Students meditate together in class, new meditation group

Students meditate on a Saturday afternoon. Photo by Abby Glaws. 


Students sitting cross-legged on red cushions and practicing mindfulness filled Jordan Hall 048 this weekend. Ten students sat quietly a few feet apart from one another with their gazes facing downward. They gather every Saturday morning to practice group meditation.

Meditation has been spreading throughout campus, and students and faculty alike are experiencing the benefits. James Ewing, a sophomore political science major, decided to start a meditation group to give students a place to meditate together.

“There is a big need for meditation here at Butler and a big craving and desire for it,” Ewing said.

Butler had a meditation group on campus 10 years ago, but it became inactive as students graduated. Ewing wanted to bring it back. He said it is important for students to have a place where they can find calmness.

“People really crave time with themselves and peacefulness in their daily lives,” Ewing said. “Especially on a campus, where everyone is busy with homework and clubs.”

The group offers meditation for secular purposes or for those who practice Buddhism. Olivia Marunde, a first-year computer science and Chinese major, has been meditating her whole life as a practicing Buddhist.

Marunde said she would go to the temple back home most Saturday mornings. She enjoys meditating with other people, so she decided to join the group.

“My mom would have me meditate to help me calm down,” Marunde said. “It helps me focus and be more mindful.”

Marguerite Stanciou, the assistant director of the Center for Faith and Vocation, helped found the meditation group and has been offering meditation instruction to faculty and students for the past 12 years.

“Meditation practice is very much a part of enabling us to connect with ourselves in a very direct way and work with all the messiness of our lives,” Stanciou said. “It is not so much about retreat, but it’s about more fully being available to ourselves.”

Stanciou said she has seen an increase in people’s interest in meditation.

“In the last two or three years, there seems to be an increasing awareness that we are feeling some type of anxiety, stress and distractedness,” Stanciou said. “There needs to be a way to work with that, so more and more people are connecting with the meditation practice.”

Margaret Brabant, professor and chair of the political science department, begins one of her classes with a five-minute meditation once a week.

Brabant said she started meditation with one class because she wanted to see if it really helped students. She was uncertain in the beginning because she was not sure if her students would see the benefits of meditation like she did, but they really enjoyed it.

Brabant said she found meditation to be beneficial in her life as well as for her students. She has decided to implement a meditation in all of her classes next semester.

“Saying to students it’s OK to just stop and slow down really proves to be beneficial in helping us calm that beast that controls most of us, which is hideously busy lives,” Brabant said.

The meditation group meets weekly on Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. at the CFV blue house. There is also instruction offered on Thursdays from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. For students or faculty wanting to meditate individually, there is a room open daily at the CFV, as well as in Jordan Hall 182 and 183.


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