On Tuesdays from 5:15 – 5:40 p.m. and Thursdays from 12:25 – 12:50 p.m., geography professor Mark Miller hosts zen meditation classes inside Bond Hall. The classes are aimed for relaxation for his mind and to ease the consciousness during and after a stressful day.
Zazen, which is a nondenominational practice, focuses on meditation through “correct posture, observation and concentration.”
But to Dr. Miller, the art of Zazen is not used to achieve a goal of peace, but rather just focusing on meditation.
“In our tradition, we try not to be motivated by a goal that we want to achieve through zen meditation,” Miller said. “We simply zen.”
The classroom in Bond Hall can easily fit over 20 participants, but on Thursdays the classroom is only filled with about three to five participants. The 25-minute session includes complete silence and meditation while participants sit on bended knee guided by Miller’s instructions.
“It’s something that connects for some people and doesn’t for others,” Miller said. “We don’t push it real hard, we don’t work it real hard. I think you find out for yourself if it’s something that connects and potentially can be something big in your life.”
Although all persons are not able to make the sessions, Miller believes that meditation can help all, or only some. But, the Southern Miss community is welcomed to join Miller and his usual participants on their focus on zazen.
“You may like it, you may hate it,” Miller said. “But give it a try, get some instruction. A tradition of sitting in seated meditation, what we call Zazen — just see how it feels for you.”