If you ever doubted the effectiveness of the contemplative life, we now have the definitive answer, Brown University has initiated a program that studies contemplation from many different aspects declaring it valid and relevant to 21st Century people.
I never doubted its effectiveness; actually I never thought to question it. As a high school student at the Passionist Prep in Warrenton Missouri, we spent 15 minutes a day meditating, that is kneeling (ok, half kneeling and half sitting) quietly reflecting in the chapel as a community. While I don’t remember waiting for that time like I often found myself waiting for lunch, dinner or to just get out of the classroom, I do remember feeling very much at peace and connected to those around me while there. I don’t ever remember wishing not to be there even though the smell of dinner being cooked down the hall often assaulted my senses persuading me to reflect more on what was in store for dinner than on the reflection I just read to start my meditation time.
It’s good to see Brown University, Stanford University and others getting on board and discovering the value of something contemplatives like the Passionists have been and continue to do for centuries. I suppose it’s good to know how the brain functions while meditating and the beneficial physical effects etc, but deep down I believe it’s just something you do, like eating and breathing.
Why do I bother to post this then? While watching the video I couldn’t help but be taken by the young college students who shared their positive experiences with the program. The children of the people I hang with will probably never go to the prestigious Ivy League Brown University. I suspect though, like the students at Brown, they might be interested in learning more about meditation and contemplation, things we Passionists are pros at. Maybe I can plan some introductory information on these practices and invite the young people in my world, whether I know them or not, to come and experience for themselves these life giving practices.