June 1st 2018 marked Chinmaya Yuva Kendra Pittsburgh’s third retreat for young adults in the last six years, guided by Vivekji of Niagara Falls, Canada. The retreat, entitled “Vedanta in…?: Finding Purpose in Everyday Life,” was designed to help young adults apply Vedantic principles in their day-to-day lives. The retreat entailed a series of workshops and Satsangs based on daily encounters in life, to help youth understand their relationship with family and friends, work and school, mental and physical health, and relationship with God. During workshops, participants engaged in activities that simulated real-life dilemmas, thought through how to handle these situations, and engaged in deep discussions about how best to bring lessons from the Shastras into their actions and thoughts. Vivekji debriefed participants on the purpose of the workshops and guided students in navigating difficult questions that arose.
Having a workshop-based retreat was a newer retreat model that most participants were not familiar with, as the usual model entails primarily discourses and Satsangs. This workshop-based model, however, was participant driven and was guided by Vivekji. As a participant put it, “[The workshops] forced everyone to think deeply about their lives, share their thoughts, and to come up with tactile improvement points specifically suited to their needs.” The workshops enabled participants to take lessons learned from the retreat and apply it to their lives after the retreat. In this way, this dynamic weekend was a great way to continue self-development and connect with the Self.