Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement.

Today’s message is from our own Penn Assistant Chaplain Sana Saeed:

“Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work” – Thich Nhat Hanh

It has been such a stressful time of transition and uncertainty with the rise of COVID-19. In times of crisis I’ve found myself creating a routine at home grounded in meditation, which increases my resilience as a chaplain and as a person of color. Meditation allows me to reconnect with my body when I begin to feel disconnected because of fear or anxiety. Focusing on intentional breathing helps me be mindful of my internal state by raising my awareness of the places within myself where I feel good and the places within myself that may need more care. The benefits of meditation are immense including reducing stress, increasing focus, calmness, etc… I invite you to take a 5 minute pause today to try out a simple meditation. 

Here are five steps to start:

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Consider sitting on a cushion or just the floor. You may want to light a candle and set an intention for how long you’d like to meditate before beginning. 
  2. Settle in and close your eyes. 
  3. Begin to focus on your breath. Breathing deeply in and out. It may help to count to six while you take a deep breath in and count again when you exhale out. 
  4. If your thoughts wonder, don’t worry, it happens. Be kind to yourself and move back to focusing on your breath and counting. 
  5. After 5 minutes, close your meditation by noticing how your body feels. Where does it feel good, sore etc..? How does your mind feel? Sit with what has risen and maybe try journaling the thoughts down before moving back into other activities. Most importantly, remember to be compassionate and kind to yourself as you close your meditation. 

There are many ways to meditate, so don’t worry about doing anything wrong. Feel free to adapt and add in things or meditate longer. I hope this practice helps you stay grounded and rooted as we move into our first week of classes online. 

Some Meditation Resources: