This is Mental Health Awareness week. This year's events have created a lot of uncertainty across the world and most people are looking for a relief. A northern Illinois monk offers meditation as a remedy.
Bhante Sujatha practices Buddhism and has been a monk for over 40 years. He teaches at the Blue Lotus Buddist Temple in Woodstock. Sujatha normally travels the world to teach meditation but the pandemic forced him to switch to Zoom. He said more people are reaching out to him about the art.
“After COVID, people are so into meditation practice, daily practice,” Sujatha said. “And many people made the comments, you know, ‘Bhante,’ you know, ‘thank you so much [for] being available for us.’ And it's a big change in their life, because of the COVID.”
Sujatha suggested that people should first find a good meditation teacher and then practice loving kindness for themselves.
“Then we have to focus on the world because I'm always telling people [the] world is too big for us to focus,” he inserted. “But our inner world is a perfect size.”
Sujatha said if finding a teacher isn’t an option, people can still get started.
“First, people have to take few deep, long breaths and relax their body. And then make a kind of wish for the day or determination.”
He suggested chanting “I am well, I am happy, I am peaceful.”
He is also recommending the use of a meditation phone app. Sujatha has one called InsightTimer.
- Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.