This weekend’s meditation workshop in Perth with Kishore Cunningham was a great success and really got into what meditation actually involves. The free event held at Subiaco attracted a large crowd. On the Saturday there wasn’t a seat left in the house and Sunday was also extremely well attended.
Kishore talked about the role of meditation in day to day life. “How can we make this part of our daily life with our busy lifestyles?” One seeker asked. “The first thing to realise,” replied Kishore, “is that meditation is really enjoyable. Sitting peacefully inside yourself is really rewarding. Learning to silence the mind and to stop thoughts to dive deeper within, you’ll want to do it every day.”
Interspersed with meditation music and visual presentations, the event was unique. The video on Saturday that was produced went through the evolution of the soul. A human beings constant march forwards for progress. Meditation on the heart was explained. Avoiding the constant noise of the mind is easier when we operate from the heart and Kishore mentioned that it is like turning on a switch. We go from our mental worries and thoughts to the heart, where we experience oneness and love.
The Sunday touched on practical guidance and techniques. The first exercise was a guided visualisation using the breath. Imagination incorporates the higher or more illumining aspects of the mind which can actually help us in meditation. We imagined the breath coming from the universe or cosmos around us and breathed out any intruding thoughts or stress or worries. The audio visual content on Sunday displayed a lineage of spiritual masters and teachers and the messages they offer to world at the large and their role in teaching meditation and spirituality to the world at large. It was very inspiring and the crowd enjoyed a large free afternoon tea cooked by volunteers. Plenty of sweets and great herbal teas.
So what does meditation involve? According to Kishore the first ultimate goal is to silence the mind but initially we have to just aim at diminishing thoughts. He explained, “I have been meditating for 45 years and to be frank, I have only really entered into the higher states of meditation with no thoughts at all about twice,” he said, to the quiet chuckles of the attentive audience. He was keeping our expectations in check and encouraging regular practice, one of the keys of meditation. Sitting upright, avoiding eating before meditation, attending a regular meditation group were some of the more practical tips given. He sang a mantric song composed by Sri Chinmoy and then the audience joined in chanting ‘Shanti,’ the peace mantra. The second exercise was a concentration exercise. “Concentration automatically expands into meditation. If we concentrate on a candle flame we can identify with it. Concentration means identification. The heart can easily do this as it has the quality of oneness,” said Kishore. The audience was encouraged to sit at arm’s length from a candle at home, which wasn’t feasible in such a large meditation class. So a candle was placed on a beautiful holder around 40 centimeters high so everyone could see it. We were then guided to rest our gentle gaze on the flame without staring to hard. Keeping the eyes half open and half closed many of the meditation class members had great experiences of concentration and meditation and they were happy to share them afterwards. The table with a large selection of meditation books and meditation music CD’s was descended upon afterwards as was the remaining cakes and cookies!
The whole weekend was very inspirational and fitting as well. There are further free meditation classes and workshops in the Perth area and the audience was invited to attend these meditation classes to find out more about meditation and its benefits. Also much of the music performed and composed specifically for the video productions was by Monk Party, father and son duo from New Zealand who will be visiting later in the year as part of a larger concert of meditation music.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre runs regular sessions offering practical advice on what is involved to meditate. All the classes are free and offered as a community service. Visit the calendar or phone 61614156 to inquire about a free meditation class nearby. We use a variety of locations north of the river and south of the river throughout the year. We also sell incense, meditation books and meditation music at the classes which everyone seems to like.