by Ken Colby
Anxiety and stress continue to rise among college students and a profound yet simple alternative to traditional pharmaceutical solutions is taking hold in dormitories and campuses.
As if a déjà vu from the 1960s has been spontaneously birthed, meditation is catching on as an easy, inexpensive, and effective method to calm the mind and heal the body.
Since David Flaten began his meditation program, he has received numerous of phone inquiries and even more emails from students and faculty, trying to find a way to slow down.
Flaten credits today’s students with looking for drug-free solutions to the quandaries that have plagued campuses for decades – an unstable global environment, increased pressure and competition to deliver good grades and the obvious emotional conflicts that surround work, school and home.
“A tremendous amount of light energy enters a person’s body,” Flaten said.
“People are a combination of lightness and darkness, when you meditate you take in the light expelling some of the darkness.”
His mediation session takes place every Tuesday morning in the Cabaret Theater, and is a powerful meditation based on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
“In this meditation we become instruments of divine blessing for the planets as well as the whole humanity, kingdoms of nature and our loved ones,” he said.
“This meditation is focused on service, working as a whole and a group, to bring light and healing to the world.”
Becky Campana, a junior at ULV, has been doing this meditation for just over a year.
“It’s a grounding experience. It has helped me relieve stress and realize that I don’t need to carry those minor issues with me day to day.”
Students and faculty members have long been advocating a program like this.
“It’s been a grounding force in my life through all the typical and unexpected challenges I faced growing up,” communications major Ben de Ayora said. “Each day I realize the benefits whether I’m stuck in traffic, facing emotional turbulence or studying for a test.”
De Ayora sees this renewed interest in meditation by students as a positive step towards changing the way the world will operate as these college meditators graduate and enter the work force.
“I started meditating earlier this year, my roommate did it all the time and I decided to try it. To my surprise it is the most relaxing thing I have ever done,” senior Julie Hanna said. “I know some students think it’s stupid or weird but after you give it a try, you will fall in love with it.”
In addition to the increasing number of research studies that continue to herald the medicinal benefits of meditation, Flaten anecdotally cited the number of meditating people that each day reap the more personal value of calming their minds, easing their anxieties and increasing their focus.
“It’s an opportunity to enter the stillness, with all the mambo jumbo of today’s society. Meditation helps make your minor dramas not such a big deal any more,” Flaten said.