A Massive Meditation Happening For Millennials

The Big Quiet, a modern meditation event, is the spiritual descendent of the gatherings of the Woodstock era. New York millennials have begun flocking to it and on December 12, The United Palace in Washington Heights will host the 21-Century Happening.

The fifth Big Quiet begins with a Bazaar - food, beverages socializing and simple meditation lessons for newbies. The socializing is followed by a mass meditation accompanied by a sound experience.

“Sara Auster is our friend and a big sound leader in New York,” says Lauren Bille, one of the

organizers. “We realize that the soundscape in the background allows people to go deeper; it takes them to another level. And as it [this technique] grows in the city, we’ve gotten to learn so much more about sound healing.”

There are also live musicians, including a choir, woodwinds and a drum ensemble, as well as DJs to take participants into a meditative state.

“We’re finding that people are lost, and hungry for deep connection,” Lauren says. “They’re seeking to be more connected to themselves and others, at a time when it’s hard to get that naturally because of the way things have changed, and with technology being such a huge part of our lives. I think that connection is something we’re creating – we’re making meditation accessible to the new generation.”

She explains that the Big Quiet stems from creator Jesse Israel's deep belief in the power of community, and its importance in his own life. He’d left the indie label he'd co-founded, Cantora. Meditation helped him get clear that it was time to move on,” she says. He also has a bike club called the Cyclones, which stops after October due to the weather. "He was looking for another way to get people together.”

Israel started simply by bringing a bunch of friends to a loft in Soho. “They would meditate and talk about what was going on with their lives." As it grew he turned it into the Medi Club which is a smaller, once a month version of BQ.

Lauren discovered meditation as a teenager. “I got sober in AA and meditation is a part of that,” she says. “I picked it up when I was 17 as a tool for staying sober and managing my emotions. It’s grown and changed, and now it’s totally my own thing…I breathe and focus on my heart.”

Jesse describes himself as a normal guy who stays out late, parties, uses emojis, skateboards and meditates twice a day – every day.

“I’d been meditating for a really long time, and it was exciting to see this young, cool hip guy, who worked in the music business, also lead this special life,” Lauren says. “It made me feel like I could be both too – meditation didn’t have to be this secret thing I did that people thought was weird!”

The interest in Medi Club led them try a big event. At a cruise ship Big Quiet in September, they had to turn away hundreds due to the boat’s 700-person capacity. And at a second Central Park event this last July, over 2000 people came.

The tremendous response proved that people crave the chance to come together. “There’s so much stuff going on with each of us, and when we talk about it, we realize that we’re really not alone,” says Lauren. “There’s something really empowering about that. We have each other.”

Tickets for The Big Quiet are $30 and can be purchased by clicking here. Thanks to BQ’s partnership with Leesa Sleep, a large portion of the door will be donated to nonprofits helping underserved local communities.

--Jim Catapano

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