Tuesday 18th

At last, a day free of practices! After meditation, I go out for a long slow run. My tactic on long runs in New York is generally to run to where I think there are nice tree-lined neighbourhoods, get lost very nicely and after half an hour ask someone the general direction in which I am living so I can begin to make my way back. This morning I feel very weak (probably a consequence of one or fifteen too many Indian sweets), there's no spark in the legs at all. However everything looks beautiful this time of the morning, and I'm not exactly racing along at breakneck speed. I sidle by the breakfast area after 45 minutes or so and tuck in. Afterwards I find a nice enclosed space in which to play the flute - the sound is much better in enclosed spaces and so I can hang onto any illusions of musical competence I might harbour.

The sun is blazing as we sit for meditation - after a very soulful meditation, Sri Chinmoy then gives a very deep and insightful talk covering all areas of the spiritual life. He reiterates how grateful he is to us all for coming; he speaks of the boundless joy we have all given him by coming and says hopefully he has also given us all some joy. He then covers many different areas of the spiritual life, before inviting us all to ask questions on the spiritual life. Many more people ask him questions than he probably expected, but he patiently answers each one at length.The function ends much later that expected, but everyone feels that there was something in Guru's talk and answers that clarified at least some aspect of their daily spiritual life.

I bump into Arthur from Germany, who says Sadhak is looking for people with instruments to join in his performance on Thursday night. Due to the different tuning on the flute, there are many songs I can't play effectively in a group, but I decide to come along anyway, sure I can always leave if the flute doesn't work out. It turns out that most of the music is compatible with the flute after all. My time of having no practices was pretty short; oh well, its nice to have something to work towards.
(When I got home from America I became acquainted with Sadhak's album Songs from the Mist, Moon and Stars; I'm especially fond of the first track, Harvest Moon)
Afterwards I get changed and head to meditation. First Guru holds a very soulful silent meditation. Then the synthesizer gets pulled out. Harkara and Pramodan from Germany have made many instruments for Guru; tonight they show a synthesizer thy have been working on for Guru to test out. Sri Chinmoy has been performing dynamic piano and pipe organ improvisation since 1987; more recently he has also performed improvisations on the synthesizer. (You can watch one such improvisation here) These performances have this torrential quality that just compel the mind to shut up and let you gain access to the vastness within. On this synthesiser there are three different rows rather like an organ, the top row is reserved for a cacophony of gongs and cymbals. Sri Chinmoy is happy with his improvisation and asks the two instrument makers to make a few tweaks here and there to perfect the sound.
A few months ago, I was very inspired by a very nice story Harkara wrote about how the two of them made Sri Chinmoy's favourite instrument, the esraj, you can read it here...

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