Citta Bhavana, which in Sanskrit means "cultivating heart/mind," is a peaceful ashram for meditation, yoga, discussion, philosophy, spirituality, music and art. It also showcases teachings from Asia (India, Japan, China, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism) and Africa. It was originally opened in 2014 with the help of Sunshine Szavanna, Rhiannon Dragoone, and Swami Luminos.
“We wanted a place where anybody can come together to talk and get to know each other’s philosophies,” says Aristotelous. “People want to be able to learn from everybody - bridging heart and mind. We tend to meditate when we think we need to - but really we should be meditating every day.”
Participants come from all over the world and from various different beliefs and backgrounds, but share a common desire: to connect in a respectful and open-hearted manner.
The venue offers guided meditations and instruction, yoga sessions, philosophy and science discussions, dances and live music, and poetry and storytelling events.
These unifying and calming social experiences are more important now than ever during these difficult times, says Aristotelous.
“People are all of the sudden isolated, like a lot of chronically-ill people have been for their whole lives,” she adds. “It’s kind of an awakening in a way for a lot of the general population.”
According to Aristotelous, the main focus of the venue is to make discussions and events accessible for people with all forms and abilities.
“Second Life offers accessibility. It also offers a community. In Second Life, you can be as embodied in it as you choose to be,” she adds. “The people who find video games to be a separation from themselves can control their avatars in ways that they definitely can’t elsewhere and that adds a level of embodiment to it that is unique.”
Production: Draxtor Despres