Every Tuesday and Thursday, students congregate in the Spiritual Center for a relaxing 30 minutes of meditation.
For four years and counting, Lisa Caton has led Mindfulness Meditation. This year, the group meets from noon to 12:30 p.m. for a half hour of relaxation.
The basis of the meditation has a simplistic overall goal: to find inner balance and a peaceful state of mind.
As humans, “we’ve been taught to fight or flee,” Caton said, meaning that society too often becomes wrapped up in the upbeat pace of everyday life. When does one have the chance to stop and breath anymore?
With Mindful Meditation, Caton leads participating students in breathing exercises known as kegon. This allows students to free their minds and focus on the inner workings of their breathing by taking deep, exaggerated inhales and exhales of breath. The whole time Caton gently coaches students on what to focus. She tells them to understand their emotions and mentally elaborate on the thoughts that pass through their minds. She tells them to not deny energy, whether positive or negative, and that they should embrace that energy and use it as personal fuel. Caton aims for meditation sessions to help students reach an “inner grounded feeling within.”
Caton has been practicing the art of meditation for 20 years. She explained there are many forms of meditation. The meditation that takes place at Mindfulness Meditation meetings aims for a general focus of the promotion of compassion toward oneself and others. Students at the College engage in meditation to serve themselves in finding restful moments in between chaotic instances of exterior pressures, but also to achieve an extended connection with one another in the form of finding compassion within themselves. To further discuss the topic of compassion, Caton also holds weekly dinners on Monday evenings, which are open to all practicing meditating students and newcomers.
Thursday’s Meditation was led by Jacob Wright-Piersanti and focused on a different method of Indian breathing known as the pranayama technique. The pranayama technique involves a series of short, terse breaths to expel any uncensored energy.
After the breathing practice, Wright-Piersanti led the group in a meditation slightly different from the norm. He took the group through a meditation that placed special emphasis on the concepts of love and kindness. Wright-Piersanti focused on the mantra of every human wanting to be happy and loved. Concluding his session, Wright-Piersanti thanked the group of meditating students.
“Thank yourself for giving the time to do this radical act of sitting still,” he said.
Many of the meditation techniques used by Mindfulness Mediation share in placing emphasis on the process of self calming, something college students often struggle with. Mindfulness Meditation is always open and available for students looking for a mental escape to cool down and re-energize the inner self.