The perfect meditation is perhaps in the silent, snow-capped Himalayan peaks.
But, over Christmas, we were in a popular holiday resort, Greece. For New Year’s Eve, we lost our peaceful function hall to a New Year’s party. Our meditation group squeezed into an upper story room with the party down below.
Throughout the New Year evening we had meditations and plays – a mixture of the humorous and soulful – hopeful of a bright future after the tumultuous year of 2016. The final meditation was 11.30pm to midnight. Almost on cue, the party below got into full swing, with the volume raised to full celebration mood. Rather than the ethereal silence of the midnight calm, stale cigarette smoke seeped into the room.
With a 20 minute break before the final meditation, I calculate a better meditation may be had in my isolated hotel room – away from the party noise and smoke. I weigh up the dilemma with some friends, but they don’t share my careful calculations, seemingly enjoying the challenge.
Their infectious faith and enthusiasm for meditation, whatever the external circumstances, over-rides the dry calculations of my mind. I give up rational arguments and sit down in my meditation chair to face the music.
With 30 minutes of meditation to go, it was decided (by democratic vote in honour of Greece), that we would play Guru’s organ music at full volume.
The power and intensity of Sri Chinmoy’s organ music breaks all the rules of what meditation music is or should be, but with a definitive other-worldly, celestial quality. The thunder of notes imbued with a capacity to break the ego’s shell. Whether reality or imagination, it gives a brief glimpse of the universal cosmos – the raw power of creation. The battle of sounds, an unexplained joy. Time passes with unearthly speed; this parallel universe intoxicating, but all too fleeting. The organ crescendos to a finish, a momentary silence, and then our Invocation to bring in the New Year.
It is the yin and yang of the universe in one conference hall. The voluminous disturbance pressing a unique meditative experience.
It is easy to surrender to outer disturbance and seek sanctuary in lone retreat. But, it can be surprising what provides a springboard to seek the Beyond.