On June 25, 2016, two thousand people from a multitude of ethnicities and backgrounds gathered at the NJPAC, Newark, New Jersey for one of the largest meditation events in the United States. The East Coast Heartfulness Conference was the third in a nationwide series that brought Heartfulness meditation to thousands across the US. The highlight of these sessions in Detroit, Los Angeles and Newark was a practical exercise led by Kamlesh D. Patel, (endearingly referred to as Daaji) the master teacher of the practice. This practical session provided participants an opportunity to understand and experience the Heartfulness technique and incorporate meditation in their daily lives. The participants were also made aware of a wide range of support resources that include trainers, online materials, meditation centers and a mobile app for remote meditation sessions with trainers.
At the Newark conference, hundreds of people lined up hours in advance to attend the much awaited event. Award winning folk singer Honor Finnegan opened the event with a powerful and heartwarming performance. Dr. Partha Nandi, the creator and host of the “Ask Dr. Nandi” television show was the MC for the event. Bringing together his Eastern beliefs and Western evidence based thinking, Dr.Nandi engaged the audience with his witty insights and anecdotes.
Complimenting Dr.Nandi was the presence of Gabrielle Bernstein, the NY Times bestselling author of “May Cause Miracles.” Gabby shared her personal journey towards meditation as a life practice. She spoke about the childhood memories of her yogi mother, her struggle with life and its purpose. Her honest and moving testimonial struck a chord with the audience.
The evening was also graced by the presence of local leadership from the community. Noted New Jersey lawmakers, Hon. Upendra Chivukula and Hon. Raj Mukherji warmly welcomed Daaji with their remarks. Hon. Raj Mukherji presented Assembly Commendation to Daaji. Mayoral Aide for Clergy Affairs Rev. Louise Scott-Rountree presented a letter on behalf of Ras Baraka, the Hon. Mayor of Newark, welcoming the Heartfulness Institute to the city of Newark and honoring its initiatives.
The Heartfulness team engaged thousands on social media to build awareness and seek questions that were prevalent in people’s minds.
The Heartfulness Advantage
The conversation with the speakers and social media engagement set the stage very well for the key event of the evening, a “Dialog with Daaji.” The conversation included a wide array of questions that touched upon the role of upbringing, inner peace and achieving emotional balance.
“What we need today is absolute clarity before I take the next step,” Daaji said. “Most people waste time in trying to see what is to be done next, but if your heart is clear you are not wasting much time.” “The Heartfulness advantage is that we are able to go deeper into ourselves, and the deeper we go there is more clarity, because there is less selfishness and with the self-transcended you are able to have better judgement.”
At each venue, a silent group meditation session aided by the unique element of Heartfulness, ‘yogic transmission’ was offered to the participants. “This particular meditation is so easy” said Daaji. “As long as you can close your eyes, that’s it. The rest of the task will be done by the transmission, it will guide you through how to go deeper into it. If you have a little interest to go deeper, this is the path.”
Daaji shared his wish that we all support our youth and “teach them to be adventurous, to look within themselves, follow their hearts all the time.” “We will need inspired teachers all over the globe not just loading us with information, but something to make noble citizens divine citizens of this world.”
Across the conferences in Detroit, LA and Newark, the audiences were inspired to take the practice home and make it their own. In LA, when asked about his vision for this practice by Varun Soni, dean of religious life at USC, Daaji said that his mission at the moment, is to bring about Heartfulness awareness in every house … so that as and when people need it, they should think that yes Heartfulness is there!
Speaking further, Daaji commented that all our endeavors, all our activities should become meditative in nature. When we talk with someone, when we do things, there should be some meditativeness in that action; there should be some love oozing through our speech, through our looks. Even when we listen to younger children our full attention should be there with a lot of love. Attitude matters in this case you see.”
A Unique Medley of Leaders
At each location, the program featured a medley of speakers, musicians and thought leaders. The music performances were led by Grammy nominated Flutist Shashank Subramaniam. Shashank and his co-performers touched a chord with the audiences at Detroit and LA. The pinnacle of this experience was delivered during the music concert at NJPAC in Newark. The concert featured enthralling performances by Shashank (flute), Irshad Khan (sitar), Nitin Mitta (tabla) and Parupalli Phalgun (mirdangam) that culminated in a rapturous standing ovation!
he other speakers in the conference series included Google Chief Evangelist Gopi Kallayil, author of “The Internet to the Inner-Net,” comedian and transformational speaker Kyle Cease and award-winning television news anchor Lila Lazarus.
Origins & Global Presence
Heartfulness is offered free of charge, and invites people to take their heart’s guidance by meditating on the source of light in the heart. It is practiced by over a million people and taught by six thousand certified volunteer-trainers. The practice continues to grow globally with 1,500 meditation centers and 250 retreat centers, including seven retreat centers in the United States and Canada.
The practice is rooted in the ancient Indian Raja Yoga practice, is open to all and designed to work in concert with all denominations, creeds and belief systems. The Heartfulness method originated in India in 1945 and now, more than seventy years later, continues to be adopted worldwide by individuals looking for a simple and methodical approach to enrich their life experiences.
About The Heartfulness Institute (www.heartfulnessinstitute.org)
A U.S. nonprofit organization, the Heartfulness Institute promotes wellbeing and self-development through meditation, research and training. Its programs for individuals, corporates, and educational and civil society groups worldwide are piloted by certified trainers who are volunteers and offer their time and expertise in this social cause.
Contact: Kelly Vogt Campbell, Kelly@harmonica.com, 310.927.4537