May 11th, 2010, New York, New York. The ongoing free workshop entitled "Meditation and the Inner World: Gateway to the Beyond" that opened in late April continues into May, offered by Chidananda Burke in Manhattan's East Village to an overflow crowd.
The current workshop is part of the New York Sri Chinmoy Centre series of free meditation workshops, offered nearly every 3 months since 2008. The format for all of these workshops, except the last, include a large hall, accommodating upwards of 400 people, in a Greenwich Village venue, for a week-end workshop, with a guest speaker imported from elsewhere (among them have been Devashishu from England, Aditya from Germany and Gangane from Iceland).
On Monday, 26 April, a new approach was inaugurated. We had a relatively small meeting space, accommodating (only!) about 80 people, a six-Monday nights format, with Chidananda, a native New Yorker, as the workshop leader. Chidananda studied with Sri Chinmoy for nearly 40 years. A former journalist and amateur poet, he offers to these classes a profound inner understanding of meditation and the spiritual life.
Although the intention was to have a relatively small and focused workshop, so many seekers came to the first session that there was standing-room only, and at the end, a few seekers had to be turned away. The workshop opened, without preamble, with soulful singing one of Sri Chinmoy’s longer songs.
At the continuing workshops in May the audiences are comprised of the serious seekers. Two long, intense meditations were followed by a question-and-answer period. A particularly telling question was: How have most people lived for so long without having meditation in their lives? For at least one participant, the return to the East Village street outside of the workshop location, was a shocking reminder of the existence of “real” life.