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Meditation session led by Jon Aaron.

The guided meditation begins at 11:14

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.




Six-armed Mahakala Mongolia; 18th century; gilt copper alloy with semi-precious stones; Rubin Museum of Art; C2006.70.1a-f (HAR 65729)


Mahakala, the Swift Acting Lord of Pristine Awareness, is an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Mahakala appears in many forms, depending on the school of Tibetan Buddhism.

This six-armed form of Mahakala in this dynamic pose is one of the principal protectors of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, to which most Mongolians have adhered since the late 16th century. Mahakala has been a special object of veneration in Mongolia since the 13th century, when he served as the state protector of the Mongolian Empire.

One of Mahakala’s primary roles is to overcome obstacles to reaching enlightenment. This is visually manifested in this sculpture by his defeating the elephant-headed god, who represents wealth in Tibetan Buddhism. Wealth if not used properly can be one of the biggest obstacles in reaching enlightenment.

This sculpture was masterfully executed. The Lord of Pristine Awareness has six arms and a body dark blue in color. The first two hold a curved knife and skullcup, the middle two a human skull mala and trident, the lowest two a damaru drum and lasso. Adorned with a tiger skin, garland of heads, bones and snakes, and small bells on the hands and feet. He has three eyes, bared fangs, and hair flowing upward with Akshobhya as a crown, and is anointed with a sindhura drop on the forehead. Mahakala is supported behind by a sandalwood tree, dwelling in the middle of a blazing mass of fire. These details underscore the artist’s ingenuity.



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.