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About the Meditation

Meditation session led by Jon Aaron.

The guided meditation begins at 13:13

For centuries Himalayan practitioners have used meditation to quiet the mind, open the heart, calm the nervous system, and increase focus. Now Western scientists, business leaders, and the secular world have embraced meditation as a vital tool for brain health.

Whether you’re a beginner, a dabbler, or a skilled meditator seeking the company of others, join expert teachers in a forty-five-minute weekly program designed to fit into your lunch break. Each session will be inspired by a different work of art from the Rubin Museum’s collection and will include an opening talk, a twenty-minute meditation session, and a closing discussion.

Presented in partnership with Sharon Salzberg and the Interdependence Project. This program is supported in part by the Hemera Foundation.



Sacred Earthly Realms and Heavenly Paradises; Central Tibet; 17th century; Pigments on cloth;Rubin Museum of Art, Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2010.31 (HAR 210)
Sacred Earthly Realms and Heavenly Paradises; central Tibet; 17th century; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art, gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin; C2010.31 (HAR 210)


In this painting Tibet is depicted as a terrestrial paradise, much like the hidden land of Shambhala, a heavenly realm believed to be concealed on our world and the basis of the Western construct of the fabled lost land of Shangri-la. Tibet’s sacred geography is mapped out, with Mount Wutai and its distinctive five multicolored peaks to the east (bottom left) and Mount Kailash’s snowy peaks towering over nomadic scenes of the Tibetan northern plains to the west (top right).

The central imagery in this painting accords with a prophecy in which a divinely anointed ruler, known as a chakravartin and identified by a golden wheel, transforms the world into an ideal realm. Here the king sits in a palace surrounded by representatives of various races and nations who have come to make offerings at his feet. Complementing this terrestrial paradise, the top of the painting includes depictions of three bodhisattvas floating above in their own heavenly pure lands.

At the top left of the painting is a group of four animals””an elephant, monkey, hare, and partridge””known as the Four Harmonious Friends. They are characters from a parable that teaches the importance of unity, harmony, and collaboration.

About the Speaker

Jon Aaron

Jon Aaron teaches meditation, Buddhist dharma, and is a Somatic Experience Practitioner® in New York City. He is well known as a teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as a trainer of new teachers of this seminal eight-week curriculum. Among his primary interests are the use of meditation and somatic work in healing trauma and working with individuals with chronic pain and grief. Recently he has been teaching for the New York Police Department in an eight-hour intervention called Cultivating Mindfulness: expanding the capacity of mind and body to work with stress, anxiety, and trauma. He is a co-founder of the MBSR Teacher Collaborative of Greater New York and a founding member of the Global Mindfulness Collaborative, and is a long-time teacher at New York Insight Meditation Center. When the pandemic hit, along with his partner he co-founded Space2Meditate, an online community of meditators that is still going strong six days a week. Learn more about Jon Aaron on his website.