Throughout the past year, our YA Outreach team has been thinking about the question: Where are YAs going when they want to learn about meditation?
One answer? Online!
In an effort to share passage meditation in a new online capacity, the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation will be offering its very first free introductory webinar on Saturday, January 25th, at 10—11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. We already have 200+ people registered from over 20 countries from Trinidad and Tobago to Iceland!
Here at YA Blog HQ, we think this is a GREAT opportunity for our YA friends. This is a really accessible, free, and simple way for YAs to explore passage meditation. If it appeals, there are lots of free resources for continued support and inspiration. It's also a great opportunity for our long-distance friends who can't get to Northern California to check out our programs and have a dose of virtual satsang!
Lots of passage meditators have shared information and the flyer above with friends and family who have expressed interest or asked questions about passage meditation (you can also find a pdf version of the flyer here). They've told us how surprised they've been by the enthusiastic take-up. The webinar is open to people of all ages, faith traditions (including none!), and levels of experience with passage meditation, though it's geared towards complete newcomers. Find out more and register at www.easwaran.org/webinar.
So what's it like to meet Easwaran online in our digital age? Jan shares his story here.
I met Easwaran online.
Ever since getting into the college of my choice, I had been consciously searching for a new goal in life. What contribution can I make? How can I use my skills? What are my skills?
Half a year later, I came across Mahatma Gandhi and his way of deliberately crafting his life into an instrument of peace.
At the time, I was also supplementing my college courses with YouTube’s educational section, where big universities like Harvard, Oxford, and MIT posted entire semesters of their most popular courses.
I stumbled on a course offered by UC Berkeley, in which Gandhi’s lifestyle of nonviolence was presented as a systematic way to create peace in the world. Anecdotes from our times of love triumphing over terrorism in the most surprising ways offered hope that Gandhi’s nonviolence was also as relevant now as it was in the last century.
Most important, the course answered the question of how I can contribute to the urgent problems facing our world. I heard an underlying message—that the most effective way to change the world is to change yourself, and the only way to do that—in a lasting, fundamental way—is to meditate.
Googling the professor, I soon arrived at Easwaran.org.
Having heard of how Gandhi used a mantram, I went to the tab “Free Resources to Learn Passage Meditation” and then to “Full Instructions in Passage Meditation,” which includes the complete text of Easwaran’s basic book, Passage Meditation.
I read the entire book online, which is free.
Less than a month later, I started meditating daily.
A month into the practice, I used easwaran.org to find a fellowship group, or satsang, near me. At the same time, I signed up for the Young Adult eSatsang, an email group where young adult passage meditators from around the world can write in to share inspiration, challenges, and tips.
Since then I have used Easwaran.org to watch videos of Easwaran's inspirational talks and to sign up for both regional retreats and retreats in Tomales, Northern California–especially the young adult retreats in Tomales.
Easwaran had taught what is believed to be the first accredited meditation course at a major Western university, teaching over a thousand UC Berkeley students at a time. “Why not share these teachings at my college too?” I soon asked.
So I started a meditation student group, a picture of which you can see here. We met for an hour a week, using tools like the free introductory online course and always ending with a half hour of meditation. One friend in the group, a bassoonist, commented on the changes in his life since meditating: “I just feel happier.”
More than anyone else I met in person during college, Easwaran, whom I “met” online, has made the most far-reaching changes in my life. Thanks to Easwaran’s eight-point program, I feel confident that I am slowly and systematically making my life a contribution to the world.
These days, I meditate in the evening also, and I remind myself of a quote by Easwaran before beginning, “Remember, meditation is not for your benefit alone—it is for the benefit of the whole world.”