On Sunday, April, 30th, The BOSS South County Homeless Project (SCHP) held a meditation sit-in! Here is why …
This year BOSS has a special initiative for our residents and participants – the MIND–BODY–SPIRIT initiative. It is aimed at feeding not just body with food, but also filling up our community with activities that feed the soul with activities like gardening, artistic expression, physical activities through sports, and learning the art of personal storytelling through writing, song, and spoken-word. When the leadership team at our SCHP asked about finding a volunteer to lead group meditations, it seems like a perfect fit!
We posted the ask on VolunteerMatch, put out a call on Social Media, and placed an ad on Craigslist.org. Enter Jessica Huai.
Jessica has been meditating for four years and has been working with Meditation Masters from a world-renowned Buddhist Institute in Tibet. Her goal is, “to become a Meditation Master.” Her training through the Institute, Larung Gar, requires her to complete a specific number of meditative hours and to volunteer her time sharing meditation with others through teaching and leading.
Meditation has conclusive, scientifically validated benefits to the individuals who practice it regularly. It has been shown to increase a sense of calm and concentration, lower blood-pressure and relative stress levels. Many people believe that meditation also increases the body’s ability to rest and heal.
Our SCHP facility is a special place. Alameda County has exclusive access to the beds of this co-ed facility and they refer adult individuals with emotional and mental health as well as addiction concerns in this location. Because of the special needs of the residents, the ability to feel calmer, concentrate and focus, and lower relative stress levels can improve the lives of all the residents and staff.
We had 10 residents and staff show up to the event, and everyone felt the calming and empowering benefits. Jessica has busy weekends, so she might suggest a fellow meditation practitioner to show up in the next few weeks until her schedule opens back up again. It would be amazing to see the BOSS SCHP residents and staff continue to embrace the practice.
One of the most beautiful moments of the day was between Jessica and one of our residents, Ms. Fang, whose only spoken language is Mandarin. Fantastically, Jessica’s first language is Mandarin! When Jessica started speaking to Ms. Fang perked up and smiled and chatted merrily. Cindy, a woman who has meditated casually for years, and has worked at SCHP for almost two years said that the exchange was the happiest she has seen Ms. Fang since she moved to the facility!
It was a beautiful day and a wonderful time. The entire community benefited form Jessica’s attentions, some more than others.