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You don’t have to practice formal sitting meditation to cultivate wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in the ordinary, but giving yourself a quiet space for retreat and reflection does help nurture quiet, calm and peace. Architect Sarah Susanka, whose Not So Big House books launched a movement in quality-over-quantity homebuilding, designed her house in St.
Tom and Flame Lutes’s off-the-grid home in Colorado didn’t have space for a designated shrine or meditation room, so they placed their altar in the corner of the bedroom, creating a sot that reminds them of their dedication to spiritual wakefulness first thing in the morning. Peter Lamoureux’s home in Fairfield, Iowa, a hub for Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners, includes a sweet, simple meditation space, strategically placed in the home’s northwest corner following the tenets of Sthapatya Ved, ancient Indian rules for orienting and placing buildings to promote health, good fortune, and higher consciousness. It was my honor to meet yoga and meditation master Richard Freeman, one of my personal heroes, when we photographed his treehouse-like meditation room in his Boulder, Colorado, home. Thanks to growing awareness of the mental and physical health risks associated with stressful situations, many colleges have started reaching out to its strained student body by opening up their own meditation rooms. In 1982, Old Main, a Sam Houston State University administrative building from 1889, caught fire and burned to the ground despite the grueling 17-hour effort to save it. When students of faith requested campus space to practice and pray, the school responded by opening up the Tilden Room at the Martin Luther King Jr.
Richland College, part of the Dallas Community College District, provides a lovely outdoor meditative space gardened specifically as part of its Mind-Body Health Program. Few colleges take their unofficial or official meditation spaces as seriously as this California school. Sometimes, the best meditative spaces arena€™t explicitly designated for deep spiritual inquiry; they inherently possess relaxing qualities many will find absolutely perfect when they need to retreat and think. Practitioners of all faiths and, of course, individuals who identify with no faith at all are welcome at the MIT Chapel. This Minnesota college experienced a splash of controversy when the designated meditation space adapted itself to meet the needs of Muslim students, to the point ACLUa€™s Minnesota chapter ended up launching an investigation. Because of its private school status, Oberlin College enjoys greater flexibility when it comes to addressing the diverse spiritual and religious requirements of its student body. The majestic Welch Hall provides housing to Yale University freshmen enrolled at Davenport College, but it also hosts the popular Breathing Space initiative. I ran into some pretty incredible meditation spaces while I was editing Natural Home, and I saw how greatly the homeowners who gave themselves this luxury benefit. Paul, Minnesota, according to her own rule that every room should serve several different needs to keep space requirements down. The shrine holds a collection of sacred items that embody reminders of Flame’s and Tom’s spiritual paths. Richard melds decades of yoga study and practice with Zen and Vipassana Buddhism, Sufism, and Western philosophy, and his videos and tapes on ashtanga yoga and yoga breathing are bestsellers.
But encouraging wellness through thought, prayer, breathing exercises, stretching, and other contemplative actions is nothing new to campuses across the country.


But the ruins remain, dubbed the Old Main Pit, with steep stairs and lush greenery winding around whata€™s left of the scorched stone walls.
Near the campus lake, students, faculty, staff, and visitors seeking silent solitude walk a winding labyrinth constructed of gravel, stone, and shrubbery. It boasts one of the first dedicated rooms devoted entirely to meeting the growing demand for quiet places to think, pray, relax, and spiritually punch lifea€™s little migraines in their smug little faces. It also holds regular yoga classes for those wanting to learn more about the discipline or preferring group meditative efforts.
The undeniably original structure often plays host to interdenominational events, but more often than not provides a quiet, minimalist interior ideal for sinking into a book or thought. Islamophobia has yet to start blanketing the Japanese Gardens, however, so they remain a safer, less-than-incendiary option for visitors of all religious perspectives seeking peace of mind and prayer (if they pray). And because it does not align itself with any denomination, the school famous for its social justice participation has done an excellent job of making sure everyone accesses the meditative and prayer spaces they need. Visitors enter through Entryway C and find themselves in an interfaith room specifically meant to conduct creative and contemplative mental and emotional states. She agonized, at first, over whether to include a single-use meditation space in her attic, but her longing for a place where she could escape and perform her daily meditation rituals won out.
There are ways of transforming your ordinary backyard space into an outdoor meditation space.
Despite its religious origins, the art and spirit of meditation work just as effectively in atheists and agnostics, and one does not necessarily require a designated space to practice. Many Bearkats head here on graduation day to snap photos of themselves standing near the richly-textured brickwork or inside the famous (on campus) archway. Its design hails from the one found at Chartres Cathedral and takes an estimated 15 to 20 minutes to fully cycle around.
Redlands College provides yoga mats, soft cushions, and kneeling benches in addition to the usual chairs, and the decor features flowing curtains, high ceilings, and a color scheme picked especially for maximum calming potential.
More independent types who still prefer some degree of guidance can visit the buildinga€™s small library to check out books or recordings to walk them through a contemplative session.
Co-operated by Normandale Community College and the Japanese Garden Committee, it features peaceful lakes, stone pathways, and painstakingly cultivated trees, grasses, flowers, and shrubs merged with artistic and architectural structures inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics.
Each religion organization on campus is allowed an hour or an hour and a half of studying their preferred texts.
Here, surrounded by her favorite books, candles and incense, Sarah found strength to write and rewrite her first book, The Not So Big House, when the publisher kept sending it back and asking for changes. Sometimes, a troubled mind, and this can come from any student studying in college – whether it be a nursing, health, counseling, medical coding and billing, psychology,etc. When there arena€™t any events going on or drunk freshmen making out in the grass, it provides a curious, quiet space to contemplate life, the universe, and why the Huntsville natives hate you so, so much.


Muslim enrollees in particular congregate here for Salah, but anyone holding a valid University of California at Berkeley ID is allowed to enter and meditate.
As the school proudly points out, the concept of using labyrinthine structures as tools to induce a contemplative mental state dates back to ancient eras and left indelible marks on Buddhism, Christianity, and other faiths.
Many professors even book entire courses in the meditation room and base their syllabi around challenging students to explore what the practice has to offer, no matter their religious inclinations. Soft, warm lighting, cozy pillows and couches, and a red-and-brass aesthetic create an overarching atmosphere of love, peace, and security. MIT Chapela€™s cylindrical shape lacks windows, as visitors are meant to turn their contemplations and inspirations more inward than they would if nature and sweaty or freezing undergrads phased in and out of their sight.
Because the scenery so seamlessly integrates the manmade with the natural, meditators easily focus on their interplay and the overarching philosophical questions it nurtures. Jewish and Muslim students prepare food at the Kosher Halal Co-Op in Talcott Hall, which also opens up its weekly Shabbat dinners to anyone of any faith wishing to attend, as well as Shabbat services. Other activities include art and meditation classes, with plenty of open quiet time (laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, and the like are completely banned) available in between scheduled events. In that room she found the voice to write a book that has inspired people across the world to see that smaller is better in housing.
The school will be establishing a permanent, interdenominational worship space at the Lower Sproul Plaza, but Tilden Meditation Space (as ita€™s currently called) still provides a wholly appropriate atmosphere. Whenever school is in session, locals and students alike can sign up to take free, guided classes in several different meditative disciplines and styles. Unless nature and sweaty or freezing undergrads are their personal Bodhi tree equivalents, in which case theya€™re kind of up Dawsona€™s Creek without a paddle.
Muslim students practice Salah in the dedicated Muslim Prayer Room in Wilder Hall, though during other hours anyone may enter and quietly read, pray, or meditate.
For covering many people choose a gazebo or pergola that provides shade and protection from the elements. The following list represents a mix of particularly notable meditation spaces at schools unaffiliated with any one denomination, some dedicated exclusively to thought and (when applicable) prayer, others boasting some notably unique or breathtaking settings that just might work for some enrollees. With its high windows and giant stained-glass window featuring stylized angels and a cool, calming color palette, students of all religious and non-religious backgrounds are definitely not complaining about its efficacy. Also in Wilder Hall is the Meditation Room, which a€“ like many of the others listed here a€“ serves an interdenominational (even nonreligious) community of anyone seeking their own personal happiness and peace.



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