Incorporating meditation as nonviolence principle

It seems at times that the world cannot become more violent than it is. Yet, at the next turn, we’re faced with another horrid shooting or shocking headline of the church or the country’s failures to protect human rights or to exercise environmental care.

Some students here in Tiffin are trying again this year to help reverse the direction of our country and help make a difference by preventing violence in their school and home. They are learning at least six nonviolence principles — actual skills that deal with the violence they might encounter.

Besides these regular skills, the sixth-grade mentoring class at Tiffin Middle School and the seventh-grade religion class at Calvert Catholic also will learn to meditate this year. Evidence clearly shows many worthwhile reasons for practicing meditation as a regular practice in our lives (see liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation).

We also can look at a recent international episode to see how this practice of meditation encourages clarity of mind and the inner freedom to deal with life as it is around us.

Without intending it, on June 23, Ekapol Chanthawong, the young coach of the Wild Boars football team, placed his 12 young charges in serious danger by taking them deep into a mountain cave system in Thailand. However, using meditation techniques learned in a monastery where he grew up from the age of 10, this young coach is credited with keeping the boys calm through the nine-day ordeal as they waited for rescuers to reach them.

In fact, videos showed the boys not only looking calm but also smiling weakly for the cameras — with Mr. Chanthawong looking weakest of them all, having shared much of his own food rations with the boys. During this ordeal, the young coach apparently was able to communicate the techniques of deep breathing and intense concentration through meditation to keep the boys from being overcome by their own fears and feelings of isolation in the cave.

They had quiet time — time and space to be silent apart from noise and confusion. They found that meditation strengthened them in their inner core to be the person who could maintain peace within himself.

Besides bringing this inner peace to a person, meditation in silence in our lives encourages emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical health in obvious and subtle ways. With much practice, the discipline becomes a necessary part of our day.

Sister Paulette Schroeder,

Tiffin

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