Kelly Johnson traveled to the United Nations as part of a URI North America-sponsored program for young adult interfaith leaders. This trip occurred during World Interfaith Harmony Week. Kelly works at the Rothko Chapel, a sacred space and work of art by painter Mark Rothko. Rothko Chapel is a Cooperation Circle member of the United Religions Initiative.
Before I left Houston for NYC, the Rothko Chapel offered a Bon-Buddhist meditation focused on the importance of community support, in response to recent local and national events that have engendered division, hate, and fear across the country. The Chapel, located in a city as diverse as the UN itself, hosts meditation leaders from different spiritual and faith traditions each month, but this gathering was particularly special.
Upon closing, the 90 seated meditators were prompted to emerge from their individual, inner practices to stand and join hands in a circle. Participants were asked greet and embrace their neighbors, extending their peaceful practice outward—reaffirming what affects one affects all, and that we can only move forward if we do so together. Integral to this harmonious atmosphere, Rothko’s sobering purple-ish paintings served as stoic witness, mirroring the moment of unity.
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