Meditation group spreads message of mindfulness

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published June 29, 2016

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FARMINGTON HILLS/TROY — Farmington Hills is starting to say “om.”

Meditating is seemingly a growing trend in the city, a way to destress from daily struggles, Farmington Hills husband and wife James and Jyothi Joseph said June 23 at the Farmington Community Library’s main branch.

The meditation leaders in the Troy-based Heartfulness Institute discussed upcoming meditation courses and how nearly two decades ago, this would not have really been a topic.

“We are seeing an increased trend of people looking for something that brings inner peace,” James Joseph said. “There is (a) perceptible shift in the way the community has (dealt with stress).”

Today, Heartfulness programs have reached the Troy Public Library, North Farmington High School, the Farmington Community Library and even Cobo Hall, which featured a keynote address from Google’s Gopi Kallayil, author of “The Internet to the Inner-Net.”

After finishing up a Farmington Hills library event  last month, the Heartfulness Institute will hold its next public event 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays Aug. 25-Sept. 29. The six-week course, Learn to Meditate, will include group meditation sessions in the main library branch auditorium. The six-week course will discuss relaxation and meditation exercises, among other topics. People can register for one session or more at farmlib.org.

Jyothi Joseph said that they are both elated about the interest that meditation has received locally.

“(People) are mostly very interested to know that something like this is available, free of charge and easy to practice,” she said.

James Joseph, described as an instrumental leader in the Detroit Heartfulness movement and a certified trainer for the organization, said that he has practiced meditation for 25 years.

“Meditation is a process of training the mind, because the mind runs in all directions,” he said. “The whole process of meditation is how to train the mind and make it focus on a single object. You reach a level of concentration or you learn to concentrate or you are able to focus on things you want to do.”

Heartfulness is a worldwide meditation community, with a growing interest in Detroit, the couple said. The grass-roots, nonreligious organization wants to teach people how to decompress and focus through meditation.

Meditation is said to enhance peace of mind, productivity, performance and more. 

According to a 2015 study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 18 million people — or 8 percent of adults nationwide — have used meditation techniques, including meditation, yoga and massage therapy.

Jyothi Joseph said that they introduced the program to NFHS earlier this year because they wanted their son, who attended the school, and other students to experience meditation.

She added that as a member of a couple of PTAs in metro Detroit school districts, she also unveiled pilot mediation programs at a few middle and high schools. 

“So many schools introduced this quiet time as a means of social and emotional literacy,” Jyothi Joseph said. 

James Joseph added that meditation is found in many spiritual and religious groups.

“All we are doing is bringing it to the availableness of people,” he said. “Meditation brings about a state of mind which is more refined, which is more focused, which you can use to achieve goals of your life.”

He said their technique focuses on the heart so that the mind receives positive qualities from the heart, such as love and compassion.

“We bring the mind and the heart together, and the object of meditation is (to access) the source of light in the heart,” he said. “The mind automatically refines itself while … practicing this over a period of time. What we practice we become.”

From practicing for five minutes to an hour and beyond, meditation is what you make of it, but people initially meditate for about 30 minutes in the program.

“The actual process can vary from what our time is available,” James Joseph said, adding that he meditates for one hour every morning. “I wish I had more time.”

Adult Services Librarian Judy Donlin said that the couple approached the FCL about doing the program last spring. Because the library was running yoga programs and attendees showed an interest, they agreed.

“I had noticed that a lot of the participants would come (to me) after they had the yoga session …  and ask us for meditation CDs,” she said. “This happened quite a bit.”

Donlin said that there is great popularity in meditating.

“The idea is that they learn how to practice the techniques … when they feel like they need a moment to regroup; it is a way to cope with daily stresses,” she said. “I hope a lot of people take advantage of this opportunity.”

For more information, go to www.heartfulnessinstitute.org.

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