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Students are Coping with School and Stress Through Meditation

A Zoom screenshot from Oct. 14 of Dr. Yang speaking on the role of the pineal gland (third eye) in our central energy system.

During a stressful transition to an online semester, many American University students have used meditation as a means to cope with their stress. On Oct 14, 2020, renowned Qìgong specialist Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang spoke at an event hosted by the Black Wellness & Liberation Coalition. 

Ancient Chinese Daoist Qigong is a meditation practice that focuses on embryonic breathing and the immune system. It revolves around the central energy system of the human body and “protecting the center” as Yang explained. 

Students have made the transition to online learning in the midst of a global pandemic, and have used meditation as a way to cope. “It’s definitely made me be more aware of how I’m breathing in my daily life,” said fourth-year student Trinity Blessit, who attended the speech. “Now between all of my classes, once I finish a homework assignment, I make sure to implement the deep-breathing techniques he taught us. I’ve felt lighter in my mind, and within my body.”

Seventy-eight percent of high school and college students reported educational disruptions and according to Best Colleges, forty-four percent of students have questioned their ability to stay enrolled in college. This parallel is apparent in the classroom as students have expressed frustrations and complications with online learning. 

Yang’s speech provided the audience with a unique perspective on the detrimental role that stress can play in one’s body, mind, and spirit. He discussed the conscious and the unconscious mind, noting that too much thinking and not enough trust in nature can be detrimental. 

“We all survive in this society with a mask,” Yang said, “Without a mask, it would be hard to survive.” This semester, with online learning, many students have felt overwhelmed with the workload, so much that they aren’t able to take time for themselves. Yang’s speech analyzed how overworking can act as a mask to our overall well being. 

“The quarantine and an online semester have been very stressful,” said fourth-year student Saliho Toure. “It has drained me out of motivation and left my mental health in chaos. But all this was reversed when I began to meditate. Mediation has been helpful as it gives me a solution to keeping sane and stress-free during this crazy time.”

During the speech, Dr. Yang expressed how essential it was for humans to reconnect with nature. He said the conscious mind has overpowered the unconscious mind as society has sped up and forced people to overuse the conscious mind. 

“Meditation is my lifeline,” said fourth-year student Jada Olsen. “School is deeply stressful, and the amount of work that we get on the daily is unreal. We are faced with so many obstacles with so little time.” With the transition to online school, all three students complained of a significantly increased workload. However, with being at home, these students have dedicated more time to meditation in their sacred spaces. 

Olsen expressed her frustrations with how American University is conducting online classes, especially as it pertains to students of color. “AU is also a steady point of stress because of their lack of counseling services, and the continued dismissal of experiences of students of color,” said Olsen. “Because of this, I find it absolutely necessary to find peace and calm within my day and to use meditation as a place to experience my thoughts and my being.”

As Dr. Yang stated in his speech, part of meditation is grounding yourself and living in the present, not the past or future. “I can root myself in the present moment, and remember that this stress will not be forever, but it is my reality,” stated Olsen. “Meditation, in all forms, has been so beneficial, aiding my concentration, redirecting negative thoughts, helping my patience, and easing stressors in my every day.”

The quarantine presented many with the chance to reconnect with their subconscious, their intuition, and their third eye or the pineal gland. The third eye is located in the vertebrate of the brain near the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. According to the conscious database “Gaia”, the third eye is the “organ of supreme universal connection”. 

Using the third eye, Yang encouraged us to work on our inner selves, and how much negativity humans have imposed upon the earth. “Can you realize how ugly humans are?,” asked Yang, “Can we find a way to change it?" Qiong mediation is one extremely effective way to open the third eye and achieve this realization. 

Dr. Yang gave an extremely impactful speech to American University students. At the end of the speech, the students expressed deep gratitude for Yang and his contribution to bettering their mental health. As life is continued amidst the pandemic, Qigong mediation is a lifestyle that many can incorporate to aid in decreasing stress.

Fourth-year student Saliho Toure meditates in his living room which he has turned into his sacred space.

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