F&M Stories

Mindful Moments: Meditation

Sometimes, it's the quiet and contemplative moments in between class and co-curriculars where the most personal growth occurs. In this mindfulness series, we explore moments of calm and introspection for students.

A group of Franklin & Marshall College students sit cross-legged on meditation cushions, lights dimmed, in absolute silence except for the occasional inhale and exhale.

A bronze chime breaks the silence.

"We breathe for ourselves and ideally with increasing awareness of how precious each breath is. But we are also breathing for all living creatures. In fact, we are breathing for the entire biosphere, and that is our practice," said Richard Kent, professor of art history and Ware College House don.

Kent leads a weekly meditation in Ware, open to all students on campus.

"I've been coming back because [Don Kent] says that it helps with focusing. I believe that. I feel very calm after I meditate," said junior Nicholas Lin, a sociology major.

Meditation is proven to improve academic performance by boosting focus and concentration, reducing stress and anxiety and improving short-term memory.

"I needed to focus to prepare for exams, and heard meditation is really helpful," said senior Keats Dai, an art history major and French minor.

After two rounds of sitting and walking meditation, students sip hot tea and enjoy conversation. The discussion ranges from favorite movies to research project progress — even the best places to stargaze.

"It's very wide-ranging and free-flowing," Kent said.

Kent's approach to meditation is derived from the Chan [zen] Buddhist practice of counting the breath.

"If your mind wanders, and invariably it will, simply bring it back to the count," he said. "Eventually you'll begin to notice how thoughts arise and subside."

Meditation is proven to improve academic performance by boosting focus and concentration, reducing stress and anxiety and improving short-term memory.

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