Meditation: A Tool for Coping With the Hectic Life of a Student
Let’s get this out of the way now. I’m no meditation guru. In fact, I regrettably don’t even meditate every day. Instead, I am simply someone who has experienced the positive effects of this age old tool of relaxation and self discovery.
You may have heard of these effects yourself, and, in fact, it’s very possible this is not the first article you’ve read on meditation. Yes, the ancient Eastern practice has grown increasingly popular in Western culture within the last decade, and its health benefits are well documented.
For those not in the know, meditation is the “simple act” of taking a little time each day to step back from the bustling world and giving your mind an opportunity to settle and live in the moment.
By doing this you distance yourself from worrisome thoughts such as anxiety for a test, or fear of judgements from others. Another fantastic effect is that, since your mind is calm, you are able to look at problems in a different light than when you first encounter them.
Over the past year that I’ve been meditating it has helped me overcome things such as creative blocks, deciding where I want to take my schooling, and re-evaluating my priorities.
You may have noticed that I placed the words “simple act” in quotations. This is because, while the actual act is straightforward enough, training your body to settle into a meditative state takes dedication and practice.
Too many times I’ve heard people disregard meditation because they tried it a couple times and just couldn’t “clear their mind” like they wanted.
Whenever I hear this I share a fantastic quote by music producer Flying Lotus that goes, “Just ease into things naturally. But you still have to ease into it, you still have to sit in the chair. You can’t just expect things to happen, but do it gently.”
While taken slightly out of context, the message is incredibly relevant. Much like music production, or any worthwhile skill, meditation takes time to master. And like I said, I’m not perfect. There are some days I have so much going on that I can’t even find time to sit in that chair for a mere ten minutes. But one thing I have noticed, is that with every day I don’t meditate, I find it that much harder to get back into the same mindset the following day, so obviously a daily session is recommended.
So, if you’ve made it this far you must be thinking, “Okay, you keep saying meditation is so awesome, but how do you do it??”
The answer is by doing the same thing you do every minute of every day…simply breathing.
To begin your journey you must learn to breathe mindfully. Sit yourself as comfortably as possible and begin taking deep, long breaths. After both the inhale and the exhale steps of the process, hold your breath in and out for a couple seconds.
Focus your thoughts on nothing but the process of breathing and the sound of your breath. If other thoughts wander into the corners of your mind, don’t fret; in fact, observe them, and then disregard them and return your focus to your breath.
Start by doing this for a few minutes a day and soon you will find yourself wanting to do it for longer and longer.
If you ever want to meditate at the school, Housatonic has its own meditation, or prayer room on the bottom floor of Beacon Hall, right next to the Wellness Center.