On September 11th, four and a half thousand people converged on Amaroo, A.K.A. Ivory’s Rock Convention Centre. For some, it was a chance to catch up with old friends and acquaintances, or to leave their jobs and businesses behind for a while, to breathe fresh air, and relax in comfort in a beautiful, natural setting far from the hassle of city life and carping political point scorers. Primarily we were there for the best of times, to see and hear Prem Rawat.
This point is where I struggle to find words. A week with this man goes way beyond inspiration. He embraces the core of what it means to be human in a way that is kind, often funny, and utterly transforming. I went there full of accumulated shit. I left there a human being, deeply grateful to be alive.
We had a small contingent of hired security guards to keep out potential trouble makers. Perhaps because they are trained to be observant, they picked up on it. By the end of the week they were relaxed, happy, with eyes shining. One young bloke said to me, “This is the best job I’ve ever had.”
Amphitheatre seating was computer generated to give a different seat each day so that everyone got a seat relatively close to the front on at least one out of five days. On Thursday afternoon as I walked past a gentleman who was reclining against the grass verge at the back, I commented, “That’s a great beard you’ve got there, mate!” We struck up a conversation, and he asked me if I had a good seat that day. “No, not really,” I replied, although any seat in that place is a good seat in my opinion. Its just that some are better than others. “Well, take my seat,” he said, explaining that he had a bad back and couldn’t sit in a chair for two hours again that day. Tony, if you ever get to read this, Thank You! On Monday I scored a seat very close to the front and directly in front of Prem. Tony’s seat was not so close, but nearly as good. Greetings also to Meagan, the very talented young lady who sat next to me with her sketch pad. “I thank you from the heart of my bottom,” said with a Hindi accent. I think she will remember.
Prem’s eldest daughter was the MC on day one. Before introducing her dad, she asked everyone not to post any of the event on social media. Someone ignored her and posted some of the first day on ‘faceless’ book. Out of respect I won’t be posting anything about the events here, but I will email a couple of people privately.
I can happily report that the Peace Education Program has been – and continues to be – a huge success internationally. Although in it’s infancy, the Kofubon book project has been highly acclaimed and equally successful, and the Peace Education Program With Keys will be released soon. On December 10th a new app will be released. This thing does everything except make your morning coffee. If it had arms and legs it could even manage that.
A pictorial cruise around the pavilion will give readers a bit of the flavour of Amaroo outside the morning and afternoon event times. Shopping centres would be a lot less expensive to establish if they were set up this way.