“It was three lines from a Rumi poem that inspired the birth of A Winter Feast for the Soul four years ago,” writes Winter Feast Director Karon Korp in an e-mail. Those three lines are: “What nine months does for the embryo, 40 early mornings will do for your growing awareness.”
During Winter Feast for the Soul, a 40-day period that began on January 15 and ends on February 23, individuals are invited to “focus on stillness” and “discover a new landscape of inner peace” though silent meditation, as described in a press release. This interfaith event strives to rally people of different religious/spiritual practices to unite through prayer, focusing their thoughts on peace and compassion for all beings. Launched four years ago in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Feast has quickly grown into an international initiative, with events held in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe. The spiritual project is now based in Asheville, a move that occurred when Korp became the director in April of 2010.
As stated on http://www.winterfeastforthesoul.com, the mission of the Feast “is to support individuals around the world in making a commitment to daily spiritual practice. A life grounded in daily practice is one that knows inner peace. It is that peace which will translate into peace throughout our lives and ultimately, to peace and healing for our planet.” For those new to meditation, http://www.winterfeastforthesoul.com offers guided meditations throughout the 40-day practice. According to Korp, 20,000 people in 30 countries participated in the Feast in 2010, and the event has been endorsed by both the Dalai Lama and by alternative healer Deepak Chopra.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, the last day of this global peace initiative, the Center for Spiritual Living in Asheville invites the community to a celebratory closing event called An Evening with Rumi. Since Rumi’s poem inspired the Feast, it’s fitting that the 13th-century mystic’s prose will be read aloud, bringing this year’s 40-day practice to an end. As Korp writes, “Folks need not have participated in this year’s Feast to come out … and experience this special event that melds readings, world music and special performances to touch the hearts and minds of those present.”
An Evening with Rumi will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Spiritual Living, 2 Science Mind Way in Asheville. Tickets are $10 in advance (available at Malaprop’s Bookstore) and are $12 at the door. For directions, click here. For more information about the Winter Feast, click here. Tickets and info: 254-4651 or KaronKorp@gmail.com.