More than 25,000 seekers from 138 countries and all 50 United States signed up for the Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation this year!
We asked you to relate what resonated with you from the many classes which were offered during the week, and what practical insights you might carry into your daily lives. Below we share a sampling of many of the responses we have received.
What You Had to Say About…
“Spiritually Fortifying Our Lives,” a talk by Brother Chidananda, SRF/YSS president:
“I feel it was significant to hear Brother talk about the part that spiritual people have to play in these outwardly difficult times, using our ever-increasing spirituality to make the world a better place.” — J. B.
“Renewing Our Spiritual Enthusiasm,” a talk by Brother Satyananda:
“Brother shared some very poignant stories about loss, grieving, and recovering by giving it all to God. I found it quite moving and practical, as all humans face profound loss at some point in their lives.” — T. S.
“Health and Healing: A Spiritual Perspective,” a talk by Brother Saralananda:
“I needed this the most now. I’m going through a difficult phase of mental, physical, and spiritual challenges. This was a great source of peace and healing.” — G. H.
“Walking in the Guru’s Footsteps,” a talk by Brother Govindananda:
“‘What am I avoiding?’ I thought about that question most of the evening. Lots of insight in your discourse.” — J. C.
“Is Sharing and Selflessness a Part of Your Daily Life?” a talk by Brother Bhumananda:
“I repeatedly paused and repeated so many good points I wanted to absorb. The three types of giving were very useful for learning to express purity of generosity, and “sattvic giving.” Also, your image of flipping a switch at the point between the eyebrows [spiritual eye], to move attention from the external to my inner world, is super impactful for me.” — M. B.
“Devotion: Relating to God from the Heart,” a talk by Sister Draupadi:
“I was deeply touched that Sister shared her most precious moment with us: hearing our Guru's voice saying, ‘I will help you.’ It was a great inspiration to me. Always, my Guru will help me...always!” — L. W.
“How Everyday Thoughts Can Change Our Lives,” a talk by Brother Prafullananda:
“No matter how many negative thoughts one might have, a heartfelt positive thought obliterates them.” — J. M.
Many of you also shared that you greatly benefited from participating in Convocation from the convenience and quiet of home. You expressed that having Convocation online is important, as you wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.
“Thank you for making the event online this year again. We are all fortunate to attend the event from faraway countries.” — T.
“Thank you so much for having Convocation virtually! It made it possible for me to participate!” — D. R.
“This was my first convocation, though I have watched previous videos from previous years. I completely immersed myself in it thanks to the app. Absolutely life-changing.” — L. L. L.
“The online Convocation is an incredible, renewable source of spiritual inspiration for which I am most grateful. Having the lectures recorded allows me to go back and review points the speaker made.” — J. B.
In-Person Gatherings to View Convocation Together
SRF members around the world also organized in-person gatherings to participate in Convocation together.
“I have to add that this Convocation was one of the best and most impactful for me personally. While not the same as at the hotel, it seemed more intimate and intense with our small group gathering for all the classes and meditations here in Antigua, Guatemala.” — T. H.
“For the first time in the history of the SRF Ottawa meditation circle, we hosted a livestream of an SRF World Convocation event! Our circle joined the monks’ kirtan group for an hour and a half of devotional chanting and meditation. Those who attended said that it was a beautiful and uplifting experience.” — D. C.
“We enjoyed Convocation in our meditation circle, and made a schedule (adding walks and joint lunches), so the aspects of fellowship, having a regular program, and concentrating only on Convocation and God and Guru in this week were there.” — N. E.
What’s Next for Convocation 2023?
For 2023, we look forward to introducing new ways to expand the Convocation experience, with improved opportunities for virtual fellowship and connection, as well as in-person programs.
We are considering options to do Convocation a little differently — next year and in future years — regarding the most optimal dates, venues, and formats.
Online program: The 2023 Convocation will again be presented online so that everyone around the globe can participate.
In-person program: We know that in-person experiences are important to many of you, and plans are being developed — more on this will be shared soon.
Timing: For 2023, Convocation will proceed as planned on July 30 to August 5 to honor those of you who rebooked your tickets. But for future years, we are considering holding Convocation in June to avoid the frequent late-summer heat waves in southern California (for those attending in person).
Location: We will not be holding our in-person activities at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel next year, because this would require a significant financial commitment more than a year in advance. In order to avoid the kind of situation where we had to cancel the in-person events for 2022 at the last-minute, and the related financial losses, we are exploring other venues that will offer greater flexibility in advance planning. This will allow us to determine the best format and location for the 2023 Convocation and to communicate to you in a timely way.
Based on feedback from you, we are brainstorming ideas for the future such as a hybrid of both in-person and online activities that could include (in addition to the regular program of classes and meditations in Los Angeles):
- In-person pilgrimages to Paramahansa Yogananda’s SRF ashrams.
- Livestreaming from India — such as a kirtan and a talk by a Yogoda Satsanga Society of India sannyasi.
- Organizing in-person gatherings at SRF temples, centers, and meditation groups worldwide (for those unable to travel to Los Angeles) to bring more of the power of fellowship with other devotees into the Convocation experience, and possibly sending monastics to some of the bigger SRF centers during Convocation.
- Kriya Yoga Initiation ceremony in Los Angeles for new initiates, and possibly at a few larger centers, conducted by visiting monastics.
- Livestreaming classes from multiple locations — such as our Lake Shrine, Hollywood, Glendale, Encinitas, and San Diego Temples, with live audiences in attendance.
When Will You Know?
To make sure you have the information you need to make your Convocation plans, we will confirm the dates and format early in the new year. Stay tuned for exciting developments!
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Thank you for all your efforts to unite us all in an inspiring and spiritually uplifting 2023 convocation!