Youth Camp in Portugal

Date : 19 May 2024

Gratitude, Guru and Giving were the focus of the recent Youth Camp in Portugal. Set in the picturesque landscapes of Lisbon, the camp’s theme centred around the significance of having a Guru in one’s life. The journey started with the question; “Why do you get out of bed every morning?” Followed with the unpacking of what happiness means; differentiating between materialistic happiness and spiritual happiness. Then finally, meandering onto the idea of knowing oneself and having a Guru to act as the boat which carries you across this Samsara.

Fun, fire (bonfire!) and fantastic conversations filled the three days, with morning silent nature walks, gratitude games, discussion sessions and talks by Brahmacharini Shripriya Chaitanya (Chinmaya Mission UK) on the qualities of a Guru. In the evenings the group all huddled around the crackling fire filling the night time sky with soulful bhajans, and the game Charades based around the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The warmth and sparks of the fire fed into the hearts of those present, lighting a lamp within, leaving everyone feeling peaceful and re-energised, hungry for knowledge.

Compassion, churning and character; the camp provided a serene environment, creating a space for reflection and learning. The group churned out ideas of how to cultivate a compassionate character which allows one to have an abundance of love and an infinite amount of indiscriminate compassion that ultimately shines through to everyone around. The group discussed how through Seva we can cultivate this character and continuously contribute to nature, society and the world without seeking return. Finally, this unlimited love and compassion can be seen in our Gurus and this is what we seek to embody.

As the campers left, they took away with them beautiful memories, new friendships and the sparks of determination to contribute more to society after being inspired by stories about Swami Chinmayananda. Campers were left with a profound understanding of the indispensable role a Satguru plays in one’s life and a deep gratitude for the knowledge they hold. Leaving Lisbon with a backpack full of thoughts, they carried with them the idea that a compassionate act can be in the smallest of actions.