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Meditation clears mind, connection

Attendees of local monthly Buddhist class say it helps them with anxiety, enhances their personal be

Posted: August 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.

A Santa Clarita home hosts a monthly meditation meeting every second Tuesday.

 

By Martha Garcia

For The Signal



For nearly four years, a home in a quiet neighborhood in Santa Clarita has turned to a meditation center once a month. Ten to 15 people come together the second Tuesday of every month to practice Buddhist meditation alongside one another.

Jonathan Kraut was appointed as the Buddhist delegate to the Interfaith Council in Santa Clarita.

As a delegate from the Theravada temple in North Hollywood, one question kept coming up. Everyone wanted to know about Buddhist mediation and philosophy. Santa Clarita Valley doesn’t have a Theravada temple, so the monks asked Kraut to turn his home into a meditation center and teach the classes.

A practice

The quiet gong of a bell, reverberating across the room, signals the beginning of the first meditation. Participants are gathered in a rough circle, sitting on pillows on the floor; those who cannot sit on pillows, sit in chairs.

Buddhist meditation has many forms. Kraut uses two of the most standard forms, internal (Mehta) meditation and external meditation. Mehta meditation is a form of meditation where practitioners bless other beings gradually, blessing beings from within their own circle, neighborhood, geographic location, out to as far as the Earth, solar system and even galaxy.

“Buddhism is about improving human kind and quality, independent of any other force,” Kraut said. “What’s great is that we are learning together and expanding our thoughts together. This isn’t a religion; it’s a practice.”

Another connection

Students of Buddhist meditation in Kraut’s class were also Jewish, Christian and Catholic believers.

“Buddhists don’t pray to Buddha,” said Kraut. “Meditation is a way to cultivate and calm your mind. When you do that, you can serve others more appropriately.”

Students who practice Buddhist meditation say it helps calm anxiety, ease stress, allows them to anger less quickly, increase creativity and especially enhances their own personal beliefs and religion.

“Buddhist meditations and religion go hand in hand,” said Julie Molinare.

She was practicing Buddhist meditation for a year when the Jewish high holidays came around again. That is when she felt the meditations truly enhanced her religious practice.

“It was the first year it really clicked. It helped me to be more present,” she said.

“Meditation offers me clarity and focus,” said Harriette Knight. “Through my meditation, I feel more connected to God than I have ever been at any time in my life.”

Many of the students meditate on a daily basis away from the class setting, and some will even mediate with their children.

Derek Yard, who has been attending Kraut’s class for three and a half years, relies on the class.

“It helps me with complicated problems in life,” Yard said. “It really helps me to clear my mind.”

Meditation helps each student at the class in one form or another. Every student says they won’t miss monthly meditation for any reason.

“God isn’t just in a church or a temple,” Molinare said. “God is everywhere, wherever you can connect. Meditation really enhances that.”

Kraut will be host an introductory meditation class 7-8:30 p.m. on Aug. 28. The regular meditation classes is held every second Tuesday at 7 p.m. To sign up or for more information, call 661-618-1105 or email krautjonathan@yahoo.com.

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