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Who are we?
The New York Sri Chinmoy Centre was originally founded in 1966. We practise meditation and a spiritual life according to the teachings and example of Sri Chinmoy, a modern-day spiritual Master who lived in Queens for almost 40 years. Many of our instructors have had the benefit of studying with Sri Chinmoy for decades, and are very grateful for the opportunity of sharing this gift with others.
As well as meditation, we also offer many different types of events for the public – from concerts to running races to art exhibitions.
Our teacher, Sri Chinmoy felt that inner peace and joy could be a natural and normal part of every person’s daily life. To that end, he devoted his life to making meditation and spirituality as widely known and practiced as possible.
Our class instructors
Our meditation classes are given by members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre – people drawn from many different walks of life who share a common interest in meditation. Here are a few of our regular NY class-givers:
Ashrita lives in New York and has practiced daily meditation for the last 35 years. He has set more than 300 Guinness World Records using the power of meditation to increase his inner strength. More about Ashrita on his website »
Harita is originally from New Zealand and now lives in the United States. She has been a student of Sri Chinmoy since 1995. She is a USA co-ordinator for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, a global torch relay that travels the world sharing the simple message that peace begins within each one of us.
Dr. Ganapati J. Coleman
Ganapati is currently a principal member of the research staff at Charles Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. He has been a student of Sri Chinmoy for over 30 years and attributes his own success in life to the “deep spiritual grace and influence of this most remarkable teacher and friend”.
Ashirvad is from Brazil, and practiced meditation for 12 years under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy, and has given free courses on meditation to thousands of people in over 25 countries around the world.
Mahatapa Palit, an educator by profession, was born in India. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Mahatapa works closely with the Bengali community in Queens, and offers meditation classes in Bengali as well as English.
Suchitra Sugar, a recent university graduate, is an ecologist by training. In her first job out of university she worked as a New York City Park Ranger and she now works as a consultant on environmental education for UNICEF. She has recently started offering meditation classes at The Oneness-Heart Centre. She and her mother lead a hiking club in our meditation group that goes for hikes to really beautiful and meditative places in and around New York City during the weekends.
We also frequently invite international guest speakers from all over the world to give courses.
What do we teach in our classes?
The content of the class class generally depends on the particular class-givers, but the following is a general guide:
- Breathing techniques – how to use calming breath to put out the fire of emotions and thoughts.
- Mantra – how to properly use the repetition of spiritually resonant phrases to calm the mind.
- Heart meditation – focusing on the heart center, the safest and most effective energy center (chakra).
- Visualization techniques – guided meditations to invoke a peaceful and expanding inner landscape.
- Illumining life habits – we are often painfully unaware of our own destructive habits and tendencies that continually bring unrest into our lives. Methods for awareness and transformation of bad habits are shared, as well as secrets for maneuvering through a challenging contemporary lifestyle. Tips are shared for more spiritually grounded and productive living. You’ll learn how to get centered in the city.
Sri Chinmoy asked only that the classes be given free of charge, and also that the people who are giving the class meditate themselves before the class, so that there is a meditative atmosphere there from the beginning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Meditation is a journey of self-discovery. By making the mind calm and quiet, we can go deep within and discover who we really are. By doing so, we find lasting peace and happiness and learn how to effectively solve our life-problems and realize our highest aspirations.
Q: Do I need to bring anything to the class?
A: If you can shower and change into clean, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes, that is ideal. But if you are coming straight from work, that’s also okay. The most important thing is your sincere aspiration to dive deep within and discover your own inner wealth.
Q: Is seating in chairs, or on the floor?
A: At our introductory classes, seating is almost always in chairs. If you would like to sit on the floor, you are welcome to bring your own mat or cushion. Later in the series we do encourage people to sit cross legged on a cushion on the floor if it does not cause any physical discomfort. The main advantage of sitting cross legged on the floor is that it helps to keep the spine straight and erect, which is very important for meditation.
Q: Is it easy to learn to meditate?
A: It depends on the individual, and the effort given. Meditation comes quite naturally to some people, while others take a while to get the hang of it. In a sense it’s a little like learning to ride a bike. (Remember when you were little, how many times did you fall off before being able to ride down the entire block?). The important thing is to keep trying, and ideally to practice meditation every day in the morning at a fixed hour. Never give up meditation after only a few attempts – to really see if meditation is meant for you, we recommend practicing for at least three months.
Q: There are many different kinds of meditation. What kind do you practise?
A: We meditate on the ‘heart center’ – the place inside ourselves where we feel a strong sense of our own being. In the beginning we use various techniques to help us in this process, but after some time people are able to naturally enter this beautiful inner space without any technique.
Q: Why is it free?
A: We offer meditation classes as a public service. Once upon a time we were searching for peace and happiness and we were fortunate enough to find it through meditation. The least we can do is to offer the same opportunity to others!
Peace and happiness are our inner wealth – they cannot be bought or sold! But to gain this inner wealth requires sincerity and consistent effort on our part. That is the only fee.
Q: But is it REALLY free?
YES! And, you will never be asked for a donation. The classes are funded through donations from members of our meditation group, as well as sales of books and CDs. None of our meditation class instructors or organizers are paid for their time, all is offered as a public service.
Q: Who is Sri Chinmoy?
A: Sri Chinmoy is our meditation teacher. There is more information about his life and philosophy here.
Q: What is the Sri Chinmoy Centre?
A: The Sri Chinmoy Centre is a collection of individuals from all walks of life and all faiths who follow the path of meditation taught by Sri Chinmoy. Through meditation, we strive to cultivate peace and harmony within ourselves. Through public service, we strive to cultivate peace and harmony in the world at large.
Q: Is this a religion?
A: Not at all. Meditation is simply a technique we use to look within. It is something every human being can learn to do, regardless of what religion (if any) they belong to. However, it is helpful to at least be open-minded about the spiritual nature of your being.
Q: Are there continuing meditation classes?
A: Our goal in offering meditation classes is to help you establish your own daily meditation practice. If you feel that our style of meditation is good for you and you would like to sincerely follow a path of meditation, then we offer continuing classes (also free of charge) where we teach more about Sri Chinmoy’s path. Information will be available at the workshop.
Q: Do you have a meditation center I can come visit?
A: We don’t really do drop-in meditations – we prefer to teach introductory classes, and then build upon them for people who are interested in continuing further. In this way, we have a constant feeling of progress, which we have found is very important in order to have a truly fulfilling meditation practise. We do however, have a busy schedule of events, so there is certainly something you can come along to soon! If you would like to see or talk to us in person, you can always come to one of the meditation cafés/restaurants run by our students and get a sense of what’s happening.