In a calm and relaxing atmosphere, people gathered around Ahl-e Qulub, a Persian meditation music group, Tuesday night to listen, enjoy and self-meditate to the melodies ringing throughout the University Ballroom.
Ahl-e Qulub member and senior English major Alex Hill told the audience the purpose of the music is not to come to an epiphany, but simply to come away from the experience with a light heart.
“The reason we use music is because, although you can practice meditation by itself, no matter where you go in the world…music is something that resonates with people,” Hill said.
For a few minutes, or for longer, you are kind of taken away from all of the day-to-day things that distract you, stress you out and put a damper on your life, he said.
“Meditation brings you to the present moment,” he said. “Generally when we listen to music though, the effect of the song doesn’t always sit within us in a permanent way.”
Hill said music helps brings you to this desired present moment and gives you a positive meditative experience.
Meditation has many benefits, Hill said, and can help with issues such as anxiety and depression. “Meditation slowly helps you overcome those things and they will gradually fade away. You will wake with more of the positive qualities that we all have inside of ourselves,” he said.
Ahl-e Qulub then led the audience into a five-minute, silent meditation.
Audience members were suggested to think of one thing that brings them peace and happiness, to focus on that while breathing in, holding the breath for 30 seconds, and then slowly releasing the breath.
Following the meditation, Ahl-e Qulub began their musical meditation performance.
Along with soft singing melodies, the group used percussion instruments, including congas, djembes and dafs, to enhance the meditation experience.
The group sang several songs, and audience members were encouraged to partake in silent, personal meditation practice while the group performed.
At the conclusion of the last song, Ahl-e Qulub brought the audience into another silent, five-minute meditation.
Eastern Meditation Club member and freshman Spanish education major Pamela Padilla said meditation has helped her let go of paradigms.
“I’ve let go of all of the things I thought the world had to be; I’m now content and happy with things that I wasn’t before,” Padilla said.
She said meditation can be based around religion, but it doesn’t have to be.
“Meditation can be geared with or without religion,” she said. “It’s a moment to relax and calm yourself so you can get back into the real world in a stress-free manner.
Sometimes when meditating, negative thoughts can still enter your mind, but Padilla said the key to overcoming these negative thoughts is to recognize the thought and then let it go.
Although Tuesday’s meditation gathering was a group effort, she said there are great things about meditating individually as well.
“Sometimes being in a group creates the energy you need,” she said. “But being alone allows you to be fulfilled as an individual, and you can meditate for as long as you want. It’s all about what you need in that moment.”
Ahl-e Qulub member and Eastern alumna Ntchana Batoma said things in her life have really slowed down, in a good way, since practicing meditation.
“I’m a lot more likely now to find beauty in the small things. I’m more likely to see love where I didn’t see it before,” she said. “I think when you start to meditate and cultivate the love within yourself, what really starts to happen is you see that love, light and beauty within other people too.”
She said she vividly remembers a time when she found the beauty in something so simple.
“I remember sitting and watching a dandelion just sway in the wind, and it was just one of the most beautiful things,” she said. “Before in my more fast-paced life, I wouldn’t have stopped to notice that.”
There are many forms of meditation techniques, but Batoma said it is suggested to stick to one form in order to build consistency and see results.
Alex Hill also reminded the audience that Eastern’s Meditation Club is always welcome to anyone interested in learning more about the practice of meditation.
Loren Dickson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]