Destination Meditation

Junior Tierney McPike peacefully meditating

Syble Heffernan

Junior Tierney McPike peacefully meditating

It was a Thursday afternoon and the strength and conditioning class was spread out on the floor of the meditation room. Some were lying flat on their backs with arms and legs sprawled out, others were sitting up against the wall, and still others were resting on their stomachs. Peaceful, mind-engaging music floated through the air, producing a tranquil energy in the room. Earlier in the day, gym teacher Scott Mollring had announced that it was “Meditation Thursday.” From 12:30 to 12:55, students were given the opportunity to rest and quiet their minds.

Students chose several different ways to spend this time. Some students actively quieted their minds and centered themselves in meditation, others prayed, others considered their lives, their futures, and themselves, and still others chose to take a short and refreshing nap.
“I laid down and had thoughts of what I wanted to do with my life, and how I wanted to impact other people’s lives. I also prayed a bit,” said junior Zak Folchert. Senior Brooklyn Brinker said she just felt totally relaxed. “It was a time when I could just lay down and chill. I just prayed the entire time, and used the time to calm down and let the stress go,” she said.

The practice of quieting your mind and relaxing your soul in meditation has proven to have many physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. In regards to emotional benefits, meditation lessens worry, anxiety, and harmful, impulsive behaviors. It also enhances self-esteem and overall mood while creating inner space where peace and joy can flow freely. Those who suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, or inner turmoil of any sort will find liberation and relief in meditation.
According to Folchert, Meditation Thursday made a significant difference in the quality of his day. “I felt happier, more calm, and more relaxed the rest of the day,” said Folchert. “I noticed I wasn’t as stressed out.” Meditation brings people in touch with their inner self, other people, and the world around them, and is a huge factor for many in living a peaceful and happy life.

Meditation uniquely powers both the mind and the physical body. Mentally, it increases levels of focus, mental strength, and creative thinking. It increases the ability to problem solve and process information, while at the same time filtering out mental distraction. Physically, meditation benefits breathing and heart rates and increases quality of life. The practice drastically improves the immune system and overall energy levels. Most students would agree that lack of energy to accomplish the tasks of their daily life is one of the biggest problems they face. With just a few minutes set aside for meditation, students will find that they feel much less exhausted and more able to face the day.

Setting aside frequent time for mental relaxation is very important for all people, and especially in the full and stressful lives of students. High school students are faced every day with the looming question of what they will do in their future, on top of trying to find themselves, focus on academics, and participate in jobs, extra-curricular activities, and building relationships.

With all the stress and chaos of the teenage life, students find themselves feeling buried alive. “I think it’d be beneficial to incorporate meditation into daily life to let students get to know themselves better and not feel so much stress. Meditation brings you back to neutral and takes your mind of things, which is necessary for good overall health,” Folchert said. Brinker agreed with this, saying “I think if we could incorporate things like meditation once a week, it would help a lot of people.”

There are many varieties of meditation. Some people meditate by way of prayer, others participate in quiet activities such as going for a swim, doing yoga, or taking a nature walk. Others choose the traditional meditation practice of emptying and empowering their mind. There are daily meditative practices that can be completed while living daily life.

People who meditate regularly may have a singular preferred method, or they may experiment with all three. It would be ideal to incorporate designated quiet time during the school day, or at least hold a short session in the mornings before school where students could go to center themselves and start their day in a good mindset. However, even if we don’t incorporate meditation into student life during the school day, it is important for students to take it upon themselves to still their mind. Five to 10 minutes a day is all it takes to completely transform your well-being and quality of life.