Oh … Sit! brings meditation to the forefront of students’ minds

It is not only about yourself, but also about the world. For UBC's own Zen Sengha and Meditation Community, the desire to build a strong circle of meditation adepts led to the first "Oh ... Sit!" conference.

UBC Zen Sengha and UBC Meditation worked since December on a conference that they hoped shine a new light on the meditation community on campus.

"Oh... Sit!," which occurred on April 11, was a new way to show that the clubs' executives are taking meditation seriously and they want to introduce an intellectual, educational space into it.

The day-long conference introduced Kieran Fox, a PhD student who studies, among other things, mind wandering and circular thought processes that are involved in depression. Fox tackles the neurological benefits of meditation and anchors the practice in hard science.

The event pushed the boundaries of the solitary act of meditation, and stressed its social dimension. The class Maria Trujillo, head of UBC Meditation, took with speaker Magdalena Szpala helped her understand that other dimension.

“For me, [the class] really brought to the forefront how meditation is not only about the individual but it has a larger effect on the community around you,” said Trujillo. “Compassion is not just for you, it is for your friends, it is for your family, it is for the world.”

Trujillo, who is currently a community planning masters student, mustered the resources of UBC Meditation for the event in an effort to feature several different meditation workshops. Attendees will have a choice between two morning and two afternoon workshops. Chanting, extending compassion to the world, engaging with our environment were all possible choices for attendees to develop their meditative abilities.

“There might be a misconception that meditation will bring to you only positive emotions. I think meditation will definitely help calm you but meditation, in my experience, has helped me come more face to face with myself,” said Trujillo. “It is kind of 'the good, the bad and the ugly', and that is the beauty of it, I think.”