By Jogyata Dallas
It has been a joyful year of travel for some of us. Over Christmas we met up with international Centre members in Ubud, Bali – here we are before a commemorative statue of Sri Chinmoy in a beautiful outdoor garden. The ‘Dreamer of Peace’ bronze work was sculpted by the renowned English artist Kaivalya Torpy as a tribute to his lifelong spiritual teacher. I later met up with friends in Iceland, here seen with a musical prodigy friend called Hridananda who teaches composition at the university in Reykjavik. What a great country, its huge volcanic landscapes spreading out to every horizon, those big massifs of upthrust lava silhouetted against the sky, and in summer the endless daylight, the ever-present sun.
We travelled on to New York where our Auckland Centre members had gathered to honor Sri Chinmoy’s birthdate. Here we joined with Sri Chinmoy Centre members from around Australia to perform a very complicated, beautiful arrangement of one of Sri Chinmoy’s songs to an audience of over 600 people. Many of us also ran the marathon which our team organises every August, and some went on only two days later to compete in our midnight to dawn 47 mile race! Towards the end of our stay, two concerts in Manhattan were organised for the public, one featuring the Russian folk celebrity Boris Grebenshikov – full houses at both.
En route home, Auckland meditation teacher Muslim Badami along with an Australian friend and myself teamed up in LA, hired a car and drove north to the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in northern California, camping for a few days in different places. Encounters with bears, hikes and trail runs way up to 10,000 feet. The photo here shows only the bottom part of one of the largest redwood trees in the world that we also encountered. And the following picture shows Muslim seated on a rock on the Big Sur coastline, a great 100 mile drive along the Pacific seabord.
In New Zealand our members love the outdoors – two groups walked the Heaphy Track from opposite directions, swapping cars at their completion after four days of wonderful weather on this great hike. Here is the girls four person team, and my own small mens team which had two teenagers from south Auckland’s Golden Grove school out on their first long adventure. On the left of my team photo is Vajin Armstrong, three times winner of the annual Kepler Challenge trail race in Fiordland National Park, and one of the best ultra runners in the world. Needless to say he ran the Heaphy as a training run.
We hope to have adventured over all seven of the Great Walks by years end – next up will be the Milford Track!
Remember, if you are in Auckland or Hamilton next month don’t miss the visit from Zurich by the wonderful meditation teacher Kailash Beyer – he is giving talks on ‘The Secrets of Happiness’ in both cities and is a truly inspirational speaker.