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Meditation session led by Kate Johnson.

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 sitting session, and a closing discussion. Chairs will be provided.

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


Parcel-gilt silver ritual ewer; Tibet or Mongolia; 19th century; parcel-gilt silver; Rubin Museum of Art; C2011.11
Parcel-gilt silver ritual ewer; Tibet or Mongolia; 19th century; parcel-gilt silver; Rubin Museum of Art; C2011.11

Theme: Seeking Refuge

Ritual ewers, like the one shown here, are commonly found in both public and private shrine rooms. These ewers would hold ambrosia, a blessed water dyed yellow with saffron, which would be offered to visitors during special times of the year. As guests entered the shrine, some of the liquid would be poured into their hands. They would then take a small sip of the water and rub the rest on their head as a blessing. This offering welcomes guests into the refuge of the shrine, forming a karmic connection between them and deities represented by the artwork.

About the Speaker

Kate Johnson works at the intersections of spiritual practice, social action, and creativity. She has been practicing Buddhist meditation in the Western Insight/Theravada tradition since her early twenties and is empowered to teach through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She holds a BFA in dance from the Alvin Ailey School/Fordham University, and MA in performance studies from NYU.

Kate is a core faculty member of MIT’s Presencing Institute, and has trained hundreds of leaders and change-makers in using Social Presencing Theater, a mindfulness and dance improvisation methodology used to inform strategic planning and systems change in our complex world.