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Searching for enlightenment, finding peace through meditation (with video)

The+Sidekick+sophomore+staff+writer+Anika+Arutla+meditates+at+Andy+Brown+Park+East+on+Tuesday.+Arutla+practices+Anapana%2C+which+is+a+breathing+technique+under+the+form+of+meditation+Vipassana.+Meditation+has+multiple+benefits%2C+including+sharp+focus+and+reducing+anxiety.+
The Sidekick sophomore staff writer Anika Arutla meditates at Andy Brown Park East on Tuesday. Arutla practices Anapana, which is a breathing technique under the form of meditation Vipassana. Meditation has multiple benefits, including sharp focus and reducing anxiety.

The Sidekick sophomore staff writer Anika Arutla meditates at Andy Brown Park East on Tuesday. Arutla practices Anapana, which is a breathing technique under the form of meditation Vipassana. Meditation has multiple benefits, including sharp focus and reducing anxiety.

Laura Amador Toro

Laura Amador Toro

The Sidekick sophomore staff writer Anika Arutla meditates at Andy Brown Park East on Tuesday. Arutla practices Anapana, which is a breathing technique under the form of meditation Vipassana. Meditation has multiple benefits, including sharp focus and reducing anxiety.

Anika Arutla, Staff Writer

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Four years ago, my father spent 10 days at a meditation camp in Delaware without access to technology and without speaking to anyone, including the other campers. He came back and said it was the best time of his life.

 

Within the next year, my mom went to the same camp in Delaware and my grandmother went twice in India. Both came back with the same reaction as my father.

 

My 13-year-old self could not comprehend how they went those 10 days without going completely crazy. My parents made me attend a one day camp and even then, I found myself going crazy. My thoughts the entire day constantly went back to my phone and all of the things I could be doing instead of just sitting there.

 

But meditating was nothing like what I expected it to be.

 

Meditation is when you focus on a particular thing, such as an image or the blood flowing through your veins. The type of meditating I was taught is Anapana and is the technique of focusing on the breathe. The technique falls under Vipassana, which is a famous form of meditation followed by Buddha.

 

At first, I felt as though I was wasting my time and I found it hard to sit still. It was terrible, to say the least. My mind bounced from thought to thought, such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I wonder how many licks it takes to get to the center of a lollipop.’

 

Training the brain to concentrate and directing its attention to one area is a difficult task that requires the utmost patience. But with time, it is a task that is achievable.

 

It took me three years to fully understand the benefits of meditation. Those three years included a lot of experimenting and frustration. My parents would corner me about the topic every chance they got and every time I tried it, I would hate it that much more.

 

It was not until I realized that going against meditation and trying it with a negative mindset is the wrong approach. It took me three years to reach that realization, but I did last summer when I went to a two-day camp in Kaufman, Texas. I embraced the idea with an open mind and everything changed.
Slowly but surely, I found myself concentrating more in class and absorbing the information far more quickly. In addition, I was more aware of my surroundings and the people who I interacted with everyday.

 

I began to see the world differently and in a new light.

 

I used to be nervous about the smallest obstacles such as taking a test, and I would end up flunking them because I focused more on calming down than taking the test. Now, I go into tests prepared.

 

Meditation has also increased my confidence.

 

This is just the beginning of my spiritual journey. I spend only 15 minutes every morning meditating, while my goal is to spend at least an hour every morning by the time I reach college.

 

It is a difficult practice to embrace but with a little determination, the benefits outweigh the struggles.

 

Follow Anika @anikaarutla

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About the Contributors
Anika Arutla, Staff Writer
Anika is a sophomore at Coppell High School and it is her first year on the Sidekick staff. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys playing soccer, traveling, watching movies and spending time with her friends and family. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @AnikaArutla
Laura Amador Toro, Staff Photographer
Laura Amador Toro is a sophomore and first year staffer on The Sidekick. She moved to the United States two years ago from Colombia. In her free time she enjoys playing the ukelele, singing, taking pictures and spending time with her friends and family. With comments and concerns, contact her @lauraamadortoro or [email protected]
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