The Enlightened Giggle: Where Art Meets Meditation

Esme Benjamin

The Culture Trip

As meditation becomes increasingly popular in New York, the city’s wellness experts are finding new ways to give their practice an edge. This summer sees the launch of The Enlightened Giggle, an event series that blends meditation with art and music.

When it comes to cultural meditation experiences, this isn’t Gemma Gambee Lewis’ first rodeo. The host of The Enlightened Giggle regularly leads MoMA’s Quiet Mornings, early gatherings at the museum that incorporate guided meditations with relaxed viewings of famous artworks.

“For February’s Quiet Mornings at MoMA, I created 300 paintings for the guests and an original song with one of my dearest friends, Sonya Kitchell,” explains Gambee Lewis. “Something very powerful happened that morning. The intimacy of creative connection was not just felt though the esoteric practice of the meditation—we all had the paintings and the music as more tangible marks for our connections. I wanted to bring the opportunity for the New York community to connect like that on a more regular basis.”

Following an outpouring of positive feedback, Gambee Lewis launched her own event series in partnership with PUBLIC ARTS, the PUBLIC Hotel’s multimedia performance space. 

The Enlightened Giggle will provide attendees with an immersive meditation experience, designed to awaken multiple senses. The first event, held on May 14, 2018, will feature vocals from Kitchell, a Grammy-winning musician, and projections of the work of conceptual artist Roger Welch.

In recent years, meditation teachers have been taking their practice out of their studios and into public spaces. Besides Quiet Mornings at MoMA, New Yorkers can join The Big Quiet’s mass meditations at famous city landmarks or take a zen breakwith Be Time, a mobile meditation bus that stops in a different neighborhood every day. These events aim to make meditation more visible and educate people about the benefits of a regular practice.

“Enlightened Giggle is a term that I came up with to describe the giggle that those closest to enlightenment have,” Gambee Lewis says. “Swamis have this giggle in response to anyone telling them their worst problems. To me this laugh is saying that behind all your worry everything is fine. I call that the enlightened giggle.”

The Enlightened Giggle’s first event will be held on Monday, May 14, 2018, from 7pm to 8pm. Tickets cost $18 on Ticketfly

PUBLIC ARTS, PUBLIC Hotel, 215 Chrystie St, New York, NY, USA, 10002, +1 (212) 735-6000

Gemma GambeeComment