Every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Faculty Staff Lounge, students gather for an hour of meditation. Styles include insight meditation and loving-kindness meditation. The time and instruction for meditation is hosted by the Gustavus Meditation group. It has been offered at Gustavus throughout the academic year, and will continue for the last few weeks of the semester.
Students who have used this offered time have very positve recommendations to others. “My experiences with meditation have been nothing but positive,” Sophomore Individualized Major Sawyer Olson said. “It’s been a great way to maintain mindfulness and not become weighted down and torn apart by too much stress.”
Although everyone is able to meditate, some participants state that it might take a while to get comfortable with the process.“I found it to be very interesting but also somewhat difficult. As time went on it became easier for me to clear my mind of thoughts,” Sophomore Biology and Psychology Major Joseph Dipple said.
Insight meditation is the cultivation of mindful awareness and is practiced frequently throughout the United States.
The loving-kindness meditation is meant to help cultivate love for the self and for others, and although there are fewer centers devoted to loving-kindness meditation in the United States, it is offered at Gustavus. Insight and loving-kindness meditation can be practiced by anyone, regardless of religion.
Besides cultivating love, those who experience meditation speak of other beneficial effects, such as stress relief. Coming up on finals, meditation is a tool that has helped many a stressed student to refocus and rejuvenate. “During a session of meditation I generally feel relaxed and at peace,” Dipple said. “After meditating I feel very calm and focused. It is a great way to clear one’s mind before studying or working on a large project.”
Olson begs another advantage to meditation.“Who doesn’t want to be able to control their minds and manage their emotions in stressful and tense situations?”
The Gustavus Meditation group works in alliance with The Triple Gem of the North. This is a sangha, which means that it is a residence for Buddhist monks and nuns. It is located in Mankato. According to The Triple Gem’s website, it works to create a “greater interaction” between its residents and the lay community. The center is open to any meditator interested in “cultivating Sila (morality), Samadhi (concentration) and Panna (wisdom).”
The Triple Gem holds several meditation sessions throughout southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities.