Meditation is proven to be a successful way to reduce stress, emotions of fear, sadness and anger.
“Happiness is produced by the left side of our brain, and when one is stressed, the left brain shuts down,” guest speaker George Haas, said. “Meditation is an effective way to learn how to reduce the stress in your life and to turn your left brain back on.”
When not guest speaking at GCC, Haas is an experienced meditation teacher at the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society in Los Angeles.
The mix of students, teacher and faculty at the second workshop for the semester on Oct. 14, had to wait a while for the lecture to begin because Haas had forgotten his bell.
According to Buddhist meditation, one must ring a bell three times before the meditation starts and once when finished.
The Health Service’s Mental Health Adviser Crescent Orpelli, one of the organizers behind the workshop, went away to find one. She came back after five minutes with two alternatives, and although he laughed at the choice, Haas went with a shiny clerk bell.
After the class sat with their eyes closed in a relaxed pose, and inhaled and exhaled while counting their breaths, “one, two, three,” and then back down to one again for 10 minutes, Haas rung his bell once.
Haas said it was best to meditate before he started talking to better understand the workshop ahead.
The idea behind meditation is to explore what is already there, and to start living one’s life instead of just walking through it on automatic pilot in a state of unconsciousness.
“Our experience of the world is in our brain,” Haas said. “If one knows how to control it, one can shut out things such as anger, fear, and sadness and truly experience happiness.”
“Meditation will teach a person who they really are,” he said. “Many people, however, do not meditate, for they are afraid of what they might find out about themselves.”
There are a lot of different techniques, styles and types of meditations, but Haas recommended starting by meditating five minutes three times a week for the first week and then adding on five minutes for every week.
When he told the class this, some protested and gave excuses for not having enough time.
“Time is just a phenomena of our brain,” responded Haas.
The meditation workshops are part of a six-week series, which can be attended once, several or all times. The workshops are sponsored by GCC’s Health Center and the Staff Development Department. Faculty and staff get credits for attending and although students do not, they get a lot of useful information if this is something they are interested in.
The workshops have been offered several times over the past eight years. “We would be depriving the campus if we did not offer this opportunity,” Orpelli said, when asked why GCC provides the free workshops.
The workshops are usually run by Jeannie Townsend and take place on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in SR116.