Stress Relief Found in Meditation

Buddhist meditation, an often overlooked event on campus, deserves more appreciation from the community. Mr. James Davidson, the Director of Spiritual Life, leads meditation on Wednesday nights from 8:45 to 9:15. Typically, only a few participants attend. But meditation is an enjoyable and relaxing experience that would benefit more stressed-out students.

Meditation began as a practice within the religion of Buddhism, but it is now a practice among people of many faiths. Meditation aims to develop tranquility, focus, and mindfulness. Mindfulness is about living in the moment, not worryng about the past or the future. One tries to take in one’s surroundings, paying attention to what’s going on nearby but not dwelling on it — in other words, meditation is being aware. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, increase cognition, improve academic performance, and simply enhance overall well-being.

Buddhist meditation at Choate involves twenty minutes of meditation followed by a short reading. Posture is crucial: when the chime sounds to signal the beginning of the meditative process, participants must stop moving, sit on a floor cushion, cross their legs, straighten their back, and close their eyes, then they try to control their breath. One technique is to count to eight slowly, inhaling on the odd numbers and exhaling on the evens. Focusing on one’s breathing helps to have only one thought at a time, the goal of meditation. For meditation rookies, Mr. Davidson discourages attempting to block all thoughts. Instead, he advises them just to let their thoughts flow freely through their mind­—that is to say, relax.

With piles of homework, hours of sports practices and music lessons, meals to eat and friendships to cultivate, going to Buddhist meditation might not seem like the best use of time, But it can be a welcome break from those pressures, a wonderful way to refresh one’s mind and de-stress. It might,  in fact, increase productivity. It also presents a good opportunity  for someone not particularly religious to get involved in spiritual life at Choate. Meditation is open to all students. Come in, breathe deep, and find your inner peace.

One Comment

  1. Glad it’s available. Meditation sessions can be hard to find outside out yoga classes.

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