On May 27th-30th, CHYK SJ organized the “Disconnect to Connect” CHYK Retreat for CHYKs ages 17-35. Although the retreat was originally planned to be in Krishnalaya, the 15-person CHYK volunteer team and CMSJ sevaks quickly adapted to adjust the retreat schedule and activities to be at the CMSJ ashram when the location was changed due to COVID safety concerns.
The joyous energy in the ashram was wonderful to see, with a total of 50 CHYKs participating in the retreat. Retreat attendees listened to discourses by Br. Sohamji on devotional techniques for a beautiful mind from Bhagavad Gita Ch. 12. They then met in age-based discussion groups to reflect on the discourses. Each discussion group was also given a bhakta lakshana to reflect on throughout the retreat. These were: Santushta, Shanta, Akinchana, Amani, Nirmamaha, Karuna, and Gambhira. There was active participation in the discussion groups and many attendees enjoyed connecting with new peers.
The retreat also had activities to complement the discourses. Each morning, Sohamji conducted guided meditation before the discourse. Afternoon workshops included an “Antaryami” workshop to practice listening to our inner voice of Bhagavan, and “Bhakti Charades” to act out and reflect on devotional scenes from the Puranas.
To align with the theme of disconnecting to connect with divinity, the retreat included outdoor activities in nature. On Friday, some CHYKs met for an optional hike, bhajans, and informal satsang with Sohamji in Sanborn County Park. On Saturday, the workshop and sports took place at Mt. Pleasant Park, and on Sunday, all attendees went for a hike and Q&A with Sohamji at Alum Rock Park.
One of the retreat highlights was the evening activities, including bhajan sessions, Improv, and Open Mic. Open Mic was an opportunity for CHYKs to share what inspires them in their own unique way – singing, dancing, chanting, playing musical instruments and more. The energy in the ashram was very vibrant and attendees participated enthusiastically in each evening activity.
Our deepest gratitude to our CMSJ sevaks and sevikas who helped in the kitchen to provide nutritious and delicious meals throughout the retreat. Attendees were also assigned seva teams to get the chance to help with serving, cleaning, and serving Sohamji bhiksha at meals.
All attendees left with a deeper understanding of Bhagavan’s presence, guidance for japa and meditation to strengthen their connection with Bhagavan, and inspiring points on recognizing divinity in our transactional world.
Memorial Day CHYK Retreat Team
“I loved the workshops that were selected for this retreat. It was a great way to reflect upon the discourse as well as connect with other CHYKs.”
“What did I not enjoy! Everything was so thoughtful and intricately connected. If I have to pick one favorite, the discourses with Soham-ji were so insightful and gave me a new perspective!”
“I genuinely enjoyed every part of the retreat. My favorite parts were the group discussions, ego erasers and nature walk.”