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Experience at the Mindfulness in America Summit

This was my first attendance at a nationwide event related to mindfulness. Not knowing what expect, I was hoping to make some connection with like-minded people and learning more about where I am going with my mission to bring mindfulness to the people.

Leaving home before the break of dawn for two days was an exciting way to start this experience. It's been a while since I been in the city so early in the morning, I forgot how serene a usually, super busy city can be. Definitely an unforgettable moment. On the way to the NYU Skirball Center, I met two people who needed help with subway directions (one of my favorite things to do) and came across people without a home where we shared some exchanges of hello and goodbye. By the time I got to the center, it felt that the day has started for many. Making my way to the inside of the building, I was getting ready for what was to come.

During the sessions, we not only learned insights of the renowned speakers also from people around us, as we were invited to talk to our neighbors about different aspects of what was discussed. Of course, there were so many different, meaningful aspects that were brought to our attention.

Some of the highlights were how there are many different ways of how we can bring mindfulness to our days through cultivating compassion and loving-kindness for oneself and to others, to an early start in embodying a sense of interconnectedness that is already inherited within us but the focus got lost over the hundreds of years. It is necessary to connect back to humanity which could let us allow us to vulnerability and making us stronger because we know more how to serve ourselves better. And, by remembering, which means mindfulness in Pali (Sati), the different ways in our daily lives how we can transform our perspectives and habits in more useful and meaningful actions. Lastly, if we shift our focus on physical fitness to mental fitness it can provide us with more balanced well-being, as well as improving our physical fitness because we will be more diligent in following through what makes us feel good.

As day one came to an end, we soaked up so much information and energy that it was time to take a break and to reflect. The amount of knowledge shared with us was tremendous, though I felt an important part missing of connecting on a more personal level. I still had another day with different activities to look forward to, which I was excited about.

Day two was a little harder to start as I needed to catch an even earlier train than the day before. The second I drove up our driveway, the moon was right in front of me, large and full. Just a beautiful sight to begin a Sunday at 4:45am.

This day started with a group meditation at Washington Square Park, we were so lucky that the weather held up and it wasn't too cold. On my way to the meeting point, I saw a woman with a luggage looking lost, I figured she was going where I was going, who else would be wandering around at 7am looking for directions. Familiarizing ourselves we learned a lot from each other in only 20 minutes. She had a wonderful story to share of which was so adventurous and brave. We kind of had the same plan for the day so we knew we will hang around.

After the session ended, I was able to connect with a gentleman I saw a couple of times the day before but we never exchanged words. We started talking and had a great conversation going. While my friend from earlier had to take care of her luggage, we decided to meet up later again. In the meantime, the guy and I started walking to our next event at the Highline. Spending a decent amount of time to talk about our work, lives, and how mindfulness influences us. What I realized is these conversations with my new friends were based on the same understanding of what we heard in yesterday's talks of interconnectedness. It doesn't matter who you will talk to, if the base is the same, you will find common ground and these conversations will elevate you.

The walk on the Highline was calm and filled with observations, 128 people signed up not sure how many showed up. We walked north and it took me right to my next adventure of a 360 degrees dome at Frequency that provided a journey through yourself and connecting with others. It was an amazing experience, indescribable and something where everybody attending would have a different experience of the event. My friend also joined me at this event, we then walked together to the final part of the day where some speakers from the previous day held talks on a smaller scale and an expansion of what they talked about the day prior. Still informative, more intimate and enclosing.

Connections have been made, the quality of those is what matters most. We never know what to expect wherever we go. With an open mind, we will be able to discover what is relevant to us.

This day, this summit has come to an end filled with ups and downs, from insight to outside observations, to new friendships and new perceptions. I am certain that I will always remember this summit for a variety of reasons. I am certain this is just the beginning of learning and expanding in the world of mindfulness.

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