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Concert by the Sea – Turkey Tour Day 3

17 Aug

We started the morning again by a swim in the Agean followed by a meditation workshop in the hotel.  In the evening we went to the middle of the city where a stage right on the Seaside was being set up for us.  We flyered for a couple hours, ate dinner and met the Mayor of Kusadasi, and then headed back to the stage for soundcheck.

We played, danced, and meditated for 3 hours to a constant ebb and flow of people.  We were in the perfect location, a boardwalk that had tons of foot traffic, so we were able to meet tons of people.  At the end of the night, we were exhausted, but thrilled as we taught meditation to hundreds of people.

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Bhajans at Mother Mary’s House – Turkey Tour Day 2

17 Aug

The day started off brilliantly with an 8am footsoak/swim in the Agean followed by a great Turkish breakfast at the hotel.  Soon, we were all on the bus on the way to the Virgin Mary’s house in Kusadasi.  The place was packed as it was also Mother Mary’s Resurrection Day – but soon enough we were walking up a pair of steps into a simple stone house where Mother Mary used to live.  After spending some time in there we all walked outside onto the sermon area where we were told we would perform some songs in honor of Mother Mary.  They hooked us up to mikes, and pretty soon we were singing Namo Namo Maria, a Qawwali, and Binati Suniye for all of the people who had come to visit this place.

For lunch, we went to a small town of the 7 sleeping saints.  We ate in a traditional outdoor restaurant with pillows for chairs and relaxed with great food.  A little while later, the instruments were brought out and we gave a spontaneous concert for all the people at the restaurant.  After a great Bhajan session, we walked up the mountain to the dwelling of the 7 saints who were said to have slept for 200 years to avoid persecution.

Later that day we were driven to a football field in the middle of the town where a stage was being set up for us.  Some of us went out flyering and did our best to communicate with a few sentences in Turkish that we had memorized.  At 9pm people started to walk into the stands, and our concert began.  We played for a total of 4 hours, alternating between Qawwalis, Bhajans, Dances, and Guided Meditations.  At about midnight we wrapped up after having finished a great concert for around 150 people and went out for some Turkish food.

Its Time for the TURKEY TOUR!!!! – Day 1

17 Aug

45 Youth gathered from over 10 different countries packed on a plane to Izmir, or otherwise known as… REALIZE TURKEY!

We had a short rest upon arrival in Izmir, and then took a bus to the nearby city of Kusadasi.  When we got there, we couldn’t believe our eyes – we were standing in front of our hotel, right on the edge of the beautiful Agean Sea.  There really is nothing like Turkish hospitality.

Pretty soon, we were on our way to a large shopping center where we played Qawwalis inside.  We taught meditation in such a informal way- first we would play a few songs, and then when a large crowd was present, one of us would get up and introduce Sahaj and lead a short meditation.  We did this for a few hours, probably giving a couple hundred realizations.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and went for a midnight footsoak/swim until we were too tired to keep our eyes open.

Its All Over!!! – WYC Day 13

17 Aug

After 2 amazing weeks the congress was finally over!!!  We started the last day of the congress with a nice 7am morning meditation (that was surprisingly attended by a good number of people considering everyone stayed up till at least 4am).  We spent the beginning of the day with the friends we had made at the Congress just hanging out.  Then, in the evening the whole congress headed to Taxim (Istanbul’s center) to march for peace to the tune of 10 ridiculously amazing marching bands and an incredible drum group from Portugal.  1500 youth from ALL over the world marched/danced for two hours surrounded by thousands of locals on either side of us filming, photographing, and shouting along with us for peace.

After that we all hung out with our friends until early morning teaching them traditional Yuva games like Bang, Wuz, Korean Rock Paper Scissors, and Mafia =)  The next morning we woke up early, said our goodbyes to our new friends, and met our Turkish hosts who would take us back to the Asian side of Istanbul where we would meet the other 40 youth for the TURKEY TOUR!!!

All in all, the Congress was a massive success!  We taught meditation to over 1200 of the most active youth in the world, held 3 widely attended workshops (health, music, education), hosted 7am meditations that were attended daily by new meditators, and gave the material resources to 750 people to meditate on their own.

BRASIL

2012 -WORLD YOUTH CONGRESS 6 – See you there!!!!!

Qawwalis at Talent Night – WYC Day 12

17 Aug

Woke up nice and early for another morning meditation that was attended by the same regulars who had been coming for two weeks, as well as a few newbies.  For the first time, we had a mostly silent meditation, using only a couple affirmations to get into the state of meditation.  Many of the new meditators commented on how they were finding it easier and easier to get into this state of silence every day.

We took it easy in the day with lots of rest and some practice for Congress’s Talent Show which would be later in the night.  After dinner it was time to get to the stage.  We met up with around 10 Turkish friends of ours who would be performing with us.    After an hour or so of some amazing cultural acts – it was our turn.   We had 10 minutes, so we performed two Congress favorites – Ayi Diwali and Jogawa.  Unfortunately, we had only 3 mikes (and about 15 musicians) but nonetheless we sang and played our hearts out.  The reaction was great, people were dancing and clapping along, totally enjoying these classic Indian songs.  At the end we handed out the last of our seeker packets (meaning that we gave out a total of 750).  Basically the performance was awsome and a great way to end the congress.

Checking Out the Sights – WYC Day 11

16 Aug

By Monday morning all 10 of us arrived back in Istanbul from various locations around Turkey.  We were exhausted, (most of us having taken overnight buses) but glad to be back at the campus and ready to get back to work.  After a short rest in the morning it was time to see the city.  We went to the city center with all 1500 participants and spent the rest of the day checking out the sights.  We saw Aaya Sophia (the largest structure area wise in the world), the Blue Mosque, and a museum which had the staff of Moses, Mohammed’s footprint, beard, and sword.

Sent All Over Turkey – WYC Days 6-10

14 Aug

After the mad rush of workshops and exhibits, the 10 of us were divided up into different groups called “families” and were sent by bus to different cities all over Turkey for 4 days to do an action project that was intended to help Turkey in some way.  Some of the places we went to included Izmir, Bursa, and Konya, to name a few.

Each of us had incredibly different experiences and all did different work such as painting schools, planting trees, and helping out at youth camps.  We were also taken to see historical monuments and events such as the grave of Rumi, the ancient caves, and the Sufi dancers.

In the midst of all of this, some of us had the opportunity to conduct regular morning or evening meditations with our ‘families’.  This was the perfect way to end each action filled and busy day – by the end of these short days many of our group members knew how to work on themselves and others, as well as use simple meditation techniques (such as affirmations) to balance themselves during the day.

After the projects were completed, we all returned to Istanbul where we would finish out the last few days of the congress.