At Elon, something is going on all the time. On top of that, you’re probably tired, have a quiz coming up that you aren’t fully prepared for and have to sit through a lecture in a class you don’t really like. With the busy culture that Elon embodies, taking a moment to relax and be in the moment can be a rare occurrence.
This Winter Term, I had the opportunity to take the class PHL 352: Zen in Practice and Theory. In the class, we discussed the idea of being in the “here and now,” being present in the current world, rather than having our focus tied up in different past and future moments.
The best place to meditate is anywhere quiet and comfortable. I personally find taking advantage of outdoor spaces adds to the serenity of my practice.
Whether you sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, make sure your body is balanced and supported. Straighten your neck and spine. Relax your shoulders and any other points of tension in your body. Rest your hands on your knees or place them just below your navel, thumbs touching to form an oval. Close your eyes or hold them half-open, resting on a point on the ground in front of you. Take slow, deep breaths, inhaling to the point of fullness, pausing, then exhaling. Become aware of your bodily sensations and the world around you. What do you experience that you normally would not observe or be aware of?
Meditation is not limited to sitting but can be practiced while standing or walking to classes.
Check out the meditation room on the second floor of Numen Lumen or the Meditation Garden. Iron Tree Blooming, a meditation group based in Renzai Zen philosophy, meets every Thursday at 4:15 p.m. in the McBride Gathering Space. Meetings will resume at the start of the spring semester.