Give Inner Peace a Chance

Studies suggest it can lower your blood pressure, reduce your likelihood of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease, or help control symptoms of asthma or fibromyalgia. It’s free, it has no known side effects, it doesn’t require preauthorization, prescription or the negotiation of a childproof bottle cap. And it happens just about every week at Moravian College.

Meditation is a particularly helpful tool for anyone who works in an academic setting, says Don St. John, chair of the religion department. “It’s good for stress relief and relaxation,” he explains. “But it also improves your concentration.” A little over a year ago, he and colleagues Ron Kline (director of counseling) and Carol Moeller (chair of the philosphy department) decided to bring the benefits of meditation to the Moravian community. So most Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m, their informal meditation circle meets at the Reeves Library (bottom level, south end). No appointment is necessary and all are welcome to attend. Each week’s 45-minute session typically includes a mix of regulars and newcomers.

What will you find when you get there? Not incense, lotus positions or chanting—just a circle of chairs. As you sit comfortably with eyes closed, a prerecorded voice talks you through twenty minutes or so of breathing exercises and body scanning (progressive awareness and relaxation of tense muscles). A second session follows, without vocal instruction. The techniques are easy to learn and simple to do, Don says. “You don’t need to have any prior experience or be in particularly good shape,” he adds.