Learn About the Benefits of Meditation from Bhante Sujatha

Avatar photo Staff April 25, 2018
Bhante Sujatha

Everywhere you look it seems like people are espousing the virtues of meditation. Many studies have shown that meditation can make you feel calmer, help improve your memory and reduce stress, which can have the added benefit of improving your health as well.

That’s why we are especially excited to be hosting a meditation workshop on Friday, May 11, where participants will have the chance to experience both guided and silent meditation and also ask questions about how to cultivate and deepen their meditation practice. (The suggested donation for the workshop is $25).

The workshop will be led by Bhante Sujatha, leader of the Blue Lotus Temple, a world-renown meditation center in Woodstock, IL.

A native of Sri Lanka, Sujatha moved to the United States more than a decade ago with little more than the clothes on his back with the goal of teaching meditation to help people access deeper parts of themselves and feel more joy and happiness. Today, he leads more than 380 meditations a year all around the globe.

We recently caught up with Sujatha to ask him about why he likes to teach these workshops and what people can gain from trying to practice meditation in their lives.

Q: What do you enjoy about teaching these workshops?

A: My mission is to add more love to the world in any way possible. I know firsthand the transformational power of loving-kindness and I want everyone I can touch to have this transformation. If each of us can make our lives a little more noble, then we save the whole world.

Q: How has meditation helped you in your own life?

A: I became a monk at age 11. I was confused and angry and struggled as a child.  I faked meditation at first, but eventually the struggle in me, especially around my issues with anger, was too much to handle.  I eventually started a sincere meditation practice and watched my heart open. I could not believe something so simple could change me so profoundly. I believe meditation can re-wire our heads and hearts to work in better agreement with each other. I actually see the world differently now; when anger comes up, it no longer requires my actions. My loving-kindness has become bigger than my anger.

Q: What do you think are the benefits of meditation?

A: In some ways I think this question is unanswerable because the benefits are endless and still being realized for each individual.  I think the most significant benefit I see is the increase of compassion and empathy to others, a shared understanding that kindness is the only way. Many other benefits exist, like the reduction of stress and increase in clear thinking and emotional stability, but the result I see the most is a kindness to the meditator and the world.

Q: How can you train your mind to let go of intrusive thoughts?

A: You cannot. But you can train your mind to add healthy and noble thoughts and you can train your mind to understand the nature of those intrusive thoughts… and not act on them or be altered by them the way we used to be. Adding healthy thinking, and understanding the nature and impermanence of our emotions and thinking helps us navigate the truth that these thoughts always still come but no longer need to mess up our lives.

Q: Your workshop at the Center for Holistic Medicine says that it will include a “guided meditation in loving-kindness.” Can you explain what that means?

A: I will guide the group through a journey of healing and forgiveness. We will start with ourselves, saying to ourselves, “May I be well, may I be happy, may I be peaceful.” If we cannot love ourselves first, it is impossible to truly love someone else. Then we will move on to include people we love and people who cause us suffering. Eventually we include all living beings and wish kindness upon the world.

Q: If someone has never tried meditation before, how would you recommend that they begin?

A: To begin meditation practice, the best thing I know to do is forget all the rules. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You can do it. This is certain. Everyone can. Even if just for 30 seconds, that is enough. Time and practice compound quickly. Just come and I will show you how you can’t do it wrong.

Join us for a Meditation Workshop with Bhante Sujatha on Friday, May 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Center for Holistic Medicine. $25 suggested donation. Register today!