Spiritual retreats - where joy is the most important thing!
Our teacher, Sri Chinmoy, prized spiritual company and us all coming together every so often for 'Joy-Days' - gatherings of meditation, singing and fun. Now that we can all travel again, it has become especially important to travel and share spiritual friendship with like-minded souls all over the world.
Bali Centre Celebrates International Day of Happiness
To celebrate the International Day of Happiness, on Sunday, March 20th, all disciples in the Bali Centre were invited to join for an afternoon Joy Day with a special “meditation in action” program. We started with a fun walk, jog or run around the monument at Renon, the main place where people exercise in the heart of Denpasar.
Then we returned to our Centre, a few blocks away, for meditation and singing to invoke the quality of happiness. We chose five songs about happiness such as “I Am Happy because I Still Need God”, “Perfect Happiness”, “The Children of Happiness”, “Optimism-Joy”, and “Wherever You Go”.
We have been trying to have a Joy Day once a month in Bali to help keep everyone inspired. Tourism is starting to open up again, and the disciples here are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to beautiful Bali again!
Australia Joy Weekend!
A golden opportunity was presented to me to come to Canberra for 1.5 months until the April Celebrations. Since my arrival in late February, I have been so fortunate to be immersed in a full-on Sri Chinmoy Centre life: working at our restaurant My Rainbow-Dreams, helping with meditation classes and races. The Joy Weekend we just had (12-14 March) was definitely a huge highlight!
Jindabyne, a beautiful nature-rich town near Canberra, is the location of yearly multi-sport race we offer to the public. Due to floods, this year’s race was cancelled, and it became our Joy Weekend location. Looking back, I am so grateful for this turn of events, as we were able to have so much fun together as a spiritual family! Disciples gathered for this occasion from most centres throughout Australia, representing Australia, China, Japan, Mongolia and New Zealand.
To kickstart this joy-filled weekend together, we took part in the 5km park run on Saturday morning near Sri Chinmoy’s statue located at Yarralumla Bay. Delicious breakfast followed at the statue. One of the many GREAT things about Australian Joy Weekend is that we have so many competent cooks from My Rainbow-Dreams! All of them (Hastakamala, Rathin, Sarankhuu, Stacey, Susan) took charge of different meals and it was HEAVEN in the appetite world, with different bakes, burgers, and fresh salad.
We are also blessed to have experienced, fun games & activities organizers: Prabuddha, Amalendu and Kishore. In just one day, we managed to put in (and enjoyed greatly): One-mile race, Triathlon (Swim, Run, Kayak) at Lake Jindabyne, and Joyathlon at the accommodation, both in girls & boys teams.
I chuckled at the contrast with a typical Japanese Joy Day we would have in Kamakura, for example. There, we would pay a prayerful visit to the Kamakura Buddha, followed by walks to a couple of more temples and a soba noodle lunch!
One highlight of the games was the final of Picking & Moving Marbles with Chopsticks. It was a match between Chelsea, representing China, and Harashita, representing Japan! Onlookers cheered the contestants with “Go for it!” in both Chinese (“Jiayou!”) and Japanese (“Ganbare!”) with great excitement, as both of us moved the marbles from one container to the other with intense concentration.
Meditations and functions were of course an essential part of our being together over the weekend. Besides the soulful group meditation, we had Sushmitam’s Group singing (after 2 years!) and hilarious plays by both girls and boys. We are once again so fortunate to have such talented producers on both girls’ and boys’ sides (Susan and Rathin), as well as talented and entertaining actors (Kuvarani, Sushmitam, Luke and Grahak, to name a few!)
A very special highlight of our evening functions was our video calls with Stutisheel from the Kyiv Centre on Saturday night, and the entire Vinnitsa Centre (also in Ukraine) on Sunday night. Stutisheel’s stories were heartbreaking. His strength was incredible to watch and feel. We were so proud of him, and were grateful that we are all part of this peace-invoking oneness-family. Singing for disciples at Vinnitsa Centre, and listening to their singing the Ukraine and Russia songs,were moving and empowering–a sweet exchange of our oneness-hearts.
On our final morning, we went out for various long activities according to our fitness level and liking. The toughest one was the 23 km run up on Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia. This feat was bravely and triumphantly completed by 5 of our strongest runners: Bayarkhuu, Prachar, Sarankhuu, Stacey, and Susan. Others enjoyed 12 km hike/run, mountain biking, and serious (and successful) shopping!
With ear-to-ear smiles on our faces we parted, heading back to our respective centres. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude (with a Japanese bow)
Italian Joy Weekend
On March 19 and 20, an Italian Joy Weekend was held in Milan, featuring a programme on the theme of Peace and a Peace Walk in nature. We also celebrated the 6th anniversary of the inauguration of Sri Chinmoy's statue in Italy. Here you can see us at the top of Monte Grona (1736 m) from where one can admire one of the best views of the Pre-Alps, near Lake Como, in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region.