A Utah school Blessed Sacrament in Sandy has won an award for "Promising Practices." The combination elementary and middle school constructed an interfaith "meditation garden" where students and faculty can find a breath of fresh air during the day, a place where people can literally stop and smell the flowers.
What a fine idea.
Given the pressures on young people today peer pressure, pressure to succeed, pressure to conform, or not conform having a place where they can distance themselves from the world means a welcome respite, a chance to escape the stimulus overload and get centered again.
We'd like to see other schools try something similar.
In fact, given the helter-skelter nature of society and daily lives laden with insecurities, setting aside such "meditation safe zones" at businesses and at other venues may well be what the doctor ordered.
At Blessed Sacrament, the meditation garden is used for prayer, study, sketching, thinking and resting. What person couldn't use a little more of that? The need for such things crops up all the time in television commercials that ask, "Want to get away?" and offer various options for people who want to "escape." But "getting away" doesn't have to be a physical journey. It can be an internal journey. Asian cultures especially Japanese have wonderful cities like Kyoto and hundreds of Zen gardens. They tipped to the need for "depressurizing" centuries ago.
Now, thanks to Blessed Sacrament, its creative students and faculty, American culture may be on the verge of learning the value of creating places where busy people in a busy world can relax and find "true north."
After all, studies have shown that just a few minutes of relaxation and the release of tension during the day not only heightens the quality and length of life for stressed-out individuals, but adds to the quality of life for those who must deal with such anxiety-ridden souls on a regular basis.