Having a couple of days off and building up the adventures to the awesome fireworks on the 4th has been amazing. Spending my weekend in Duluth, MN, I saw and realized a lot of things. People everywhere were in a very good mood and everyone was just so happy. This feeling that I was getting reminded me of how proud I am to be an American. There have been many things happening that has been hurting how I felt, about who I am and as an American. Being Asian American, a person of color, there were times when I felt like I did not belong, even though I was born in this country. I have many hopes for my country because I know it’s an amazing place. Times are hard but on the 4th of July, looking around and enjoying everyones’ smile and laughter, it made me feel at peace and very thankful.
Happy and thankful, I remember why people love this place. The freedom and opportunities we can get here, it gives people hope. Despite all that has been happening, everyone still got together to celebrate Independence Day in America. The multiple fairs across the country just shows how much we all do love this place.
Hello everyone. Did the title of this blog post get you? Sorry, it won’t be about the master of meditation but it will be about my thoughts and experience on meditation. Feel free to keep reading or if you aren’t interested, check out our other posts!!
Anyways, during my sophomore year in college, I had taken a class on religions of the world. Three fourths of the way through the class, there was an assignment that required us students to physically attend a religious event at a site of our choice. My friend, Nancy, and I decided to go to the Zen Meditation session at Bluestone Zen Practice Community (dedicated to the practice of Zen and the fundamentals of Buddhism). I never really thought about how hard meditation could be. It just seemed so easy, having to sit most of the time. After this session and lessons from class, I realized that meditation was more than just having your eyes closed and breathing.
Nancy and I entered the building not knowing what to expect. It was around 7am so there were no lights turned on. Curtains were not put up either so it created darker/dimmed lighting. Candles were lit and it was quiet, but in a way where everything just seemed so soothing and peaceful. The session finally started when it was time. We all sat on a pillow on the floor. There wasn’t much talking at all and so Nancy and I just did our best to follow along. The whole experience was eye opening, showing me that there is so much more to it. Having to clear my mind while meditating was so much harder than I thought. I kept talking to myself in my head and thinking about trying not to think. I just couldn’t seem to clear my mind, and still haven’t mastered it. In the end, I appreciated the art of meditating a lot more. I definitely saw how this could be a really good routine for my body and mind.
After reading the article written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on lessons from meditating with the Dalai Lama, it made me feel a sense of comfort and happiness. He talked about how he had a personal one-on-one meditation session with the Dalai Lama. The part that I loved from his article was the part where he talked about how the Dalai Lama smiled and laughed while replying back with “After doing daily for 60 years, it is still hard.” I felt so comforted that someone as holy as the Dalai Lama was so sweet and encouraging. The overall article also talked about how Dr. Sanjay Gupta became a changed man because of this experience and the decision of applying what he learned to his everyday life routine.
Giving things a chance before judging was the reminder that came to me after this experience and again, after reading this article. Meditation is a way to calm the mind and help people with their body. It is just so cool to me now because there is such a deep meaning to it, and it helps a person in so many ways. Keeping the body healthy and staying in shape is so important but sometimes we forget to help the mind. Definitely give meditation a try. It won’t be easy but it will definitely benefit and satisfy you.
I highly recommend you to read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s article. Click the link below to go directly to the webpage.
The article, Why Asian-American Seniors Have High Rates Of Depression But Rarely Seek Help,” written by Kimberly Yam has great detail showing culture differences and how it affects the daily lives of many. I loved how this article was able to snap a reminder into my head about my parents and grandparents. I will be restating some of the things from the article and giving my opinion on the topic.
In the Asian-American community, health is one of the biggest topics that become touchy to talk about, especially with the seniors. Overall health problems are not usually brought up unless one is really needing help; but with mental health many seniors do not seek help for it at all. According to the American Psychological Association, “Asian Americans are almost three times less likely than their white counterparts to seek mental health services.” One of the main factors to this is fear of being shameful. With the Asian culture, pride is very important and that is why some things may not be said or done in order to not “embarrass” the family.
We have to remember that most of our elders have experienced trauma from many of the world and life tragedies that has happened. Adapting to a new place and experiencing the feeling of being separated because of culture and language can have a huge influence on how one may feel. Our seniors/elders in the Asian community may hide their feelings of sadness and loneliness in order to avoid burdening the family. With this, the younger generation of sons, daughters, relatives…etc., should reach out when they feel that there may be some kind of loneliness.
When reading this article, I started thinking about my grandfather. When he was still on this beautiful planet, I met him once when he came to visit my family from Laos. He was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He smiled a lot and didn’t talk about things much. When we went for walks, he seemed so peaceful. He always stared at the sky and just looked and admired the landscape. Thinking back now, I wish I spent more time showing him many beautiful things in life. I also wish I talked to him more about his past, present, wishes, happiness, and sorrows. Just thinking about how he was when he had visit made me realize that he had a lot of sadness and pain still in him. This realization definitely made think more about checking on my loved ones.
Loneliness and depression can happen to anyone. It may be harder for some to express the fact that they have these feelings. In the Asian culture, admitting that you need help isn’t really a thing. Elders may probably address mental health issues in different ways, like headaches, sleepless nights, pain in the stomach…etc. So it is important for loved ones to ask and spend the time to really try and help.
I am Asian American and when I was reading this article, the descriptions and beliefs about the Asian American culture definitely fit mine. My thoughts and culture may not fit every persons’ but overall, being able to fit and connect to these descriptions and beliefs made me more aware of possible emotions and thoughts my elders may be having. Mental illness is not thought about a lot at all in the Asian community. I hope that my brief article will inspire you to just really look after your loved ones also and remember to be aware of possible symptoms of depression or loneliness.