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Tibetan monks to take over Museum of Natural History this week for meditation

Make your thoughts as extinct as the dinosaurs on the fourth floor.

Twelve Tibetan monks will lead meditation sessions at the Museum of Natural History this week under the Hall of Ocean life’s giant blue whale and under the stars in the planetarium.

The enlightening exhibit – part of the museum’s ongoing show “Brain: the inside story“ – is intended to teach about Tibetan culture and highlight new research which shows the mental and physiological benefits of meditation.

But as places to find the peace and quiet necessary for meditation goes, the museum – let alone the city of New York – is far from ideal, said Khen Rinpoche, the monk leading the classes.

“It is difficult to find quiet in the museum,“ Rinpoche, the abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in India said. “You need deeper mindfulness to meditate here.“

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In that sense, although the meditation classes are open to absolute beginners, the museum poses great challenges, he said.

“You have to go deeper to get away from the distractions here – so this is a good place,“ he said.

Online registration is recommended for the free classes, which will be held before museum hours tomorrow at 8 a.m. and after closing Wednesday and Friday to provide maximum quietude.

“We’ll turn down some of the lights in here and turn off the ocean sounds,“ said Teddy Yoshikami, the museum’s manager of public programs. “We will also have a talk by one of the main researchers into recent studies of how the mind can really be changed through meditation.“

In addition to the meditation, the museum is presenting an exhibition of Tibetan Medical Paintings, which according to Rinpoche “show the physical side of Tibetan culture.“

During his session, Rinpoche will focus on “The Four Immeasurables – love, compassion, joy and equanimity.“

“The mind controls brain,“ he said. “If you learn how to control the mind, you can control the brain. And if you want to change the world, try to change your inner world instead of trying to change the outer world.“

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