Public Displays of Meditation

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Anne Wu /

It was the om heard ’round the world. On July 28 in 108 cities–from London to Los Angeles, Hong Kong to Houston, Barcelona to Birmingham–“MedMobs” participated in large-scale demonstrations of meditation.

Playing off the flash mob concept, in which strangers organize online, arrange to meet at a specific time and place, and then perform an unexpected public act, MedMob members gather, meditate for an hour, join in a “sound bath” of chanting, then disperse. The passersby who encounter hundreds of people sitting in meditation in city parks and squares are often puzzled, but MedMob hopes they are also intrigued.

The group’s goals, as reported by the Shambhala Sun blog (July 28, 2011), are to expose the world to meditation; create an environment for people from all walks of life to meditate; come together as a global community to send positive intentions out into the world; and show that simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking.

MedMob, which began in Austin, Texas, early this year and quickly became an international movement, intends to have monthly events, so check the website ( for information on your city. If you choose to participate, you’ll be welcomed by a sea of open arms–or at least crisscrossed legs.

Have something to say? Send a letter to This article first appeared in the November-December 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

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