Arts, Central New York, Health

Meditation Trend Growing in Syracuse

President of the Studnet Buddhist Association, Jesse Nichols, at Hendricks Chapel (c) 2015 Connor Hakan


By Connor Hakan SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Hendricks Chapel is known for religious services, but a new trend in meditation has risen in the Chapel and across Syracuse.

There are also new meditation groups starting up around Syracuse, including Thekchen Choling USA, a Buddhist temple, which opened in 2014.

People sit still for 30 minutes and try to focus on their breath rather than their thoughts or to plan for the future.

People going into meditation are mostly looking for peace, spirituality, and to destress, Jesse Nichols, President of the Student Buddhist Association, said.

Part of meditating is being present and not being stuck in the past or future.

“At first its waving, the consciousness feels like its waves, its rough, but then you keep focusing on your breath and without your effort, everything settles out on its own, all it takes is attention,” Nichols said.

Central New Yorkers are increasingly trying and attending free meditation sessions.  The increase in availability to group meditation is part of the appeal.

As a teacher, we work with our mind and it’s always thinking and thinking and with meditation it’s just the contrary.  It’s to learn how to forget about thinking,” Mireille Goodisman, a retired teacher, said.  Goodisman started meditation three months ago and said that she liked the availability of Hendrick’s sessions and the location.

“The way I feel in here, translates, and helps me to keep a more steady head when the chaos gets crazier,” Andrea Call, a pharmacist at Crouse Hospital, said.  Technology and the rat race of life is making it harder for people to focus and meditation can help, Call said.

I hope it’s not just a fad, then is a flash in the pan, and goes away because my experience is people that practice it regularly find it to be so valuable,” Bonnie Shoultz, Buddhist Chaplain at Hendricks Chapel, said.