"Casa del Tibet: 2005.06.02 Nawang Khechog" by Oishi Kuranosuke. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 .

When you think of meditation, it’s likely that you think of Buddhist monks as well. Meditation has been practiced by Buddhists for centuries, and has more recently made its way into the Western mainstream under the umbrella term of “mindfulness training” (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is especially popular). Defined as “being aware and attentive to the present moment without judgment,” mindfulness-meditation offers a host of benefits to its practitioners.

The advantages of practicing mindfulness are far-reaching, and are being incorporated into the fields of education, eating, sports and even business. Scientific research is confirming what many who practice mindfulness already know, which is that mindfulness-meditation is beneficial for mental and physical health. College students especially have much to gain from becoming more mindful because it can decrease stress and anxiety, and increase attention and focus; one study even found that increased mindfulness led to a 16 percentile increase on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, and correlated with higher grades.

Buddhist monk turned world renowned flute player and composer, Nawang Khechog was told by the Dalai Lama himself that his musical talents would be better put to use if he shared them with the world. He’s also shared his gifts with members of the DePauw community, inspiring and collaborating with Mud Lotus writer and director Chris White. Mud Lotus is about a Buddhist monk searching for the reincarnation of his former teacher in the Midwest, and was in part inspired by Nawang’s journey. White, English professor and coordinator of DePauw’s Film Studies program, teamed up with other DePauw faculty and students, including Communication professor Jonathan Nichols-Pethink, who co-produced and edited the film.

This week, carve out some time to clear your mind, take some deep, intentional breaths, and attend one of the many events featuring Nawang Khechog. Mud Lotus premieres Thursday, November 7 at 8:30 pm in Watson Forum, and Nawang will lead a workshop, entitled Awakening Kindness, in the Bartlett Reflection Center at 4:15 pm on Friday. To read more about Mud Lotus and these on-campus events, click here.