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Meditation Gathering gives students a chance to relax

By Tara Harris

April 17, 2014

The practice of mediation began over 12,000 years ago as a religious practice and has evolved into a relaxation and natural healing practice. More and more people are participating in this activity and others are not quite sure what meditation is.

Meditation is defined by Webster as the act or process of spending time in quiet thought.

There are different forms of meditation including Guided, Zen, Transcendental and Mindfulness. They have been medically proven to lower blood pressure, increase immune system, lower anxiety and dispel stress.

To experience meditation for yourself, Meditation Gathering, a student government acknowledged organization, holds weekly meditation meetings Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. in the Chester building, room 120, which is the Center for Across Cultures.

The Culture Center has been in operation for 10 years. A few years ago Ronald Reminick, anthropology professor and founder of Meditation Gathering, joined and formed a center for research and conducted research in Belize, India and Africa. Reminick recently revived the Meditation Gathering.

“We practice silent, guided and meditation with music,” said Reminick, “The people who participate are really into it and get a lot out of it.”

The meetings are open to students, faculty and staff. The organizations’ mission is to recoup the wisdom of the ancients.

In previous years, the Center for Across Cultures held various symposiums and events. A presentation by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn from Cleveland Clinic and author of ‘Heart Attack Proof’, a Native American drumming concert and lectures on mediation and Indian healing.

They are awaiting funding from the student government for purchase of zafu’s, which are cushions for those meditating to sit on. Until then, participants sit in a comfortable position of their choosing on the carpet.

“The only requirement for meditation is discipline. You have to dedicate a space and time that you will get the world off your mind,” said Reminick. “Meditation as a regular routine can cause a lot of changes to happen for the better, it’s something we all can do in this crazy world of ours to relax,” he added.

According to a journal survey conducted by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 85 percent of medical symptoms reported to doctors are psychosomatic and stress related. Meditation improves health, academic studies and mood.

“All you need to do is create a special space, turn off the lights, become relaxed by taking complete breaths and sit still for 20 minutes a day to cure symptoms of stress and anxiety,” said Reminick.

The brain produces a hormone called cortisol. When stressed, cortisol can become over-produced which creates a debilitating effect. The major effect being chronic inflammation which then creates an abundance of ailments such as headaches, upset stomach, colds, acid reflux, acne, ulcers and obesity.

A couple years ago a Neo-Med student conducted an 8 week study of meditation and anxiety. Participants were tested before and after the experiment. The control group didn’t mediate and the experimental group meditated regularly for the 8 weeks.

The results showed those who did not meditate showed very little to no change and those who meditated regularly had significant changes in the reduction of stress and anxiety levels and improvements in grades.

“Meditation makes me more relaxed and focused. People get stressed out with school so it’s great to have a group like Meditation Gathering to help escape pressure and allow time to focus on yourself and that particular moment,” said Briana Jones-Hamby, a senior and film major who meditates at least twice a week.

Many people are searching to find themselves. Meditation can assist them in gaining a deeper understanding.

With all the negativity in the world, it is hard to overcome and think positive.

“We don’t value ourselves when we nurture bad thoughts and rage,” said Reminick. “Meditation helps you transcend the negativity in life.”

Just like people are careful with the place where they live, they should be just as heedful about what they are doing to their minds and bodies.

“Our body is our temple we should honor and not desecrate it and individuals should take responsibility for their own heath and research what they put into their bodies,” Reminick said. “If you know yourself and stay grounded, all the stuff in the media will be meaningless and you will find true happiness and understand what is truly valuable in life.”