My Experience with Mass Meditation: The Big Quiet

This past October I was lucky enough to win tickets to an absolutely phenomenal event; a group meditation called The Big Quiet (TBQ, for short).

The event took place in the Boston Public Library’s Bates Hall, a gorgeous feat of architecture with gorgeous acoustics.  In essence, TBQ is a 2-ish hour event comprised of breathwork, vocal exercises, guided meditation, and awe-inspiring performances from local artists.  

At 7:00pm hundreds of us stood smushed in the old entrance to the Boston Public Library.  It was a gloomy and rainy afternoon but the anticipation buzzed as we waited for doors to open.  Soon enough, we filed into the library, up the grandiose stone staircase and around into the Bates Hall.  Oh, and I made sure to grab a free bottle of kombucha on the way in, too.

On every single chair sat a plump little meditation pillow, a gift to everyone from Tuft & Needle.  A few minutes passed as everyone settled in, shifted around, made small talk, and waited for a guiding voice to begin.  Soon Jesse Israel (@jesseisrael), leader and founder of TBQ, introduced himself and gave us a bit of background behind his traveling mass meditation group.  He set the tone for the evening as a way to break from our typical routines and experience mass meditation in a magical, judgment-free zone.

from my Instagram

Jackie Cantwell (@itsjackiecantwell) lead us with some breathwork to begin before she began playing a set of crystal sound bowls.  Between the guided meditation and reverberations from crystal bowls, it was an extremely special experience.  We were encouraged to quiet our minds, focus on our breathing, and face any thoughts that drifted through our consciousness as our eyes were closed.

At one point we went into a set of vocal toning exercises, hundreds of voices joining together in harmonious ‘ooooo’s, ‘aaaah’s, and ‘ohmmm’s.  At first, it felt silly, and then it actually felt incredibly powerful.  

I think the coolest part of the experience was knowing that everyone in the room had made the decision to take two hours out of their night to meditate.  There truly was no judgment and no pressure.

After our meditation, we were invited to open our eyes once again and listen to performances from local musicians such as Hoax and Ruby Rose Fox.

When I left the event I felt energized, despite it being after 9 at night.  I felt reconnected to my mind and remembered the importance of taking time to slow down your thoughts and just breathe.  Setting aside a few minutes to even practice mindfulness exercises is so crucial, and on the days where I wake up and take two minutes to breathe and set intentions, I notice a huge difference in my emotions and mental capacity to control my reality.

If you ever have the chance to experience TBQ, I highly suggest it! Even if you’re new to meditation, it’ll be an incredible two hours.

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