Consoling the Community: Meditation with the John Main Center

Lisa Directo Davis, program director for the John Main Center for Meditation and Interreligious Dialogue (JMC), and her team of student leaders continued to offer their virtual meditation sessions all through the summer. Below, participants and a student leader reflect on the impact of those sessions and how much meditation has transformed their lives. 

The JMC welcomes all Georgetown students, staff, and faculty to their virtual mediation sessions.  See this schedule for the JMC virtual meditation timetable. 

Virtual Meditation Brings a Renewed Commitment

Rashan Prailow

It brings me peace and joy to realize how fortunate I have been to have the JMC meditation community. I began participating in JMC meditation sessions in the fall of 2017. However, it wasn’t until the start of this year that I made a conscientious decision to make JMC meditation sessions an integral part of my daily life. But three months into my commitment the pandemic forced our JMC meditation sessions into the virtual environment. Initially, I was worried that the virtual environment would negatively impact my experience and overall practice. Nevertheless, I decided to stick with my commitment and it has been the best decision I’ve made at Georgetown. The pandemic as well as social uprising across our country has caused a deep level of disturbance within me as a person and specifically as a black man. Thanks to my JMC virtual family led by Lisa Directo Davis, the center’s program director, the impact on my personal and spiritual wellbeing during this time has been transformative. I have grown into a more faithful, patient, thoughtful, understanding, confident, and loving human being.

by Rashan Prailow

Rashan attended the UIS-Harris Community and 12:30 pm virtual meditations. He is a finance manager at University Information Services and an MSB candidate.

Finding Stillness During the Storm

Ashton GarriottWhen we find ourselves in difficult times, accessing our true selves and opening our hearts to the world becomes even more important. Meditation has taken on new meaning during the course of the pandemic. Though we cannot gather in person, practicing meditation through the John Main Center has provided the space to exist in spirit, reflect, and gather as a community.

I discovered the John Main Center in my senior year at Georgetown when a friend introduced me to its daily meditation events. I found them a useful way to manage the stresses of Georgetown life. When I came back to pursue a master’s degree, the JMC returned as a core part of my Georgetown experience. I sometimes joined the daily group sessions or other events, but just as often I found myself alone at the center practicing my own style of quiet contemplation. 

Even with sessions going virtual, meditation has a unique way of allowing people to grapple with the uncertainty, discomfort, and turmoil this year has witnessed, from a global pandemic to a renewed movement for racial justice. Though meditation does not make that uncertainty go away, it allows those who practice to sit with it, breathe into it, and observe it, all while sharing a dedicated and intentional time and space with others in the community. These sessions, from the warm welcoming words, offering of meaningful thoughts and reflections, readings from different spiritual traditions, and the gentle chime of the bell leading into a period of silence, allow us to carry forward this sense of presence into the rest of our lives.

by Ashton Garriott 

Ashton attended the 12:30 pm virtual meditations. He is a double graduate of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, 2015 and 2020.

My Appreciation for the John Main Center

Mallory Hybl

In this pandemic, everything constantly seems in flux. For many reasons, this can be incredibly frustrating, heartbreaking, and wearisome. However, it can also lead to a deepened appreciation for the people and life around us, instigating reprioritization and reflection on what and who we value, and how we are going to live our lives accordingly. On Georgetown’s campus, one of the great spaces for this type of reflection is the John Main Center. When I began at Georgetown two years ago, this one-room building, full of pillows to sit on and books filled with wisdom from many traditions, gave me a place for grounding in the midst of a new college world. Although I greatly miss the sanctuary of the building itself, during this hiatus from campus, I realize that I have gained so much more from this space: a practice of meditation and community of people that allows me to find grounding and peace within myself, no matter where I am in the world.

This summer, I was lucky enough to lead virtual mediation sessions every Tuesday at 8:30 am and every Thursday at 5 pm. Even though connecting over Zoom is a bit more challenging (especially for a bona fide hugger such as myself), these half hours have been incredibly beneficial for me, and I hope for others as well. Not only does this practice allow me to slow down and experience the silence, stillness, and simplicity that is available every moment, but it has allowed me to really connect with caring, wonderful people. 

by Mallory Hybl 

Mallory led the 8:30 am and 5 pm virtual meditations. Mallory expects to graduate from the NHS in 2022 with a degree in Global Health and a minor in German.