There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
As we start to transition from Spring to Summer, the natural world reminds us that this is a time of year to recognize the earth’s abundance. All around us there are innumerable signs of nature’s wealth, of the bounty of the gardens and fields, the richness of the long hours of sunlight that transforms small seedlings into gorgeous, nourishing plants. The farmer’s markets are overflowing with offerings, the gardens are flourishing with the blazing colors and seductive aromas of flowers and herbs. The trees have metamorphosed from bud-flecked branches into brilliant and majestic tapestries of green. Yes, nature is telling us, embrace the fullness of life!
One of the greatest gifts that a good meditation practice offers us is a capacity to see the richness in our lives. Meditation enables us to touch the fullness of our possibilities. It can provide a doorway to a way of living that allows us to see with more openness, to be more present for all that we experience. In this sense, meditation practice can help us engage with the abundance that is already inherent in our lives. So often in our routine lives we can become wrapped up in thinking about what we don’t have, what our deficiencies are, how we lack this or that, how much better things could be if we had more…and so on.
In fact, nearly all of the signals and messages that are directed at us by mainstream media, especially those from commercial advertisers, are geared towards reinforcing this sense that what we have, who we are, what we do—that none of it is enough. The messages can be relentless in their final interpretation by the psyche: I am incomplete, broken, unfulfilled, inadequate, missing out, deprived. I need more stuff, more material to make me complete.
And yet, if we pause for a few moments and pay attention to the stillness between our thought streams, we can sense that we are here, now, and there is so much in this present moment! By cultivating a practice of meditation there is this possibility of transcending the messages of inadequacy, of arriving at a place of refuge where we can make friends with our hearts and minds, wherever we are at. There is so much abundance in our lives. We are rich with experiences and feelings, memories and emotions. We are part of a universe that is so rich with energy that if we pause to pay attention, to open up our awareness, we can begin to really feel the transcendent quality of just being fully awake.
And here in New York City, meditation practice has a quality of abundance and accessibility like no other. The following list of free and by-donation meditation classes and sessions is by no means complete. However, it offers an opening into our wonderfully diverse world of practices and traditions that is the garden of abundance right in front of us if we just awaken to the invitation.
- Three Jewels [free]
Morning meditations from 8 to 9am, and “lunchbreak” meditations from 1:30-2:00pm every weekday. Lovely teachers.
Friday evening meditations and dharma teaching with Ven. Puntsok at 7pm. He’s beautiful and his instruction about meditation is wonderful.
And Monday evenings with Joe Mauricio from 8-10pm there is an exciting group that combines meditation and the emotional life in a workshop format called “Dharma Junkies.” Joe is a Senior teacher in the Shambhala lineage (see info about their center below). Other special meditation classes from time to time. If you’re interested, you can sign up on the mailing list. Great workshops there.
61 4th Ave, between 9th and 10th street, 3rd floor
- Tibet House [suggested donation but no one turned away]
Offers an intro to meditation class every Tuesday, from 7 to 9pm. (This is suspended for the Summer season, but should resume in the Fall.)
Great space and they host wonderful teachers. Sharon Salzberg, who teaches some of the classes, is well-known and revered. There are many good things to say about Joe Loizzo, the co-founder of The Nalanda Institute, who also teaches sometimes.
22 West 15th Street, between 5th and 6th Ave.
For more information about Joe Loizzo and the wonderful organization he started that blends Buddhism with psychotherapy as a healing modality, see more info about the organization here: http://www.nalandascience.org/index.html
- Dharma Yoga Center [not sure of prices–most likely relatively minimal]
Instruction from a realized and much revered master, Dharma Mittra.
Monday, 8-9pm, Maha pranayama and meditation [learn the connection between breath and meditation]
Tuesday, 8-9pm, Yoga nidra healing relaxation [learn to deeply relax and restore the body]
Wednesday, 10:30-11:45, Maha pranayama and meditation
Wednesday, 8-9pm, Psychic development techniques [learn how to concentrate and put power to thoughts]
Friday, 5:30-6:30pm, Psychic development techniques
Sat, 12-1:15pm, Yoga nidra healing relaxation
61 West 23rd St., between 5th and 6th Ave.
- Interdependence Project [suggested donation but no one turned away]
Sundays, 3 to 4:15pm
Mondays and Wednesdays, 7 to 9pm
The Interdependence Project offers beginner meditations, as well as open sits that are not guided. The center is founded by Ethan Nichtern who is quite well known in the meditation and Buddhist communities. Check the calendar to see when the meditations are. Intro classes are generally on Sundays in the afternoon. Mondays and Wednesdays have dharma classes that also include meditations.
The Interdependence Project shares space in Lila Yoga, Dharma & Wellness 302 Bowery #2 (between Bleecker & Houston)
- Dharma Punx [free or donation-based]
At Lila Wellness (schedule on the left side as you scroll down)
Tuesday and Thursdays, 7 to 9pm
This is also at Lila. As you might guess, this group has a bit more of an edge.
Lila Yoga, Dharma & Wellness 302 Bowery #2 (between Bleecker & Houston)
- Integral Yoga Institute [free]
Nice energy here–teachers with a lot of experience.
Meditation Monday thru Saturday, 12:15pm–make sure to get there at least 5 mins before the start.
Monday thru Thursday, 6pm.
No meditation on Sunday.
227 West 13th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues
- Kula Yoga [$10 suggested donation; no one turned away]
Tuesday, 8:15 to 8:45am
Wednesday, 7 to 7:30pm
Thursday, 8:15 to 8:45am
Sunday, 5:15 to 5:45pm
Never been there but know one of the teachers, Brook, who is very sweet.
28 Warren Street, 4th floor, between Church and Broadway [Tribeca]
- Shambhala Meditation Center [free open sits and suggested donation classes]
They have weekly meditations and series-info for all of the different ongoing classes is on the home page on the side and there are some upcoming classes. Public sittings available for everyone, and they recommend you start with a “Learn to Meditate” class.
118 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor, between 6th and 7th Ave.
- Jivamukti [not sure if this is free–most likely is]
(meditation schedule isn’t on that schedule, but they do have the classes)
morning meditation from 8 to 9am every weekday
841 Broadway, 2nd Floor, between 13th and 14th Streets
- Insight Meditation Center [donation-based]
Tuesday, 7 to 9pm
Thursday, 7 to 9pm
This midtown center is an affiliate of the original Insight center in Massachusetts. It’s a popular meditation style. They offer a variety of workshops and classes for beginners and seasoned practitioners. Sharon Salzberg, who is one of the founders of this group, is a revered meditation teacher. You can take classes with her on the Tuesdays when she teaches at Tibet House (info listed above), tibethouse.us.
28 West 27th Street, 10th floor, between Broadway and 6th
- Zen Center of New York City [in Brooklyn; suggested donation]
Tuesday, 6:30 to 8pm
Saturday, 6:30 to 8pm
Sunday, 9:30am to 12:30pm
This is a particular style of Zen meditation–I’ve only been there once–not especially familiar with Zen or Zazen meditation.
500 State Street, Brooklyn, between Nevins and 3rd Ave
- The Zen Studies Institute of New York — Zendo Shobo-Ji
223 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10065
(212) 861-3333 | Fax (212) 628-6968
They have some classes, as well as scheduled group silent meditation and various different retreats at a beautiful temple in the Catskills.
- Brooklyn Zen Center [suggested donation]
I’ve been to this space before, and it’s nice. Good energy. Not that familiar with the Zen practice but I believe it focuses on quieting the mind. They recommend that the first time you go to the Saturday morning 9am class for initial instruction.
505 Carroll Street, Suite 2A, between 3rd and 4th Ave. [need to buzz to get into building]
I might also recommend two classes at The Breathing Project. One is called Yoga for Mental Wellness and the other is called Pathways to Wellness. Pathways to Wellness is an extremely gentle yoga class suitable for anyone whatsoever, and it’s geared toward balancing the energy of the body and mind in order to feel more healthy and calm. I went here once, and I found it very meaningful. I’ve never been to Yoga for Mental Wellness, but I imagine it’s quite good. If you want to go to that, you have to contact the instructor for the first class–see the info on the web page below.
- Yoga for Mental Wellness and Pathways to Wellness at The Breathing Project [suggested donation]
Pathways to Wellness
Thursdays 1:30-3:00pm, Fridays 6:30-8:00pm
Yoga for Mental Wellness
Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10:30-11:45am
15 W. 26th Street, 10th floor, between Broadway and 6th Ave
- Kadampa Meditation Center
127 W 24th Street (btw 6th and 7th Ave Street Level)
They have lots of different classes, some cost a bit more than others. They have a free class called Wishfulfilling Jewel on a varying schedule. Check the website for times.
- Siddha Yoga Center (free on Tuesday)
230 W 29th Street (btw 7th and 8th Ave) .
They have a great Tues night meditation and chanting that is very welcoming and free. Beautiful Sanskrit chanting with kirtan. They also usually have food offered after the meditation. Tues evenings 7-9 pm, a casual intro, optional for first time participants, starts at 6:45 pm.
April 28th 2015, written by Gabriel Woodhouse for bodono.
Gabriel Woodhouse is one of the teachers at Three Jewels which offers free meditation classes every weekday morning at 8:00 am and 1:30 pm and on Friday evenings at 7:00 pm. Three Jewels functions as a Meditation, Yoga, Dharma, and Outreach Center for the community. More info at: threejewels.org