On the 23rd June 2016, Mindfulness Facilitators of the Sati Pasela program visited one of the largest and most popular girls schools in Sri Lanka, Visakha Vidyalaya.
Eight hundred Grade 9 students attended the program together with the Principal, Deputy Principal, sectional heads and other teachers. After introducing mindfulness and the concept Sati Pasela, students in batches were guided to walk mindfully in the play ground. Similarly, mindful sitting was undertaken in the serene atmosphere of the garden beside the Bo tree. A discussion and feed back followed, with great enthusiasm, and with suggestions to carry forward the message of Sati Pasela by the school.
Feedback from the Students :
- Although a very clear explanation of sati was given, I didn’t grasp it too well. But I must tell you the sense of peace I got when I did walking meditation & Anapanasati Bawana is inexplicable. This little piece of paper is not enough to express my feelings. Although when I started sakman bawana I had to force my attention to my walking, after some time I realized that it was possible to do so quite naturally. I can recollect very clearly the way my soles experienced every blade of grass, undupiyali, pebbles, sand etc. Much more than this the depth with which I experienced when doing ananpanasati Bawana was something else. Initially I heard various sounds & even wanted to open my eyes to see what my friends were doing. Nevertheless when I focused my attention on my breath I felt cool air coming in through my nose & filling up even in the throat. (almost choking) Then I felt a stream of slightly warm air leave my nostril. I felt an unbelievable relief. I didn’t realize spending such little time in sati will have such good results. You would have seen how quietly we walked in & out of the premises. This teaching is extremely useful for our future & I hope you will continue with these programs in the future. Theruwan sarani !
- We are always having so many issues in our head & we are always thinking how can we free ourselves of these issues? How can we get our minds to focus on one thing? Some may even say that we don’t have time to practice sati. But today we learnt that there are plenty of opportunities to do so. We actually experienced it. Although I tried, I couldn’t be mindful initially as so many thoughts came into my mind. But since I consciously tried to be in Sati mode I was fairly successful. We also heard various noises/sounds. Although it was not easy today I learnt if you try then one can be mindful. When I was in sati I heard the beating of my heart. So now I know if you try you will get results.
- Whilst meditating I felt my mind getting in to a weightless state where it was floating. I saw the functioning of my body from within. Because of the sense of freedom I felt whilst applying sati I’m quite sure now I can concentrate better at my studies.
- Initially I was wondering how I was going to keep my mind focused on one thing, especially because I’m not a person who can stay in one place. But you said things in a manner that everything you said went directly into my mind. So when I started the walking exercise my mind & body got very peaceful. I actually felt as I was floating. I felt an inexplicable joy. When I was meditating I felt even better. I felt that this was a very valuable experience & I made my mind that I must make this a habit. You have done a meritorious deed.
- When I was walking initially I was losing count. I felt the grass & pebbles pressing on my feet. I have a head ache all the time. When I was meditating, although it was hard initially after some time it became easier. After a few minutes the headache also went away.
- Although I got many thoughts whilst I was meditating, according to the instructions given by you I did not give them any response. I let them come & go. As they came they also went away. After some time the persistency of the flow of thoughts got less. Even when an ant or fly settled on my body I don’t think I felt it as I was so much in meditation.
- Although I was aware of the usefulness of walking & anapana sati Bawana I couldn’t make my mind calm to practice this. I must say that in the morning I thought this was going to be a real nuisance. Now I think it is a good thing. When walking the mind was jumping here & there but after some time it settled. Even when meditating I felt like opening my eyes but my mind did not allow this. This was an interesting experience.
- When I was walking & doing sitting meditation although I felt a variety of sensations & had many thoughts I managed to bring my mind to one object. Today in the evening I have to go for the national public Schools swimming meet. But I just didn’t have the strength to face it. However now I’m mentally ready.. Many thanks to you.
- The usual hustle & bustle of the kids reduced. Initially the mind jumped here & there. Then after some time I got used to it. With this I felt weightlessness. With it the excitable nature of the mind subsided. Thanks for making us practice this.
- Initially when we were walking I got some crazy meaningless thoughts. By walking about 30 steps I was able to apply sati. I felt the sensations of my feet, the wetness or the feel of pebbles. I walked mindfully. I realize that when my friends around me talk it’s difficult to be mindful. When I was sitting although I heard sounds, little by little I was able to focus on one object. My mind became light & felt a sense of peace. This is the first time I was able to bring my attention to one object. From tomorrow I shall visit the Bodi each morning & spend a bit of time meditating. Much merit to you all.
- You taught us how to develop Sati. We understood the moment you take your mind inwards how many thoughts flow in. Although it was impossible to focus on one object initially, after developing sati I was able to focus on my posture. It is very clear to me now how to do this. You explained sati in a manner we understood. I hope you can go to other schools as well.
- I, who have spent all my time finding out about other people, got an opportunity to spend time with myself. For the first time I was able to be mindful & notice that I could be like this for a while. The effort you made to give us this relief is greatly appreciated.
- I’m considered to be a very naughty child. My parents & friends confirm this. However I get good marks & I’m able to balance things. The biggest issue is that when the teacher is teaching I just want to sing. I’m very good at singing but I know I over do this. Today I realized that somehow I must pay attention to the teacher. I really took this into my head. I’m going to share this with my friends as well.
- I have never ever done anything mindfully. By practicing sati today I got a lot of relief. Normally when I meditate I get pins & needles in my feet. Today I concentrated on this feeling & I can’t believe it but for the first time I did not feel this sensation. I was very happy. Then I got an ache in my feet. Although I felt other things I focused on what I felt in my feet. So today I understood the meaning of Sati.
- Because I lack mindfulness I have reaped many negative results. But today after understanding about sati a lot of my problems were solved. Although I’m not very good at my studies by my own effort I have so far managed to raise my head. In the same spirit I did the sakman. Each foot I placed, I got thoughts but despite this I focused on my feet, one step at a time. I felt a certain calmness. At the Bodi I felt my breath very clearly. Actually for the first time in my life I felt great joy. I think with the practice of this meditation I can overcome the obstacles in my life. Thank you all for teaching us this.
- Whilst we were in meditation I heard various sounds, I felt like singing a bit, I felt like poking my friend, I felt like opening my eyes, I felt like giving a small kick to the girl in front, I got a thousand thoughts. Actually my meditation at that point was fighting with my thoughts. So after going to the class I discussed this with my friends & it became a joke. So when I was doing walking meditation I avoided this girl. I did so not with anger. After walking for a while, & feeling the grass under my feet, without even realizing I felt a certain calmness. Thanks for helping us.