We began learning about Hinduism by taking part in an exercise. We placed our chairs in a tight circle and attempted to transmit positive thoughts and feelings to our peers sitting around us. This exercise was meant to demonstrate the notion of karma, as we tried to affect the circle with a wave of positive energy. While some of us had heard of the term karma before this course, we began to further understand the word as a philosophy rather than an idea. After this exercise we began learning about Hinduism by reading Hindu texts. We challenged ourselves by reading a part of The Ramayana, an important Hindu epic that depicts the duties of humans.
The class was lucky enough to have the chance to travel to a traditional Hindu temple. We were able to choose the extent to which we participated while at the temple. Some of us entered, while others stayed in the lobby or outside. I appreciated the opportunity to make my own decision about my actions while at the temple.
The discussion that followed our trip to the temple was personal and at times heated. Some of my classmates admitted to feeling uncomfortable with their peers who decided to enter the temple. Others felt that the experience was mind opening and worthwhile.
We also began to learn about Christianity this week. We focused on the ideology of the religion and its traditions. We traveled to Boston’s Old South Church, where we talked freely about the connections between God and Jesus until the service began.
I enjoyed the service. Jazz flowed and prayers were voiced. It was a relaxed and welcoming event. From Old South Church, we headed through Boston to Beacon Hill’s Friend House, a Quaker meeting place. The Quakers were kind, content people, who spent time explaining a religion
commonly misunderstood. Quakerism is a religion based around one’s own personal connection with God. It was an incredible
experience, and an incredible week.
James Conlon, Basking Ridge, NJ, Genesis 2011 participant