Reflecting on Mindfulness

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Pictured here with Greg Snyder, the center’s director and founder of the Awake Youth Program, which has brought mindfulness practice into Brooklyn public schools, are Daniel ’15, Winston ’15, Adrian ’15, and George School Religion Teacher Michael LoStracco. Our students received formal zazen instruction and then sat two periods of zazen with the sangha (practice community) there.

 

by Adrian ’15

Before I came to George School, I never fully understood what the word “meditation” meant, and I had never even come across the word “mindfulness.” I had a preconceived idea that meditation is the act of sitting on the floor cross-legged and never knew the purpose of it. Little did I know, I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface as to what mindfulness and meditation really meant.

I used to think that meditation was a waste of time, arguing that studying would have been a better use of my time. My roommate was the first person to introduce me to meditation. We would try to practice in our room, but one Tuesday we decided to attend mindfulness practice in Michael’s classroom. The first few times we went, Michael provided us with guided instruction to aid us in our practice experience. After a long day of school, I would sometimes find it hard to stay awake and ended up dozing off. This happened less frequently as I continued to practice. An average session of mindfulness practice consists of twenty minutes of sitting meditation. We then process our experience for a couple of minutes and then end with another ten minutes of meditation. What I have learned is that when we sit for meditation, we shouldn’t sit in hope of benefiting ourselves or achieving something. We are sitting for the act of sitting and to be present in the moment; this is real mindfulness. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for one year now, and I think that it has really helped me become more aware of myself; I am becoming more mindful. I really suggest that people try mindfulness practice, at least once. It might not suit everyone, but you’ll never know until you try.

 

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