Student Reflections from Contemplative-Based Academic Courses 2007-2009

Students in MR

General Comments

Does meditation really help students? How could it not?! I'm glad I have a lifetime ahead of me to fine-tune this practice. It's simply nonsensical not to give meditation a try.
~ Carolyn Hedge

This class has endless value to me. I will use this knowledge for the rest of my life.
~Kaleena Wakamatsu

I have a come along way with my meditation practice. I enjoy coming to class every Monday for meditation, rather than thinking of the whole thing as a chore. I am really going to miss next semester. The class has taught me to appreciate everything I have. I call my parents more often just to see how they are doing. I am always there for my friends now and I try to put their needs before mine.
~ Matt Loretz

It's great to get your degree and make money, and all the classes that you take are important to get there. But those things come and go. You can't get away from your inner self – it's impossible. So taking a class to learn how to face it, work with it and deal with it is a 100 times more important than all the other classes.
~ Travis Lane

Positive Effect on Academic Work: Mental Clarity, Focused Attention, and Motivation

The Mystics class helped me in my Biology major in a way I never could have imagined. Of all the classes I have taken so far, none has improved me as a thinker as much as that class…. I realized that science is not just about identifying what others have discovered, but challenging what is believed and discovering the truth.
~Jon Geleris, Student

I've noticed a change -- I get over things a lot quicker than I used to. I don't dwell on problems any more, and this helps me as a student.
~ Hillary Chambers

Meditation makes me feel completely revitalized afterwards. [One time] I had to write a paper afterwards and I noticed how quickly and confidently I could crank it out…. This class has impacted my life on many levels. My ability to think with a peaceful mindset has really helped my daily habits. My mind was always wandering and causing me great trouble. I am now able to focus for 20 minutes and, from an entire semester of practice, I have been able to apply all of these discoveries to my school work.
~Nathalie Olson-Studler

Meditating makes me more motivated. I go to classes now with a desire to learn and gain knowledge, rather than just to get through it. I do a much better job of staying on task, so I get my work done more quickly.
~ Matt Loretz

My test anxiety has slowly disappeared.
~Christine Bellows

I sat down to meditate today just before taking an exam. I did the breathing meditation where I concentrated on the end of my nose. By the time I took the exam, I was calm and fairly at peace. I completed the exam fairly quickly and confidently. Overall I'm not as stressed as I was months ago.
~ Erik Diefendorf

I've noticed that Meditation is not just while you are meditating, but it becomes a state of mind. So even when you're out in your life and things are going on to distract you, you can pull yourself back because you have that habit of how you've done it before. It's a familiar place.
~Monica Ek

I always look back to that few minutes we sat in class and how my mind was then and shift toward that peacefulness and it would really help in the real world.
~ Amber Hurley

One of the most important insights I've had in this course has been presence. I honestly never realized how much time I spend not in the "now"… I was always somewhere else, thinking about the future or the past or what was going to happen half-an-hour from then. Even though I was there in body, my mind was almost constantly somewhere else. I am so grateful for this heightened awareness.
~ Rena Satre-Meloy

Mental focus seems more natural now that I have done meditation more frequently.
~ Daniel Emoto

Today I meditated in the Meditation Room during lunch. I had a very stressful midterm coming up in about an hour, so instead of spending the hour cramming, I opted to meditate instead. After meditating, my mind was clear and I aced the test. One of the skills I have picked up from meditating this semester is being able to block out interference and focus on what I need to. Previously, when I had reading homework or had to think about something, I would have to be in a completely silent room in order to concentrate. But now I am able to focus on my task even if there is outside noise.
~ Trent Cummins

I asked our World Religion teacher with a background in meditation to lead us through a meditation before the test so that we would be more focused…. It was very nice to relax immediately before a test, and I think I did much better on it than I would have without this meditation.
~ Cashel Kelly

I'm proud that I'm actually blocking out the irrelevant thoughts and actions.
~ Carolyn Hedge

Meditation has really taught me to clear my mind as to what is going on around me all the time.
~ Hafsa Ahmed

It gives you a refreshing lens on everything you learn.
~ Michael Reading

Meditation allows me to clear my head and start thought processes afresh, with new perspective.
~ Nicholas Ferraro

It felt good to just clear my head, even if it was just ten minutes. The Meditation Room is just so much more relaxing than anywhere else I have tried to meditate. Even just focusing on deep breaths as I work has helped. Also I think I am calmer overall. Normally I think I would be more worried about final exams.
~ Sean Hansen

You must cleanse your mirror in order to see yourself and others with an undistorted view.
~ Christine Bellows

I meditated more than the required 60 minutes. It was stressful having to write so many papers. Every time I felt overwhelmed, I would sit down and meditate. After the meditation I felt re-energized and able to keep working on my papers. I only wish I had learned this earlier because when I was stressed before I used to take naps and I would end up going past the time I wanted to sleep for, and then I would have a really hard time waking up and I would always feel very lazy. After napping, it would take me forever to get back into the groove of a paper or something. But when I meditate, I can come back to reality quickly and just restart my work without any delay.
~ Garth Sodetani

Meditation was just what I needed today. I was doing some homework for quantitative and was frustrated. So I took a break and meditated and focused on my breath and ten minutes later I was able to focus and finish all my chemistry home work…
~ Christina Hess

While my meditation outside of class isn't easy for me, it makes me feel good. The rest of my day always goes by so much smoother after I meditate. Meditating makes me more motivated. I never question why I am doing my homework after I have meditated. I do a much better job of staying on task and thus get my work done much quicker. I go to class now with a desire to learn and gain knowledge rather than just to get through it.
~ Matt Loretz

The Rigor of Meditation

Meditation is a lot harder than it looks.
~Kelli Mackenzie

On the first day of class, I was ready to drop it half way through the silence. I hated it. I was discouraged because I couldn't concentrate… Now I am comfortable with the silence. It is easy for me to sit down and stay still…
~ Sommer Disante

I would say signing up (for the Compassion class) was easy. I'm a good student. I'm smart. I do the reading. But with that class it was so much more. In fact, it was probably one of the hardest classes I've taken because it was asking me to do so much more that I'd never done before.
~ Natalie MacDonald

It takes a lot of courage to be in this course. If you take it on full-force and view it as an opportunity to grow, then it will bring up some things that may be very difficult for you to handle and face within yourself. Things that you didn't even know were there.
~ Kristi Gober

The first day of class the silence intimidated me. Now I can sit in silence with ease. When I first started, I was fighting with my thinking mind and now I feel as if I'm just watching and accepting my thinking.
~Christine Bellows

Final Class Session: Today we had our 20 minutes of opening silence. I remember the first week that we did this: I thought there was no way I could sit silently for that long. Now, however, I am amazed by how fast the time flies by. I so much enjoy the time "alone" with myself. This semester I have experienced the true beauty and wonder of silence.
~ Crista Hatfield

First month of class:
I still felt anxiety as we meditated in silence. I found myself thinking about all the other work I had to do already in the semester.
Today I finally felt a breakthrough in my inner peace. I was able to lie silently still and let my mind relax without drifting completely off. I would compare it to a wave near the beach that slowly rolls in, quiet and small and then slowly glides back out into the large ocean.
~ Olivia Elis

Beginning: Who knew sitting for 40 minutes could feel like insanity! This is not easy!
Mid-semester: Walking meditation felt almost impossible. I kept wanting to speed up. At one point, though, I was walking on the grass under a big tree and a clump of acorn/pods drifted down in front of me. I actually HEARD it when it snapped off the tree.
End: I'm so glad I took this class. I am a single parent putting myself through school. Sometimes I feel so disconnected, like a robot who works and schools and parents -- just getting through the day. This class is all about finding that peace you feel like you've lost. It has given me alternatives to release stress and connect better with other people.
~ Christy Lake

Most people are victims of their life -- "Poor me, I had a horrible day, horrible customer, etc. That's why my day was bad!" Well you had a part in it – it's your life, remember?
~ Holly Boyer

It's difficult to explain the process of meditation to others. I tried to teach meditation techniques to my family during Thanksgiving. They were most receptive. When I tell them over the phone, they always think it is a big joke, so it took some talking to accept meditation. I taught her about the tip of the nose and counting. My mom liked it, but my dad fell asleep and my sister thought it was a waste of time. I understood because that's what I felt at the beginning.
~ Matt Loretz

I remember when I took Compassion class and told my mom that we normally start off the class with some sort of meditation. She said, "So I'm paying this money for you to sit in silence?" And I said, "Well when else in the world do I ever just sit down?" To actually have a chance to sit down and reflect on your past, passions, thought process -- that helps you so much to understand yourself. For example, there were things that I was doing and had no idea why I was doing it. Why picking fights with people? Reacting this way? And as soon as I sat down and thought about it, I saw why and that I needed to change this. I would never miss Compassion class because it forced me to sit down and pay attention to my body and to what my mind is actually doing. There's no time like the present. If you don't sit down and work on yourself now, when will you? Classes, finals, family, job. If you don't do it now, when in the world are you?
~ Amanda Ferguson

Even though it was hard at the beginning, then at the end it got easier. I don't even know when it started affecting me but it really impacted my life greatly.
~ Hafsa Ahmed

Increased Wellness: Deeper Connection to Nature, Better Relationships, Stress Relief, Reduction of Anxiety, Anger Management, Sleep Enhancement, Self-Empowerment

Meditation has become a necessity… Meditation reduces my daily stress a lot!
~ Nicholas Glaze

My time spent meditating on death has taught me much on the theme of impermanence as well as about how to experience times of stress. I've learned to approach and confront the moment of my death. I can feel and understand the moment of letting go…. So often I try to control situations, but through this class I see the benefits of letting stress and conflict come, watching it, and then simply letting it go.
~ Becca Weiner

Walking Meditation was the best for me so far. I am so busy on campus and always on a jet hurry to get from point A to point B. It allowed me to step in places I've never been and embrace the beauty around me. What a relief to be placed in a situation where the outcome is not the strength but the steps taken that hold the power.
~ Johnny Gannaw

After the class session, I felt unexplainably blissful and relaxed…. It let me have honest euphoria.
~ Alexandra Mozoras

I did a walking meditation on my own today. I was out and about on campus and had some time before my next thing to do. I have been feeling really stressed lately because Homecoming is just around the corner and there is still so much that needs to get done. The walking meditation today though helped me to clear my mind again. As I walked around campus I became more aware of my surrounding and the beauty that was around me.
~ Crista Hatfield

Meditation has helped me to want fewer things. I am happier with what I have right now.
~ Anastasiya Nefedova

I've been meditating quite often. I know the pain will heal, the seasons will change. I like meditating because it's a way to pass time instead of sleeping or playing video games. Meditation has more meaning than anything else I could be doing. It stimulates my mind and it's almost freeing. I am glad I have this ability and I was taught how to use it.
~ Garth Sodetani

I have also learned to not judge people. I now respect people for who they are. There is nothing wrong with being a little different. Differences are what make life interesting.
~ Matt Loretz

Meditation has allowed me to see the pattern of my own thoughts. I now have a greater understanding of where my anxieties come from and how to control them. This gives me confidence as a student.
~ Kevin McNaney

Through meditation, I learned that my thoughts don't have to control me. After six years of an eating disorder, I am finally winning. I don't feel like a prisoner any more.
~Ashley McQuown

Meditation has changed me. When my anxiety builds up---a lifelong problem-- I know I can center myself in meditation. I don't fret over how I wish things were different any more. This helps me a great deal in all of my personal endeavors.
~Samantha Brzozowski

Sometimes, the rage builds up inside so much I want to explode. But I have learned now not to act. Rather, I can take a deep breath and wait until it's gone. It takes about 90 seconds for the anger to leave. Every time I feel this way, if I go by myself I sit down, close my eyes and meditate. I just watch the feelings that make me angry pass by like each thought is a cloud in the sky floating away. Before learning meditation, if I ever felt this way, I would always have to let it out in a physical way whether it was hitting a bag or lifting weights. When I meditate, it feels completely gone. I feel like a new person.
~ Garth Sodetani

We learned in Compassion class that, and it was one of the most important things to me, you can't be rightfully compassionate to other people if you can't be compassionate towards yourself, if you are not honest with yourself. And how can you be honest with yourself if you don't know who you are? This class taught me to know myself.
~ Travis Lane

I have become much more aware of the difference between myself (my being) and the thinking mind. I can also calm myself down better now.
~ Alison Reed

I have realized that my inner sense of being is my life- and not the situation I am in.
~ Cynthia Castro

I think about Gandhi every day. Change begins with myself. When I see something in the world that I want to be different, I turn it around and ask: How can I change myself to accomplish it? It is empowering.
~ Carey French

I've learned to acknowledge my emotions but not give into them. I've learned to control my thoughts and to be able to take a step back from them, not allowing myself to be pulled into them.
~ Rosie Breen

This class is doing more than teaching me about meditation – it's teaching me how to live. When I leave meditation, I approach everything in life differently- everything from my studies to my physical aches and pains. That doesn't mean that all of my problems disappear, but rather that I feel much more capable of handling them, and in a healthy way.
~ Kristi Gober

I'm finding something in myself that I didn't know was there. I'm still not completely sure what it is, but I know it is good. It's healing and it's something that I have needed for a while…this light…this peace….
~ Becca Weiner

I feel more health and whole after having this experience (of meditation).
~ Alison Reed

I'm starting to realize that meditating helps me fall asleep. Usually it takes me an hour or so of lying in bed until I am finally full asleep- it's really annoying… Meditating for about 20 minutes, it really relaxes me to the point where I can fall asleep. It's great!!
~ Russell Nakaoka

Ethical Cultivation: Increased Compassion for Self and Others, Non-Violence to Self and Others, Patience, Humility, and Citizenship

I'm very self-judgmental. I think everybody is a little bit. But not so much any more. Somebody's always the best at something and I figured out that you're always the best at being yourself. So I'm going to be the best Josh Harwell there's ever been!
~ Josh Harwell

It was just little things that I would do to myself that would bring me down, like catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saying, "You look so horrible." And it's hard to recognize that! You don't think about all the little tiny ways you bring yourself down. And the class asked us not only to think about that, but to work on correcting our view of ourselves and others. It is good and hard at the same time.
~ Natalie MacDonald

I became more aware of the way I judge, the way I'm violent to myself, how I want the world to change but how I'm not being the change.
~ Carey French

It's hard to accept myself for who I am. I'm really hard on myself. But I've learned that imperfections are precious because you learn from your mistakes.
~ Mayra Alvina

I realized throughout this past semester meditating that I had a lot of resentments towards a lot of people in my life, even ones I didn't know well… I was just angry in my thoughts, nice on the outside but on the inside not very kind… Throughout meditation, I felt myself changing on the inside… the way I felt towards people. I felt myself becoming more forgiving towards my peers, towards my family.
~ Brianna Wetteland

Before meditation, I didn't have any patience. I was always in a rush and would be aggravated if people were not on time. Meditation has taught me to get rid of such negativities and be able to enjoy other people, instead of just focusing on myself.
~ Sean O'Brien

I have learned forgiveness, both for myself and others…. I appreciate people and can see them for who they are, not for what they have been, or will be, or what they can give me.
~ Lindsey Neilson

[Community Service with autistic children] I started out with sympathy and pity, not compassion. I focused not on the beings that existed in front of me, but rather I saw children who were suffering because of their disabilities and who were going to be facing a difficult world, as they grew older. It was not until we studied Mother Teresa that I realized the arrogance behind this type of compassion. … I realized that for months I had been failing to love these kids exactly as they are…. I was pinning them down with my sympathetic lens and pitying them for something that they are not even aware is a burden in their life.
~ Katelyn LaPine

I feel that I am more willing to be patient and caring toward my friends and family…I've noticed that I am trying to experience things in a very different way-through being more observant and generally appreciative of everything.
~ Rebecca Wilcox

(Community service at nursing home) I worked on listening and blocking out any self preoccupied thoughts, concentrating wholly on what they were saying. At first this was difficult, but as I became more interested, I found it easy to pay attention. And Mother Teresa's words helped, about the poorest of the poor in our nation as being those neglected and unloved, abandoned by their families in nursing homes.
~ Caitlin Bonner

[Community service with medically fragile children] You learn to look past the child's disability and love them for who and what they are. They are really not that much different from us anyway. They all have the same hobbies and the same interests. Not all of them are able to do the things they want, but that is why I am there. If they like to play video games but cannot use their hands, I am their hands.
~ Rosanna Bustamante

Practicing non-violence (ahimsa) was a challenge for me because not only did I have to watch my actions, but my thoughts and speech as well. …… I believe non violence is a state of mind and thus it is automatically reflected in our actions and the way we speak… I drew a little heart on my hand it was just a tiny reminder to practice nonviolence. I felt empowered because I was actually being the change that I want to see in the world… not only thinking about what I want to be changed in this world, but actually living it…
~ Paige Sumida

I had lost the connection with putting my heart into the things that I am doing… therefore I end up entirely exhausted and with things only half done…. Nonviolence means to allow myself time to think about the meaning of what I'm doing.
~ Nidia Barron

[Community service: Blankets of Love to Sudan] I found myself finding more enjoyment in my service after we studied Mother Teresa because she helped put into perspective that every amount we can contribute, whether big or small, can offer great things… Every time I would make a blanket, I would think about the love I had for the people in Sudan and how the energy of my love would be transmitted to each child who received a blanket.
~ Megan Stauble

Meditation has taught me to enjoy other people, instead of just focusing on myself.
~ Sean O'Brien, student

[Community service at animal rescue] I really like the meditation we did in class when we breathed in some of the suffering of the world. So each time that I took a dog out for a walk, I would try and relieve some of its suffering by breathing it in as we were walking and breathing out hope and healing to them.
~ Mikayla Bruce

I've grown with compassion towards anything that comes towards me or is around me that is different from what I've been taught and grew up with.
~ Hafsa Ahmed

I've learned to be more patient. Just today, I got into a fight with someone very close to me and I thought about what I've learned in the meditation class – watch your thoughts but don't necessarily act on them. It is amazing to be at peace with your thoughts even if it isn't easy or always fun. I definitely don't always like what is in my head, but it's nice to know I can just watch my thoughts and not focus on them.
~ Kalina Wey

[Nature Observation] I watched the clouds as they were covering the whole sky. I could see the sun light almost popping through the clouds. The scene was amazing, but it will be gone the next day or next moment….I need to realize that good things will happen for me but to not become cocky or self centered because like the clouds, it will all be gone the next day and something new will be in the picture. I need to humble myself.
~ Kevin Vollmer

[Community service at addiction recovery shelter] Working with these children was one of the most rewarding and heartbreaking experiences I've ever had. After seeing what had been done to them was really hard on a personal level; it was so hard to not blame their mother or be angry at her. At one point, she apologized to me. I saw her humanity in a way that would have been impossible for me before I took this class, before I studied Mother Teresa. I used what I perceive to be Mother Teresa's most amazing quality of seeing beyond the exterior to the ultimate goodness in a person, and that's what I did with the mother.
~ Natalie McDonald

[Community service at animal shelter] Gandhi's idea of being that change you want to see in the world helped me deal with the euthanasia at the shelter. I could not change the fact that some animals needed to be put down because of aggression or illness but I could change the way I judged those who were involved. Mother Teresa had a big impact on my compassion practice. Every time I walked into the shelter I would realize that the animals wanted something very simple: love. I couldn't give them a home or all of my time but I could make their day a little brighter. Every second I spent with an animal it was a second that they didn't sit in the cage alone.
~ Amber Hurley

[Community service at animal shelter] The Dalai Lama would advise me against become attached to such impermanent things such as dogs and cats… I have had impermanence thrown in my face every day I have volunteered at the shelter. Many times have I come in to see a dog I'd made friends with the week before only to find a red line through his kennel card, indicating that he was put down… The Dalai Lama says: "Even though we may not see the results consciously, we still have set into motion positive psychological forces"
~ Kit Skylark, Chelsea Crowl

[Community service with technologically dependent, medically fragile children] I practiced being compassionate by seeing everyone as beautiful despite their physical condition and external appearance. The first time I went I was very uncomfortable. But it did not take long to find beauty in the distressing disguise, as Mother Teresa says.
~ Aimee Stapp

[Community service at homeless shelter] I have seen a change in myself that has been evolving since the first week. When I was first there, I was often overcome with this overwhelming sense of guilt. However this is not what Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the other exemplars taught. They did not help others out of guilt or fear. I have lost the guilt that used to be attached to serving, and now I open my heart to others, genuinely having a desire to be there with them at the moment to help any way I can. I have seen that we are all trying to avoid the suffering of life.
~ Lanie Dubasik

[Nature Observation] While I was writing about the grass which I thought was important, something else happened. A small green insect landed on my finger as I wrote. Normally I would immediately crush it or brush it from my finger, but this time I did not. I looked at it, studying its light green body and the way its two wings made one when together… I didn't have it in me to kill this insect… I became aware of its existence and it of mine. And I may never share such acute awareness of power between two beings in such a way again. In a brief moment that bug was the only thing I felt connected to.
~ Erik Diefendorf

The meditation on the decomposition of objects really brings into view how impermanent things are. Nothing lasts forever, so why crave it? Why obsess over it? I used this meditation practice with the "perfect body" image, then later on the Nintendo game cube… I don't even have time to play video games and yet I crave them. I used this meditation to watch the game break, rust, decompose, and add pollution and junk to the earth. I see that the world is constantly changing, and so are we. Why get attached?
~ Sarah Longwell

You can be a support for others but you can't do it for them, and you can't give them the ideas of how to do it. This is because your ideas and your path are different from what theirs would be. It's the hardest thing – to be compassionate without "rescuing" people!
~ Monica Ek

[Tonglen meditation practice during 4-5 hour wait at a medical clinic] Relating to all the pain that I was seeing in front of me in the waiting room made me feel a need to start my meditation… In the room, I also did Tonglen for my dad who was trying to save his company… I focused on my inner narcissistic self-cherishing. I imagined a black cloud which had the resemblance of tar and imagined breathing it in. This cloud entered my body to dissolve my narcissism. I then proceeded to turn that dark cloud into a healing light of love. Each breath I took in absorbed the suffering my father was feeling and each breath out I was sending across the country unconditional love to him. .. I hope my dad could feel something being lifted from him.
~ Megan Gilpin

[CSAC at Inland Temporary Homes] I used Tonglen meditation with the children. For one of the boys, I focused on the absence of his father … how his mother struggles support the two of them… breathing in all of his suffering and having it become a black cloud within me. I then breathed out and wished for him to be free of his suffering and to be free of all the things causing him pain and anger. I breathed out love and joy for him and wished him true happiness. After taking a few deep breaths, I found myself feeling more patient and in tune with him. I did not look at him with judgment or pity but rather with love… From the Dalai Lama, I learned that we are all responsible for universal compassion and, by being rid of the idea and mask of pity, I was able to have a more open and level mindset in all situations I am engaged in.
~ Paige Sumida

This week's meditation was especially powerful for me. I chose to take in the suffering of my mom because she has been having a particularly rough time lately. She recently found out that she has a terminal illness, and I have seen her spirit drop dramatically. I focused very closely and thought of all the emotional as well as physical suffering that she has been experiencing. I was aware of each breath and I kept visualization the black cloud growing with each of her worries. Pretty soon, I felt as though I had come more to terms with her illness and I felt more relaxed as well. It was almost as if a weight was being taken off of my shoulders each time I breathed in her suffering and replaced it with pure love.
~ Jennifer Nance

Ever since class yesterday, I have been practicing the breathing in of others' suffering and breathing out kindness and happiness to all, especially when I can see that they are in some sort of physical or mental pain. When I went running yesterday, I focused on breathing in all the pain that people out there in the world were feeling when they were exercising or experiencing physical stress. . . . All the stress and pain together created a big, dark cloud, and I slowly tried to bring it into my heart, allowing it to pierce and pop my narcissistic feelings. I then began to cultivate a sense of great happiness inside of me. I felt a white strong light growing from my heart and then radiating out from all corners and sections of my body. I brought the rays of light to people I knew, and in some instances, it was a piece of me running to give the person a hug or a lending hand. An overwhelming calm came over me, a great feeling of satisfaction and joy spread from all parts of me. I felt a high that I do not think I have ever felt before.
~ Annastasia Kaessner

I practiced Tonglen at the Alzheimer's home today. There are a couple women that get very frustrated when they don't understand or when they can't express themselves. One woman, Maria, had never felt comfortable enough to speak to me before, although I could tell that she was having a hard time. As I saw her struggle with a trivia game, I sat next to her calmly and practiced breathing in her suffering. I thought about all of the frustration she must feel, as well as the heartache from recently losing her husband. Soon, I calmly pointed out how to play the game. She turned to me and, for the first time, told me "Thank you." It was the most genuine and heartfelt "Thank you" that I have ever heard. It was almost as if I could feel her soul telling me "Thank you." For the rest of the game, she was very serene and she thanked me repeatedly with a smile on her face all the while. She even introduced me to her son when he came to pick her up. I will never forget this interaction and now I know the immense power that a simple "Thank you" can hold.
~ Jennifer Nance

At tennis practice, everyone was a little sluggish and tired, and all of our bodies were sore from lifting weights the day before. One girl, in particular, was having a rough day. I noticed her posture was down, and her emotional state was negative. I knew that it was a great time to practice Tonglen, with her obvious suffering. With every breath I took in, I told myself that I was taking in her pain, and, when I breathed out, that I was releasing some healing and positive energy. I could have sworn I saw a difference in her posture and attitude almost immediately. It was as if she realized that she had the power to turn things around, and it was amazing seeing such a change in being. I wanted to cheer her on and verbally encourage her, but I decided to do Tonglen and silently cheer her on instead.
~ Paige Sumida