The Power of Good Food

What’s a holiday without food? From Thanksgiving turkey to a fourth of July cook out, certain dishes are symbolic of a national holiday.  Regardless of what you celebrate, food is an opportunity to socialize with friends and family, to communicate love and a thinking of you, and to remember those who came before, from eating traditional cultural dishes to the passing down of family recipes.

Eating food with friends is a shared experience of community, where a tasty meal can often be an excuse for stories, laughter, and a much-needed break from academics. Here at Smith, take dinner seriously: close your books, head to your favorite dining hall, and engage in conversation with those around you. Continue reading

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Taking Time to Relax at Smith College: A Challenge for Smithies

There is a certain intensity that comes with being a student at Smith College. Heavy workloads, constant deadlines and to-do lists, plus endless meetings for extracurricular activities can all take a toll on the average student. There is, however, an extra layer of intensity added by the passionate and ambitious student body. While it is inspiring to be surrounded by such dedicated students, noted for their intellectual rigor and achievements, there can be a downside.

When everyone else is constantly racing on overload to do the most—to get the best grades, to apply to the best internship, to take on as many leadership positions as possible—slowing down and relaxing takes a backseat. Even the society we live in fosters the need to always be on the move, plugged in, working more, striving more, constantly on. What’s a Smithie to do? Continue reading

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A Moment of Peace and Understanding through Turmoil: A Buddist Meditation Experience

Kristin Meditating

How many of you have participated in meditation? How many of you have attempted to meditate and found yourself struggling to silence the thoughts in your mind, or sit still for so much time?

After participating in Monday’s 5:00-6:00 p.m. Buddhist Meditation in CC 102, led by Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, I find myself saying yes to both of these questions.

I have tried to meditate in the past, but could never quiet down the thoughts that kept buzzing around in my head, especially when I was stressed out. This past week, or month rather, was no exception. With a new school year, feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork as we all find ourselves at one point or another and personal turmoil as a writer who lost her confidence and other issues, I was an emotional mess who couldn’t find a moment of peace even when she tried.

But, that all began to change once I sat down and took time for this meditation. Continue reading

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The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative: Spiritual Life Meets Social Justice

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It feels like the World is burning. This is what Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, Community Religious Adviser, said at our first “Peace Meal,” a gathering for dialogue and discussion of difficult problems. Certainly in the last few weeks, with the earthquake in Nepal and the rise in media coverage of racially motivated violence, it feels as if the world is burning.

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) must be a force for quenching fires; because religious and spiritual life on a college campus is most relevant to the extent that it confronts global and social Issues head-on. The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative are the center’s formulation of its strategy for bringing together the internal, contemplative life of the spirit; and addressing the urgent, immediate problems of injustice that plague our world.
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Our Inescapable Network of Mutuality…

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Amidst the cacophony of all that I am reading, hearing, and taking in response to the verdict in the Ferguson Grand Jury deliberation,—which I am, like many of us, just barely beginning to sort through—I have little, if anything, different or new to say.

I  do keep thinking about this quote form the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., ” We’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly…” I have been wondering, what does it mean to be affected “directly” verses indirectly,” and how do we call into question these very notions, surrendering to this “inescapable network of mutuality” which most of us don’t fully experience  ourselves as part of, most of the time? Continue reading

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Interfaith Awareness Week: What Do We Serve?

Interfaith Awareness Week Flyer!

We are what we pay attention to. Sadly, most of the time we are not attending to the world or ourselves. Psychologists estimate we have sixty thousand to seventy thousand thoughts a day, 99 percent of which are more or less what we thought yesterday.

– Mary Piper, Ph.D., Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

I slept and dreamt that life was joy

I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Rabindranath Tadore

We are in the midst of Interfaith Awareness Week at Smith College, sponsored by the Student Group, Spirituality in Action. Continue reading

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April 7, 2014 · 7:11 pm

SWANS: Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion to Spiritual Intersectionality

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The first week in February was the United Nation’s “Interfaith Harmony Week”. While Smith will be commemorating this week later on in the semester, this is a good time to begin to talk about the what and why of “Interfaith Harmony.” Three Smith students, board members of the  Smith Spirituality In Action  Group have just returned from Atlanta where they attended the leadership institute of the Interfaith Youth Corps. The IFYC’s mission is to build religious pluralism, which they define as as respect for  peoples’ religious and non-religious identities which elicits mutually inspiring relationships and common action for the common good. Continue reading

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