By MASON MCClAY – CENTO WRITER
MeditationCentre began introducing students and faculty to the practice of mindfulness in the spring of 2013.
The groups gathers every Wednesday from 8:00 – 8:45 p.m. in the second floor of the Combs Warehouse and is open to all peoples from any religious or philosophical backgrounds.
The club appears to have already garnered a following of students characterized by their desire to understand what it means to really experience a sense of tranquility.
Relaxing is commonly associated with the practice of meditation, but for many of those involved, meditation brings a new dimension to what it means to relax.
After having meditated once at MeditationCentre, first-year Ethan Campbell said, “It has proven to be beyond physically and mentally therapeutic.”
The meditations vary on a weekly basis, with four professors rotating in leadership: Assistant Professor of Psychology Aaron Godlaski, Assistant Professor of Chinese and Chair of the Asian Studies Program Kyle Anderson, Assistant Professor of Religion Christian Haskett, and Assistant Professor of Sociology Kaelyn Wiles.
This continuous change of leading styles is defined by a multitude of different practices. These include contemplating the existence of air as you focus on a breath and allowing your mind to become aware of the immense depths of love and peace that radiate from within your own self.
The group also focuses on learning and experiencing the energy of the ancient art of Qi Gong, a motion based meditation.
Though each technique brings its own unique sensation to the overall experience, there is a uniform essence experienced after each type of exercise. Each practice seems to contribute to a basis of awareness, understanding, and deep inner peace.
During a conversation on the topic of meditation, Godlaski approached the intention of the mindful practice. “You can sit and repeat mantras until you’re blue in the face, but the true purpose of meditation is to become aware.
“Even if students don’t decide to come, they should still allow themselves to experience what is occurring in the present moment, regardless of what they’re doing. Although, a group meditation will definitely help that to happen,” Godlaski said.
The true goal of MeditationCentre is to let students understand the importance of an uninhibited experience of being, without the constant chatter of the mind.
“This purpose is probably put most elegantly,” Godlaski said, “In the words of Thoreau: ‘We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.’”
First-year Rachel Hammer noted the difficulty in explaining the experience of meditation to others, “Meditating is something that really can’t be understood until you dive into it. It’s surprising how quiet your mind can become, and how easily you can enjoy every moment after meditating,” Hammer said.
The best way to understand the benefits of meditation is to attend a session with MeditationCentre and try the experience for yourself.