by Amanda Jefferys
The lights dimmed and the room is silent. Taking a moment to breathe and let the mind reconnect. This is what Dana Jiang can be found doing every Monday through Thursday on campus at 1:30 p.m. sharp. She and others gather in room 140 in the High Tech Center 2 building to take a break and de-stress with a meditation session.
Jiang is a Student Service Technician on campus and also an occasional guest speaker in world religion classes. She created this group for students and staff to take interest upon them to join her in a moment to regather.
“Meditation is extremely important for this digital age because we are bombarded with the influx of information and it seems like we just want to be hooked with this stuff all the time, you don’t have spare time to really sit down quietly and think about life. With meditation the most beneficial thing for me and for students would be for their focus, therefore you can do really well in school but also to see things more clearly,” Jiang said.
Dana Jiang was 11 years old when she and her sister immigrated to America from Heilongjiang, China. A couple months after her other sister and mother also immigrated.
After her father died in a horse cart accident, it was hard for her mother to work on the farm and take care of three children and her grandparents, so they came to America to meet up with their relative Master Hsuan Hua who was a Buddhist monk. They flew to San Francisco and drove two hours north to live in a Buddhist Temple.
Jiang then became a novice nun from 12 to 17 years old. “I had very strict training. I was eating one meal a day; I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and went to bed at 10:30 p.m.,” she said. Jiang learned how to speak English through Chinese-English translation during this time, after not knowing any English when moving to America.
At 17 years old, she decided to disrobe from being a nun and focus more on academics. She attended one year of public school and then college. Her husband got accepted into pharmacy school at Midwestern University, which then brought her to Arizona.
Jiang spent about 10 years of her life in China, 10 years living in a Buddhist Temple and now a little over 10 years in the working world. She found a deep interest in meditation and it has now become part of her daily routine.
“Her passion for the practice, her training and continued practice,” Dr. Romero Fernando (Psychology) Jiang’s co-worker and a psychology teacher on campus, said about what Jiang brings to the group meditation.
Meditation can provide many benefits from just sitting quietly. Taking the time out of everyday to be reflective, thinking about problems, and getting to know you can be helpful for anyone. Finding the happiness within you is something that can be achieved through mediation. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to drop in to the Gaucho Group Meditation any day to clear their minds.