We here at elephant first reported on the MedMob movement in February of this year. Back then, I got all giddy because it had spread from Austin, to Boulder, to a total of eight different cities, including a location in Mexico, officially making it an international gathering.
It appears that good news travels fast. I’m honored to report that this past Sunday, the 29th of May, people gathered for an hour of silent meditation in conspicuous public places in 47 different cities across the globe — with locations in England, Italy, Finland, Germany, Poland, Lebanon, Australia, Mexico, Canada and all around the United States, including Hawaii.
So — I hear my father asking — what’s this hippy-dippy feel-goodery all about? Why meditate?
For starters, here is a great quote from Alan Watts on the topic:
We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.
There is nothing necessarily spiritual about meditation. It is a very practical exercise that helps humans process stress and re-tune the strings of our human instrument in order to more efficiently go about our worldly duties. There is nothing esoteric about calm, healthy breathing.
The goal is not to attain some state of illusory bliss, then wander around all day in a disconnected daze with a silly grin. The goal (if meditation can be said to have a goal) is to allow the naturally arising chaos and distractions of the mind to settle and fade so that we can act and make choices with greater intention and clarity.
An old metaphor says that the mind is a very deep pond. Thoughts are the ripples created by the wind or a pebble (or any other external stimuli). When there are many ripples and waves, it is impossible to see below the surface. Meditation is the practice of calming the waves in order to peer more deeply into the empty depths of the pond, or to delight in the bright orange carp swimming there, or see the spires of deep-sea castles, long thought lost. Or whatever; the subsequent imagery is arbitrary.
With a calm mind, every situation becomes manageable. I love what Gandhi reportedly said one morning before a busy day. He said,
“I have so much to accomplish today, that I must meditate for two hours instead of just one.”
Here are the stated intentions of the MedMob movement:
To create an environment for people from all walks of life to come together in meditation.
To expose people to meditation through public display of the practice.
To come together as a community to send positive intentions out into the world.
To show that leading by example is the best way to lead. Simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking.
At a MedMob event:
We are all participants.
We are all leaders.
We gather to create & celebrate inner & outer peace & freedom.
We are serious about our fun.
No hierarchy of official leaders.
No one not welcome.
The format is this:
Beginning at 12 Noon Local Time on the last Sunday of every month, MedMobbers gather and sit for one hour. At 1 pm, an 11-minute sound bath begins, in which everyone is encouraged to sing, hum or chant any tone or seed syllable.
Simple. That’s it!
The sound bath can be a source of trepidation; understandably, some folks are hesitant to sing out in public. However, history and experience has shown us that shared tones create a palpable sense of unity, literally bringing everyone into harmony. Once anticipatory fear is overcome, most people agree that it’s fun!
Some people Om or Aum; some say Ahh, or Ma; some just hum; and some are content to simply sit and bask in the happy vibrations. Each person is free to express themselves as they see fit. I must reiterate, there is nothing religious or new-agey about activating our voices in the name of joy and healing; it is a time-tested technique for manipulating the physics of sound for our own enjoyment and well-being.
Many people choose to arrive early or stay after to chat and hug or dance with fellow Mobbers. This practice is highly encouraged, and has proven to be a valuable occasion for all sorts of interesting connections. It is amazing to see the variety of people that will show up, and the events are always ripe with synchronicity.
The good word is spreading exponentially.
The movement began in Austin, with some friends of Black Swan Yoga. I was inspired and brought it to Boulder. From there, using social-media and word-of-mouth, the enthusiasm has continued to resound around the world. Sooner than anyone might imagine, we fully expect there to be coordinated MedMobs on every continent. Will you be a part of it?
The next agreed-upon date is Sunday, June 26, 2011.
If there is not already an event in your local area, the founder’s group has streamlined the process of starting one to the point of effortlessness. We have poster templates and a whole promotion network that can and will manifest a community of miraculous individuals almost instantly.
Born on planet Earth, David Telfer McConaghay has since wandered across its surface in search of something which, when found, kindly insists that he continue searching. His immediate family lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, though he also feels at home in Washington D.C.; Grass Valley, California; Bogotá, Colombia; and now, almost Boulder, Colorado. He completed his B.A. in English & Creative Writing at The George Washington University in 2008. Experiences at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm are the primary source of any yogic inspiration David aka Sri Nivasa may express. He plays on Facebook Here and can be followed on Twitter Here