The Brown Meditation Community is a student-run group, not affiliated with any particular school of meditation, that meets every day of the week for meditation and various bonding activities. The group is currently organizing many new initiatives in addition to the meditation, retreats, potlucks, and other social gatherings it currently organizes. These new initiatives include hosting students from schools in Providence, leading sits for Greek organizations, and facilitating regular community building workshops, according to Cooper Schwartz ’18.
Easy to join? – Yes! Any Brown or RISD student can join. Just show up to a meeting!
Big? – Usually six to eight people attend each meditation, although numbers dwindle during midterms and finals.
Time Commitment? – Meetings are 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, and 4:45 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. However, the time commitment is completely up to the members. Attendance is not required, but encouraged whenever one is able and wants to attend. Meetings on Tuesday through Saturday only include meditations, while Monday meetings include meditation followed by tea and discussion, and Sunday workshops consist of a 30 minute meditation and 45 minutes of community building activities.
Community? – While it was clear that most attendees didn’t know each other, this did not impede the meditation in any way. Also, the meditation community is working to build a more close-knit club through the Sunday workshops. It’s also important to note that there is no hierarchy within this group, meaning that there are no official leadership positions. Other than facilitators (selected through applications or personal references) and those with logistical responsibilities such as managing emails, the website, and finances, everyone is of equal positioning.
Fun factor versus future application factor? – 100% fun factor.
“On a practical level, the Brown Meditation Community helps me stay accountable with my meditation practice. It has been a very supportive environment since I joined my freshman year, and I have made a lot of quality connections and friendships through the BMC. It is also where I first learned how to meditate, and looking back, I can see that sticking with the practice and the community for the past three years has helped me grow in ways I would not have, at least at this stage in my life, and learn things I may never have learned. I have always perceived the BMC to be very accepting, and it has helped me become aware of and relate to my identities, thoughts, and mental patterns in a more useful, practical way. Of course, the meditation practices themselves have been extremely valuable in these experiences, but a supportive community like that of the BMC, with broad collective knowledge and experience as well as helpful resources, acts as the fertile soil in which the seeds of a practice can take root, establish a foundation, and gradually yield rewards.” – Cooper Schwartz ’18
Are you interested in meditating but don’t know where to start? This community might be a good place for you, as it offers a very warm and inclusive vibe. During the meeting I attended, we sat on plump, spherical cushions as the facilitator led us through a calming meditation, and afterwards, we were offered abundance of types of tea to choose from. Discussion jumped easily from topic to topic—from meditation literature and studies to science fiction and Star Wars. Everyone was welcoming and nice, and more than willing to answer any questions.
Note: I want to acknowledge that were this community westernizing an Eastern practice, I would not necessarily have picked up on it, as a person raised in Western society. However, it seems like if this were a concern of yours, members and facilitators would be open to discussing it.