Many SRF temples, centers, and groups now offer programs for teens, ages 13 to 19, in addition to Sunday School. Usually these groups meet on Sunday mornings while the service for adults is taking place.
The primary purpose of the teen programs is study and practice of the Self-Realization Fellowship teachings. Meetings include group instruction and practice of the Energization Exercises and meditation. Other spiritual activities such as kirtan (devotional chanting), the practice of affirmations, introspection, and observance of commemoration days for the SRF Gurus also take place (programs at each location may vary).
Discussion periods offer teens an opportunity to reflect on how Paramahansa Yogananda’s How-to-Live principles apply to their daily lives. Often they are able to share with each other how the practice of these teachings assists them in meeting the challenges of being a teenager in today’s world. At this important time in their lives, teens can greatly benefit from developing friendships and spending time with peers who are striving to live Paramahansaji’s teachings, meditating, and seeking God’s direction in their lives. As Paramahansa Yogananda said, “When souls seek progress together in God, then divine friendship flowers. If the qualities of the heart are spiritualized and perfected with sincere friends, and that circle of love is expanded until it is all-inclusive, then one finds the Friend of all friends.”
In addition to regular meetings, teen programs also include fellowship events, service opportunities (including assisting with younger children in Sunday School), and satsangas (informal talks) with a minister. Periodically, special retreats and pilgrimages for teens are conducted at SRF temples and ashram centers.
Self-Realization Fellowship How-to-Live Youth Programs
Fellowship will be conducting two one-day retreat programs this fall for teens,
ages 13 to 18 years. Both retreats will be led by SRF monastics, who will provide
guidance on how to strengthen one’s connection to the spiritual life and how to
apply the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda to become a true success in the
world. During each full-day retreat, participants will be given instruction in the
SRF Energization Exercises and meditation, and have their questions answered
during satsangas (informal talks) led by the monastics.
Girls Teen Retreat at SRF Lake Shrine
girls’ teen retreat will be held at SRF Lake Shrine, in Pacific Palisades (see dates below). The teens will have the opportunity to
meditate in the historic houseboat that Paramahansaji used for meditation and divine communion
during the time he was supervising the Lake Shrine’s construction, and will be given a
special tour of the Windmill Chapel. There will also be a satsanga
and the opportunity to visit the many
special places around the lake, including the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace
Memorial, the Court of Religions, and the Sunken Gardens, while enjoying Lake
Shrine’s beauty and serenity—experiencing why it is a spiritual oasis for all
who seek refuge from the frenetic pace of the world. The teens will also visit Lake
Shrine’s museum, which includes several of Yoganandaji’s personal items and
provides a glimpse of the history of SRF. In addition, the program includes
lunch and recreation, providing for spiritual fellowship with other SRF teens.
Boys Teen Retreat at Encinitas
boys’ teen retreat will be held at the SRF Encinitas Retreat, Hermitage, and
Meditation Gardens (see dates below). The program will
include an introduction and visit to the Hermitage, where Paramahansaji wrote
his Autobiography of a Yogi, gave
informal classes, and received guests; periods of meditation and a satsanga in the Retreat Chapel; and a
tour of the Encinitas Meditation Gardens, where the Guru strolled and meditated,
fed the fish in the koi ponds, enjoyed the great expanse of ocean and sky, and
built the Golden Lotus Temple, always communing with God. As they take in the
sacred places where Paramahansaji lived, the teens will be told stories about his
life at the Hermitage. Lunch will be provided, followed by recreation, allowing
participants an opportunity to develop friendships with other SRF teens.
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