1658Perth Joy Weekend
- Nov 3, 2003As you all know, Sri Chinmoy likes his students in each country to get
together and enjoy what he has dubbed "Joy Weekends".
I had the good fortune to visit Perth last weekend, for the first joy
weekend to be held in that part of the country for quite a while.
It was my first ever visit to Western Australia, the state of which
Perth is the capital. The largest state in Australia, comprising a
good third of the country, WA is nothing if not expansive. It contains
not one, not two, but several deserts, most of which are larger than a
good many countries. And off the coast, I was told, is a reef that is
second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef. Forget Texas. We're
talking about a real state here!
Well, I didn't actually get to see any deserts, or reefs, for that
matter. As I was driving to Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney on
Friday morning, it seemed as if I wouldn't get to see anything of
Western Australia at all. I had a 7.05am flight, and discovered that
at six in the morning, Sydney roads can be quite congested. As Mark J,
who had kindly consented to drive me from Canberra, attempted to
negotiate the hostile traffic, I contemplated the likely prospect of
spending the weekend in Sydney. But, owing to some divine miracle, we
got to the airport at 6.50am, and I just made the check-in. I wouldn't
recommend cutting it any finer than that.
I snoozed for most of the five-hour flight, and was met at Perth
airport by the illustrious Maleenendra, the Songbird of the West Coast
(true to form, he was talking on his mobile phone). He took me for a
scenic drive through the lovely city of Perth, finally arriving at the
Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre. Prabuddha, the centre leader, was there to
greet me. Soon we went running together. 24 minutes later we found
ourselves at the beach. A path led through the knobby dunes of sand,
and we rounded the last mound to see the glorious Indian Ocean
stretching away before us, to infinity. The inviting pale green water
near the shore quickly turned deep, deep blue as it reached out to
meet the cerulean sky. Noone else was in sight as we stood on that
seemingly endless white beach. God's beauty had blessed this place
deeply. And you know what? This part of the beach was reserved for
dogs! But there were no canine companions around to protest our
presence, so we had a quick dip. It was a bit nippy, but as always,
it's alright once you're in.
I had a nap in the afternoon, then in the evening we had a meditation.
The other centre members, not yet mentioned, turned up: Kell, Judy,
Nina and Cath. Stuart arrived a little later; he had been working in
Sydney, and flew back for the weekend. The other visitors, Sushmitam
and Sipra were there too. Karina and Jack (Karina's two year old son)
arrived a little later. If any Germans are reading this, I would like
to admit at this point that yes, this was a rather small Joy weekend,
especially by German standards. But I implore you to transcend your
sense of Teutonic superiority just for a little while, for whilst all
can appreciate the imposing splendour of the colossus known as the
German Joy Weekend, there is much to admire also in the
cottage-simplicity-purity-heart of the Perth Joy Weekend.
Next morning, another meditation, then a two-mile race around
Jackadder Lake. Kell took line honours in 11:20, seconds ahead of
Prabuddha. And as for my time, I'd rather not say, but it was my
fastest time since before I did the 3100 mile race. And if Maleenendra
thinks he could have beaten me, (he sat the race out due to injuries,)
well, all I can say is that the Canberra Joy Weekend is less than 3
weeks away, so dust off those running shoes!
Then we headed up to a camp just outside of the city. We had a
meditation, had lunch, then decided to explore the joys of canoeing.
Maleenendra and I jumped in a canoe, but we hadn't gone more than a
few metres before we had capsized! That wasn't the last time either,
but Stuart and Prabuddha are to blame for the subsequent drenchings.
After that, Stuart and Maleenendra explored the diving board, and it
didn't take them too long to discover that it was the perfect spot for
a bit of wrestling. They invented a new form, where the opponents
stand toe-to-toe at the end of the board, and have to try to push each
other into the water without using their hands. It was a bit like sumo
in that most bouts were won in the first two seconds.
Then we had a singing practise, with Maleenendra on harmonium, Stuart
on tablas, myself on guitar, and Prabuddha on rice-shaker. Kell joined
in the singing. Jack turned up to show us his beautiful new drawing
book and felt-tip pens.
That night we had a meditation. Sushmitam led the girl's singing
group, but it was Jack who stole the show. The boys performed, then
the girls did a play. The boys' play was removed from the schedule
owing to the small number of rehearsals we had had (zero.)
Next day, more meditation, and then a run up to the dam. And back. Saw
some kangaroos, but not the big red type that like the taste of human
flesh (or so I'm told...) More wrestling, then pack up and off to
King's Park, one of Perth's nicest spots, with sweeping views of the
Swan river, as it becomes an estuary, and the jet skiiers do their
best to churn it up into a contiguous mass of white foam.
Then off to the beach for a beach barbecue. We gobbled down veggie
burgers whilst some local tough guys seemed to doing their best to
make their footy land in our salad bowl. That night, meditation at the
centre, then everyone said goodbye. I made a lovely photo gallery of
the weekend, and if anyone can suggest a place where it can be posted,
then you, dear reader, will also be able to treasure these glorious
images of joy, joy, joy from the very edge of Western civilization!