In the middle of the most hectic, chaotic, loud, lively, energetic, crowded city…2,000 strangers gather together to share a moment of silence.
The Big Quiet posted up at SummerStage in Central Park last night for a mass meditation including a sound bath, guest speakers, live music, a DJ, musicians, and a bazaar with healthy vendors such as Parsley Health, Away, Well & Good, MNDFL, Sweet Green, Inday NYC, and Sky Ting Yoga.
I went with friends (Lauren, Holly and Brendan) and we all had a blast. We were so excited and also appreciative of being able to attend an event with like-minded people that share our interest in meditation. They didn’t give out too much detail prior to the event in terms of how the meditation would go down. My spiritual self can look at that from the point of view of “the beauty of the unknown”, while naturally, we all curious about what to expect. On our way in, we all guessed whether we thought we were just going to sit in silence, or if the meditation would be guided. It turned out to be a little of both. They opened with guidance and then moved into just the “sound bath.”
Going into it, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to focus on my meditation and stay “present” in the middle of Central Park, with all of these people. On top of that, they encouraged people to sit back to back which is something I’ve never done. Holly and I decided to sit back to back. At first, I could feel her shifting around which was distracting to me, but eventually I found that having the support of her back, and knowing that she was doing exactly the same thing as me, was grounding. It was interesting to feel my own breath without feeling hers, but with still feeling her body there. I expected it to at least take me a few minutes to “get into” my meditation, but as soon as the sound bath started, I was immediately there.
I’ve never experienced a sound bath before (or even really knew what it was) until this event. So, no, you are not laying in a bath listening to music. A sound bath is a deep meditative concert of harmonic vibrations of highly resonant instruments such as singing bowls and gongs that can stimulate the alpha waves of the brain (thank you Sara Auster for this definition, I paraphrased it from your website). The sounds resonated so much with me that I wasn’t sure if what I was hearing was coming from the instruments or not. For example, I could hear planes flying above me and birds in the park, but thought that they might have been part of the sound bath. All of my other senses were heightened as well. It started to drizzle and each raindrop felt heavy as it landed on me. A slight wind blew by but also felt heavy as it brushed across my face, very vividly from right to left. I heard shutters (likely of an event photographer, I’m not sure because i didn’t open my eyes) which distracted me as I then started thinking about “shutters, pictures, I haven’t taken an Insta-worthy picture yet, I need something to post on jacnlex, oh wait, I’m totally lost in my thoughts, let me get back to this moment and my breath.”
Prior to the event we stopped by the different vendors. Sky Ting Yoga helped me adjust into a position to help stretch out the stress that I carry in my neck/shoulders (see below – I’m famous!). They also gave me a complimentary guest pass.
The ONLY thing I would recommend they do is offer a little more of the “snack samples” that were mentioned because of course, we were just as excited for those as we were for the meditation. We all came straight from work and were starving but the lines for the food samples were wayyyyy too long. Overall the event was awesome and I will definitely be attending the next one.