Jodie writes from Triratna’s Melbourne Buddhist Centre where they’ve just celebrated their first meditation flash mob. She says - “The bad jokes came rolling in while we were organising our latest Melbourne event, a meditation “flash mob”. With first prize going to Harvey’s “We could be arrested for disturbing the unease.” Seriously, as part of this year’s Urban Retreat we decided to spend a Friday evening meditating outside and chose Federation Square for the event, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Hundreds of people pass through Federation Square on a Friday evening on their way home or en-route to a night out on the town.
A small group of us gathered and did a series of 20-minute sits, taking turns to hand out postcards and chat with people passing by. The sight of our meditation mob turned a lot of heads and we handed out about 100 postcards about the Melbourne Buddhist Centre to potential future Bodhisattvas. The event offered a good opportunity to not only promote our Buddhist Centre, but also take meditation out into the community. Afterwards we gathered for a well earned hot chocolate and chat, with the conversation soon turning to our next “flash mob.”
Linda Williams, another of the participants commented “We could feel the vibrations of the trains passing through the tunnels under us, hear trams go by and the buzz of people going to and fro: for once the noise around me was just as loud as the noise in my head!”
Another participant wrote that for him it was “…a very positive experience, deep meditation in the heart of the city… sitting on a cushion on the ground”. He said “I spent the whole time on mindfulness practice. .. which helped me experience city noise as a symphony orchestra.. which I eventually just acknowledged as a construction of my fixed self… which I could turn down and let go. Within the breath I found a beautiful peaceful light in which I was immersed, floating, still. It was a great trip home. Thank you for organising this. If this, then that”. Powerful stuff.
Sudaya, Melbourne Buddhist Centre’s Chairperson, joined in, deem the evening a success and hopes it will become a regular part of the International Urban Retreat, or possibly even a touch more regular. She commented “Wouldn’t it be great if participation snowballed to the point where people saw the growing gathering and joined in. Over time we hope to have dozens of people getting in on the action spontaneously.”