Inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. At the beginning it is all you can do to focus on just breathing. A situation or problem may enter your mind but you disregard it, close your eyes, sit up straight and focus your mind. Inhale and exhale.
Meditation and the act of clearing one’s mind to being in the present is a practice that reaches back through time and cultures.
The Sri Lankan Students’ Association and Student Government Association are presenting a lecture by Ven. Yatinuwara Sankichcha titled “Meditation for Day-to-Day Life: Avoiding and Overcoming Depression Without Medication” at 5 p.m. Friday in Forum Hall.
Meditation plays a large role in most Sri Lankans’ lives, and many believe the role meditation can play in others’ lives needs to be known and shared. Nishantha Samarakoon, lecture organizer and SLSA member, compared the act of meditation to polishing a table.
“If we don’t polish something, like a table, the shine will go down,” Samarakoon said. “And we have to polish it every day. The brain is also the same. If you do not do anything it will be corroded, or there would be some dust on it.”
Keeping the brain spotless and keeping yourself in the present can help those dealing with stress, hyperactivity and other negative life situations.
Being a student can cause a lot of stress, especially as finals and exams are approaching. That stress is one reason Dilum De Silva, graduate student in mathematics, meditates.
“The benefits of meditation are immense,” he said. “I am practicing it and I can see it in my life. It is very, very good. Because I am a grad student, as you can imagine, it’s hard. You need to have attention for a long period of time.”
De Silva said meditation helps him concentrate for a longer period of time and relieves his stress. He said this has helped him live a happier life.
De Silva said there are many different ways to meditate and many things to meditate on. While meditation is usually considered a Buddhist practice, all faiths are encouraged to participate. He explained that participants could focus on the characteristics of a certain figure like Buddha or Jesus Christ.
“You can think about the qualities of the deity in your religion that you look up to,” De Silva said. “It helps you relax your mind in doing that. If you can’t concentrate on inhaling and exhaling, there are other options. You just have to find that out and do what’s right for you.”
The upcoming lecture event is important to Sri Lankan students because, Nadeesha Lihinikadu Arachchige, graduate student in statistics, said, Buddhists don’t have the chance to go to temples because they are far away on the East or West coasts.
“It’s good to have things like this every once in a while because we tend to go there no matter what we have happening,” she said. “Because it’s a Buddhist event and it is organized by the Sri Lankan people in Manhattan, so we tend to go there and try to do meditation once in a while. It’s always good to relax you; to get rid of the unwanted things in your mind.”