the "Ocean State" with over 400 miles of beaches, some who came added in side trips to the ocean for a swim. Best of all was the oneness, laughs and camaraderie found amidst this brand new Joy Day location in America. The members of the Rhode Island Centre offer our enthusiastic and heart-felt gratitude to each and every person who travelled to join in our first ever Joy Day Weekend.
Every day, every seeker
Must try to bring God
A little more joy.
Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 21