After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in neuroscience, my intention was to immediately attend medical school. However, life took its course and I decided to spend two years traveling through India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
During my trip, I spent ten days in northern Thailand at a Buddhist monastery. I was taking a course, or “vipassana”, at the International School of Buddhism in Chiang Mai. This was not a typical class with pencils and paper, but ten days of silence and meditation. I listened to lectures from a monk on the importance of balancing the internal and external natures, as well as the significance of using one’s heart to live fully in every moment. My meditations brought me newfound clarity and peace of mind.
After returning to Miami Beach this past August I decided to bring the practice of meditation to my alma mater, Miami Beach Senior High School. I have previously volunteered with students there and saw (as well as remembered) the stresses of that age. I discovered later that 20,000 schools in New York, California and Michigan are already practicing meditation daily as part of school wide curriculum, but Florida has nothing of the sort (we are not particularly known for our education standards). Further, students do not have any exposure to the importance of mental health or education on balancing their hectic and stressful lives.
As of October of this year,I continue to visit Miami Beach High students Monday through Friday after school for 30 minutes. We meet in the same class everyday, and talk about meditation, its importance, and the techniques involved in its practice. I have a teacher sponsor who is present at all times, as well as 10 very excited and involved students. My goal is to eventually have this practice institutionalized as part of the daily curriculum, either for ten minutes before the start of each class, or during an assigned block.
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Funded by Miami, FL (January, 2013)