The English, Irish, French, Scottish and Welsh Sri Chinmoy centres generally come together four times a year for meditation, spiritual activities, to share inspiration and to have plain old fun. These 'Joy Weekends' are a godsend for more remote Centres (like Ireland) that cannot visit other Centres easily, a chance to meet over 70 other students and be reminded of the myriad ways in which every student is trying to bring spirituality into their lives. We like to think also that in bringing together students from different countries which have had a previous history of emnity, we are playing our own small part in fully healing any divisions that might still lie under the surface.
This time we all were bound for the small French village of Mont St Michel in Brittany. Five of the Dublin Centre braved two flights and a six-hour stopover in Stanstead to get there. Upon arrival we were treated to a simple but hearty dinner. In the evening there was meditation, plenty of reminiscing about a recent trip to China which many students of Sri Chinmoy had taken part in, and a wonderful photo slideshow by Sahadeva from London giving those of us who had never been to China a real flavour of the country and its people.
The next Sunday began with six o'clock morning meditation, a run for those of us who could brave the inclement conditions and a light French breakfast. We were then taken by coach to see the wonderful island fortress/monastery of Mont St Michel, connected to land by causeway and with all the drawbridges and porticullises intact. The weather had brightened up by then - some of us headed for the nearest creperie, whilst others went up to view the cavernous abbey - walking up the stone staircases, one could still feel an abiding peace and stillness from centuries of prayer and contemplation despite the incessant monologue of tourguides.
Back at our accomodation we were treated to lunch as only the French can do it. There was not much time before we all had to go our separate ways, but we managed to see a video production which the talented duo Sahadeva and Devashishu had staged in China before everyone waved goodbye and packed into their buses and cars.
The Irish stayed behind an extra day, joined by a few friends; we visited the walled city of St Malo and had a lovely morning run around the parapet. The highlight of the day - undoubtedly the two-foot high chocolate cake which was so filling it ended up being lunch and dinner combined! We entered the plane home with full stomachs and fond memories.
To see a Welsh perspective on the weekend, click here......
Check out more pictures in our gallery......