The Cultural Diversity of the Calming Breath

by Marie Rockford **

Before it starts to get busy this semester balancing assessment and exam commitments with work, friends and family get started on your skills to ride the storm by introducing the calming breath.

The calming breath is achieved and valued in many cultural societies and spiritual traditions. From Buddhism and Hinduism to Chinese Confucianism to European Christianity; to indigenous animist and ancestor worship, the practice of meditation often includes the calming nature of breath awareness, reflection and prayer. A central theme strives for the art of being silent, receptive, empty, and attentive through meditation.

Within the Western Psychology, meditation is often based in ‘Mindfulness’ a very popular practice derived from Buddhist traditions of being aware of the moment. Mindfulness is a form of ‘Open Monitoring’ meditation, such as found in Vipassna meditation or some forms Taoist meditation.

Buddhist meditation, also includes some forms of Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others. These are ‘focused attention’ meditation.

So too, within the Islamic traditions there is Salat (the ritual of cleansing and salutation) five times a day. There is also Dhirk, the silent and / or the vocal repetition of the names of God. And, Sufi orders use differing meditations related to love and the heart, a personal favourite of mine. Yes I am a lover of Rumi. Other Sufi paths also practice zikr; the use of music or twirling as a focused attention on Allah.

Wondering what is available on campus around meditation then you could make inquiries with NUSA’s clubs and societies, check out the UON students event schedule, drop by counselling in the Student Services building or if you’re a postgrad student check out NUPSA‘s offerings on the Callaghan Campus.


** Marie is a Student Support Advisor located on the Sydney Campus.  If you’re interested in an App around cultural diverse meditation scripts then Marie has also done a review that will be published tomorrow on a multilingual app.

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