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Meditation physically, mentally beneficial


December 1, 2011

By Karen Mowls

Many students at Cleveland State have probably heard about meditation in some sort of capacity, but are perhaps unaware of just how beneficial it can be for the mind and body.
There may also be a stigma attached to the idea, that you need to be a specific religion to meditate, but this is not the case at all.

David Lynch is a famous director in Hollywood who is well-known for practicing transcendental meditation. His films have a nightmarish feel to them as he pulls his characters through twisted stories barely seeming to make sense, yet his success is thriving. He attributes his creativity to his involvement with meditation.

During an interview broadcast on News World, Lynch said that he started meditating when he felt there was something missing from his life. He believes by meditating for 20 minutes twice a day, a person becomes more calm and creative.

Meditation changed Lynch’s life, and there is another Lynch at CSU, Scott Lynch, a current law student who has been experiencing the benefits of meditation for nearly 10 years.
Lynch began meditating at the age of 14, and 10 years later he is still practicing.

He started the Kriyayoga Club at CSU with two other law students, Sara Tackett and Francesla Sequeira. Together, they have set up two separate visits from the main teacher: Guruji Swami Shree Yogi Satyam.

The Kriyayoga Master visited on June 23 and Nov. 16-18 to discuss the value of truth and non-violence and lead a guided meditation. In between the Master’s visits, Lynch hosts guided meditation every Friday and Sunday at 7 p.m. The group listens to a recording of the Master from one of his previous guided meditation sessions.

Lynch said that since he got into the meditation seriously, he lost weight and his skin has become clear and it led him to a healthier life in general. Lynch also said that “Kriyayoga is not a religion; it’s a way of life.”

Lynch lived in India for two years, learning directly from Guruji Swami Shree Yogi Satyam. His wife and two children are in India learning from the Master now. To sign up to take part in guided meditation on either Friday or Saturday, contact Lynch at Kriyayogaohio@gmail.com.

The Jewel Heart Center located in Tremont is another free and no-pressure meditation group.

Jewel Heart is led by a Tibetan monk named Gelek Rimpoche, who is currently on a retreat in India with some of his students from New York.

The group is Buddhist, but everyone is welcome to reap the benefits of meditation with them.

Jewel Heart would like to host an event at CSU next semester in which Gelek Rimpoche will meet with students and give a lecture followed by a partially guided meditation.

Jewel Heart hosts a group meditation every Thursday night at 7 p.m. with tea and snacks. The group leader, or “Dharma Coordinator,” is Anne Warren, and she initially practiced from 1975-1983 before picking up again in 1993.

“Doing concentration type meditation, like we do Thursday evenings, is only a part of what I practice, but even that simple little meditation on the breath helps me become calmer and less likely to react with irritation or thoughtlessness. I am more creative and also find my body feels more relaxed after a session, and I do have low normal blood pressure despite being overweight,” Warren said.

Warren also said that meditating can help us deal with pain and stress or something depressing that has recently happened in our life.

“Life presents many difficult and painful situations, and I as well as others in Jewel Heart have found our practice a great help when we deal with illness, our own or others, and losses of loved ones,” said Warren.

Warren said that just because members of Jewel Heart are primarily Buddhist, it does not mean that you have to be Buddhist to meditate or that meditating there makes you Buddhist.

“Meditation of various kinds is practiced in many spiritual traditions as well as by secular people, so meditating at a Buddhist center does not make you a Buddhist! Meditation helps us make friends with our own minds and bodies,” Warren said.

As is human nature, we are often striving for more, but this can cause us to dwell on our failures. This kind of stress is not good for the mind or body. Meditation has the ability to help us calm our minds and accept that the negative parts of the day aren’t that important or worth dwelling on.

“We can gain a more spacious awareness, a little less caught up in our usual whirlwinds of thoughts and emotions that harm us physically as well as mentally. As Gelek Rimpoche says, our short term goal is to become gentler and kinder towards ourselves and others, and at least a little wiser,” Warren said.

Some upcoming events at Jewel Heart include a holiday open house and arts and crafts sale on Dec. 9 from 5:30-9:30 p.m., which would be a great time to visit and get a feel for the center and ask questions. On Dec. 20 from 7-8:30 p.m., they are having an offering ceremony called a Tsoh, which is open to all.

For more information about Jewel Heart, visit their website at www.jewelheart.org/chapters/cleveland/.