The New York subway used to be my meditation room. Somehow, the noise in the background of the subway served to drown out the noise in the background of my mind and made it much easier to concentrate.

When I was in grad school, as I rode from Greenwich Village to Columbia University, I could get in a good thirty minute meditation session with one quick break to change trains at 59th Street.

But my favorite meditation story from New York is this one:

There used to be a store called "The Warlock Shop" on W. 16th Street. As the name suggests, it was about paganism and witchcraft. This was in the days before that stuff got to be New Agey and hip.

It was also one of the least pleasant places I had visited in New York.

I’d heard about it from a friend who was studying mythology at Harvard. One day, he asked me, "Hey, want to take a field trip to one of the freakiest and most unpleasant shops you've ever seen?"

But my favorite part of this story is that five stories above The Warlock Shop, at the top of the building, was a Tibetan meditation center.

So as everyone on the main floor was learning about casting spells and buying pentagrams, the people upstairs were practicing meditation and sitting on their meditation cushions in front of Tibetan masters. It was an odd kind of spiritual retreat center in the midst of Manhattan.

I really loved that they were both in the same building. It was kind of like the opposite ends of a pendulum swinging in a balancing act, sort of as if one depended on the other. That wasn’t actually the case, however. The Warlock Shop is no longer there, but there is still a Tibetan meditation center on the upper floor of that building.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Sashen began meditation when he was eight years old, was one of the first biofeedback pioneers, and researched cognition and perception at Duke University. In addition to a successful career as an entrepreneur and entertainer, Steven has taught transformational techniques around the world and developed the Instant Advanced Meditation Course, which Dr. Gay Hendricks calls, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner-peace."

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