Students ward off stress with meditation club

Photo by Sara Schmitt

The academic rigors of a Tech education are no secret. As America’s future workforce trudges through its Midtown Atlanta campus, a common sentiment begins to form: this place is stressful. Though opportunities for extracurricular activities and exercise are abundant on campus, one student organization strives to provide an alternative method for the Tech community to combat stress.

The Meditation Club has begun offering weekly meditation classes to help teach mindful and
productive meditation but also to help facilitate the creation of a community which values what meditation offers and supports those who practice it.

Facilitating these classes is Meditation Club officer, Suraj Sehgal, who believes community and a place to practice are the most important things the classes offer students.

“We spend so much of our lives constantly busy, engaging with the outside world nonstop. Honestly, with the meditation class, I hope to provide an opportunity for students to step back and bring their attention within, to learn how to spend more time with just themselves, with no distractions,” Sehgal said.

Not only does this connection help individuals, but it helps to create a stronger, kinder community, one which values progress and presence.

“Imagine if Georgia Tech was known not only for its bright, passionate, and world-changing
students, but also for having students who are genuine, balanced and kind,” Sehgal said.

“In today’s world, it has become so important for us to be able to connect with ourselves, to not only be aware of the present moment but also be heartfully responsive to any given situation,” he continued.

Seghal believes that meditation can play a major role in making this vision a reality, and hopes that these classes help to spread and explain the culture of meditation while getting rid of any misconceptions that people may have regarding the activity.

First, meditation must be understood. From the outside, it can seem simple or easy, just emptying one’s head. However, it takes intense concentration to make it productive.

“Meditation is about bringing your attention to one thing. Some meditations will focus on the breath, others will focus on imagining your joys and fears. The kind of meditation I do and teach is called Heartfulness, which focuses on the heart, helping people connect with the very
organ that literally keeps us alive and metaphorically brings us all together,” Sehgal explained.

This concentration does not come easily, however. If the fullness of meditation is to be experienced, much patience and persistence is required.

“Treat it like an experiment — don’t get discouraged if your first time is not some amazing peaceful experience. It usually never is. Meditation is an ongoing process, and while it might seem slow, the benefits you feel are real and sometimes hard to quantify. Again, it all comes down to experiencing it for oneself!” Sehgal said.

Seghal, who began meditating when he was 17, speaks from experience when he says that
meditation takes time, persistence, and dedication.

“It is an incremental process, which is why coming to weekly sessions can help provide a sense of consistency when practicing meditation. It has been amazing to see people who once would struggle with keeping still report, after just a few weeks, how they are getting better at feeling connected and bringing their attention back to their hearts,” Sehgal said.

However, whether you go once or become a regular, Seghal believes that the tools learned can help in many ways.

“I know that someone only needs to learn how to meditate once in order for them to have it as a tool that they can use for the rest of their lives. Whether it’s to help them go to sleep, to feel peace during a turbulent time in their life, or to try to find their personal purpose,” Seghal said.

So whether you’re looking to get into meditation, find a meditation community, or just try something new, these classes are a great way to reduce stress and become more connected with oneself. Classes are held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in DM Smith 011, and Meditation Club meetings are held Monday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.

If meditation provides nothing else, “it is a way of taking a step back, reminding myself that I am alive, and taking a moment to invest in myself, by doing something that many of us have seem to forgotten ­— to just be,” Seghal concluded.