- December 21, 2019
- 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Ananda Temple 23305 Bothell Everett Hwy Bothell WA 98021
Ananda All-Day Christmas Meditation
This tradition was begun by Master during his lifetime to honor the “worship of the formless Christ.” This simple, and seemingly innocuous phrase of his, masks the profound reality towards which it hints and at the breadth that it suggests for his very life mission.
Paramhansa Yogananda called his life’s work, the “Second Coming of Christ.” Even setting aside Swami Kriyananda’s speculation (or intuition) that Yogananda was Jesus Christ, the work of Kriya Yoga was born to initiate truth seeking devotees into the direct, personal perception of God through self-effort (i.e., Kriya Yoga). This work is, as he described it, a “new dispensation” given by God at the birth of Dwapara Yuga.
But how to go deep in a day-long meditation? We are not used to such long periods and can benefit from suggestions and the experiences of others. In the formative years of Ananda when Swami Kriyananda led the Christmas meditation, he counseled us to follow the natural flow of energy (prana) in its ebb and flow, by alternating techniques with periods of silent inner communion. To this end, we have at our disposal, not only the core techniques of Hong Sau, Aum, and Kriya but the supportive techniques of prayer, affirmation, visualization, chakra exercises and pranayama is helpful.
Schedule, Reminders and Etiquette
Ananda Blue Lotus Temple, Bothell, WA
Christmas Meditation Retreat Schedule
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Please enter and Exit the Building through the lower, side doors
10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Prayer & chanting
Please Enter or Exit during the times shown below:
11:30 - 11:45 a.m. Chanting / Poem
1:00 - 1: 15 p.m. Chanting
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Chant / recorded talk
4:30 - 5:00 p.m. Musical interlude
5:50 - 6:00 p.m. Closing chant & prayers
Please do not bring food or drink (except water) into the Sanctuary!
Avoid plastics, lozenge wrappers, rustling clothes, noisy zippers, scents, opening and closing of containers;
Please meditate at home if you have a cold or flu;
You may meditate downstairs in the classroom area if you have a coughing spell.
Please do not lie down in the sanctuary; if you need a break, please go downstairs.
Turn off beepers, cell phones, and beeping watches.
Room will be kept cool. Please dress accordingly.
Open or close the doors into the sanctuary quietly.
Please do not wear fragrances (even aromatherapy) today.
Meditation Etiquette Reminders!
Please . . . .
Be Still! Keep bodily movements and sounds to a minimum.
Do not lie down. If sleepy or in need of stretching go quietly to downstairs for a break.
Enter or exit only during chanting or other activities.
Please avoid rustling sounds of nylon type coats, zippers or plastic or metal “snapping” containers
Please no food or beverages (other than clear water) in sanctuary.
Dress warmly, room will be kept cool.
Please meditate at home if you have a cold, fever, or flu.
Avoid use of fragrances and essences
A Note From Nayaswamis Hriman & Padma: Christmas: Social or Spiritual?
Never mind the materialistic part of Christmas; never mind that so many ignore its meaning and find in Christmas an opportunity merely to “eat, drink and be merry.” During the Middle Ages it was scandalous how riotously celebrated Christmas could be. No doubt that is at least one reason why certain Christian sects refused to even acknowledge Christmas. Going back much further, some writers have opined that the Winter Solstice was assigned to “Christmas” in order to eclipse the bacchanalian Roman celebration of Saturnalia.
But putting aside that too many people use Christmas as an excuse to shop or indulge in hedonistic excess, it is, after all is said and done, a celebration of the birth of an avatar: a soul who, having achieved enlightenment and liberation from all past karma in a prior life, returns to human life unburdened by any karmic compulsions beyond just one: compassion for all living Beings!
It is fitting and right that we celebrate the birth of Jesus in a social way. It is appropriate that we give gifts to others as an expression of our love, gratitude and our sense of kinship with all life. The social customs of gift giving, festive gatherings, and Christmas decorations are lovely and perfectly fine.
There is, however, a deeper part of Christmas. This aspect is more than attending a church service, though this is a step in the right direction for celebrating the birth and life of an avatar. In the 1920’s, Paramhansa Yogananda took the joy of Christmas to the next and deeper level. He established a tradition of a day of meditation. In this day of meditation, which included chanting and music, he would encourage meditators to seek inner communion with the universal, omnipresent Christ-consciousness, the “formless Christ” (as peace, joy, love), or to call upon that consciousness in the form of Jesus, praying for his presence to come into their hearts by feeling or in vision.
This coming Saturday, December 21, Ananda in Bothell, and throughout the world, will conduct the Christmas meditation retreat (sometimes called simply the “8-Hour Christmas meditation). At the Blue Lotus Temple in Bothell, all other activities will cease and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We will gather during this time for prayer, chanting, music, and silent meditation. A schedule is on our website for the breaks throughout the day. These planned breaks allow us to stand and stretch or to come for only a portion of the day. Some suggestions for the day can be found below. There are some etiquette suggestions that are intended to keep the meditation space as silent as possible and these are on the downloadable schedule.
The following day we will have the social celebration beginning with a festive pageantry Sunday Service and a potluck banquet: that’s Sunday, December 22. Christmas Eve we have our popular candlelight Festival of Light at 9 p.m.
May the Christ-light of Peace and Joy be born in you in the cradle of inner silence!
Nayaswamis Hriman and Padma
Here are some simple tips for deepening any meditation:
- Start off with concentration. The first few minutes will set the tone for the rest of your meditation.
- Practice your techniques with the deepest attention you can muster, but let that attention be relaxed.
- Concentrate deeply, but more with the feelings than with the mind.
- In longer meditations, your focus may wax and wane. Just be patient and keep trying. You will find that you go deeper over time.
- Chanting is half the battle. Focus on one chant for a long period and try to take it deep. Paramhansa Yogananda spiritualized the chants by taking them into the superconscious state. Try to do the same.
- Toward the end of each meditation try to float in a sea of joy.