Finding Zen in the Art Museum


It isn’t everyday that one gets the opportunity to practice yoga in an art museum. This past Friday, however, I found myself carrying my yoga mat into the Brown Fine Arts Center, as part of the Mindfulness & Your Museum workshop. With the museum closed with the exception of our small group, we walked through the exhibits barefoot, in awe of the artwork that stood silent in front of us. Continue reading


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Easter Sunday Services: Opportunities in the Community


Edwards Church

During Holy Week and Easter Sunday, students had the opportunity to attend local churches such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Edwards (United Church of Christ), St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Churches (United Church of Christ) to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The celebrations varied: Edwards and First Churches had a Service of Tenebrae which recreated the emotional aspects of the Passion story; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish had traditions ranging from Stations of the Cross, a 14-step Catholic devotion commemorating Jesus’ last day as a man on Earth, to Blessing of the Food; St. John’s had The Meditation, an all-night prayer vigil and a Contemplative Service before their Easter service on Sunday. Continue reading

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Spiritual Places: Nature Walk


Never underestimate the power of a good walk. This week, feeling fatigued and exhausted, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine by squeezing in a relaxing walk in between my classes. Heading into the woods by Paradise Pond, I was alone, with only the snapping of branches underfoot and the occasional dog walker to keep me company. Here, in this solitude, I took a mini-vacation from the stresses and demands of being a college student. Continue reading

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Lent Book Club: Sunday Nights of Conversation and Engagement

A group of students gathered inside Bodman Lounge during Lent the past couple of Sundays to discuss Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Each meeting students discussed various passages that stood out to them, leading to deeper conversation about God, religion’s place on Smith campus, family, and today’s world. Continue reading

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MLK & Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative (Part 2)

After the opening remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the American Friends Service Committee hosted two panel discussions on racial justice. I was proud to moderate the first panel of student fellows for the Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative of the CRSL described in the previous blog.Before asking the student panelists the questions, I made some opening remarks.

Organizers of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and Michael Eric Dyson, author of I May Not Get Here With You, shed light on the ways in which MLK day holiday has been “domesticated” and “whitewashed” King himself—his deeply radical nature made more conventional in order to fit neatly into a society that has been mistakenly viewed as post-racial. BLM organizers call to reclaim MLK Day: Continue reading

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Zazen Meditation: Adapting to a Different Meditative Practice


We joined together in CC 102 Thursday evening to participate in Zazen Meditation, led by Sensei Catherine Anraku Hondorp, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest and heal practitioner. Anraku Hondorp Sensei is also a Buddhist Community Religious Adviser for The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Zazen, or seated Zen, is a meditation that is deeply rooted in the Buddhist spiritual tradition and “the very heart of Zen practice.” In her introduction to the participants, Anraku Hondorp Sensei spoke about trying to find “the middle path” in our meditation. She emphasized seating positions and finding one that was most comfortable. To maintain balance and keep thoughts away, she suggested folding your hands and making sure the thumbs were “gently touching” to bring yourself back. Once we settled in, Sensei Anraku Hondorp tapped the Kesu Meditation Gong three times, and we began. Continue reading

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MLK & Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative (Part 1)

Over January Term (or J-term), two students participated in a fellowship for with our Center as part of our Justice, Identity, and Social Change (JISC) initiative. These students, Raven Fowlkes-Witten and Lucy Tucker, serve on our JISC advisory board.

The JISC Initiative of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) seeks to integrate social justice work with our mission: We discuss ethical and moral matters beyond sectarian spheres, provide interfaith dialogue and interaction, reflect deeply on community engagement, and undergird social justice work with spiritual/contemplative practice and ideals.

For the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, the JISC fellowship project reflected on the intersections of spirituality and social justice. Continue reading

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