Meditation for Young People: a conversation with Taynã Malaspina

Tayna Malaspina
Taynã Malaspina

The new WCCM Coordinator for Meditation for Young People Taynã Malaspina in conversation with Leonardo Corrêa. Taynã shares about her journey and the importance of meditation in the search for meaning: “Meditation puts us in contact with what is essential and meaningful”.

Maybe you can introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your journey with meditation, how you found it, what was the connection with the community and how it became something important in your life?

I’m Tayna, from Brazil, I started my journey with meditation, not in a Christian tradition, in an Oriental tradition, the Buddhist tradition. I used to go to mass, following the Catholic rituals. At the time, I asked myself: I think something is missing. So I started looking for other contemplative ways. And I found it in Buddhism. However in the middle of this process, as I started with the practice, I realized that it wasn’t exactly the way that I’m looking for. That contact with Christ that can always be, how can I say, my mentor in my religious path…well, I couldn’t find it in Buddhism.

So at one time, when I was at an event I heard about Christian meditation. And, when I heard about it I said ‘Oh! A contemplative way in my original tradition does exist. So I started to look for more information on Google. I found groups of meditation. And I start participating in one of these groups. Then I realized that is what I’m looking for.

After that, I became more aware of this tradition to know John Main and Laurence Freeman’s books and thoughts. For me, this has made a big difference in my relationship with God, my relationship with my tradition. I think I I started to be in a not more in a relationship with God, but in communion with God and this makes a big difference in the way.

You mentioned something that is very common in our community of people saying this feeling of coming home isn’t?

Yeah, yeah, it’s exactly the feeling coming home. And that’s my place. I’m looking for it for a long time. And now I am. I stay at home. That’s the feeling.

“In my experience with young people at university, as a teacher, I realize that young people are looking for something more than happiness. They look for happiness but what they really want is meaning and meditation is a good way to being content with what is more essential in us.

So you start to meditate even in the Buddhist context as a young person. And you saw the transformation in your life. How do you see that meditation, the practice, can help, especially young people, today know? Young people looking for a more balanced life and also for happiness. How do you see that meditation can be helpful for them?

In my experience with young people at university, as a teacher, I realize that young people are looking for something more than happiness. They look for happiness but what they really want is meaning and meditation is a good way to being content with what is more essential in us. What is more meaningful in us. So I think meditation is a good way to work with young people that are looking for meaning in other places, such as more material and consumeristic places. These aren’t bad by definition however they don’t fill that empty side inside that is looking for meaning. Meditation put us in contact with our inner energy. It can help young people in this time of crisis, the crisis of meaning with a lot of cases of depression, and other mental issues. So I think it’s a gift that we can give to our community and to young people.

So you mentioned meaning as something more important that is search for happiness. Especially now that we are living a pandemic year with a lot of suffering, anxiety, do you think that meditation can help transform even the way we see happiness? Do you think this is true?

Yes, I believe in it. I think meditation can help us to get a sense of reality and this sense of reality give us that certain power or engagement to live through suffering, anxiety and other issues that sometimes you’d like to avoid “I don’t like to feel sad. I don’t like to feel anger”. Meditation Just help us to say “It’s okay. You can live with it.” You can enter that part of yourself that can help you live through suffering and fear and other things that sometimes you like to avoid. Meditation places us in the present moment and gives us a little calm, patience and the sense of unity. We can realize that despite all, everything is okay.

You are starting on your role in the community as a coordinator for meditation for young people. So can you tell us a little bit of what products you’re you’re working with?

I’d like to invite young people to participate in two programs: you have now two initiatives. One is monthly talks with Laurence Freeman. And,, I think who never knows Lawrence Freeman. It’s a good opportunity because Laurence Freeman has a language that teach us this contemplative way inside our tradition and Christian tradition. So it’s a good opportunity to know our tradition and our community WCCM.

The other initiative is an online course with the objective to introduce young people to the contemplative path. So the first part will be focusing on some reflections of, your our contest for modern life if a lot of distractions, a lot of work, a lot of fear. On the second model, we start the second model about contemplative way, contemplative path, how to meditate. I think it’s an opportunity to start the practice, whether you have been meditating for some time or come from another tradition. Our community is ecumenical. Finally, in the last part, we talk about life projects. So when the we look inside us,, reconnect with this with a sense of meaning of proposals, and,, you can design a life that is more alignment with, who we really would like to to be.

So I think it’s a good opportunity to start, in this way, in the contemplative way. We will start a meditation group with young people around the world. So I’d like to invite you to join in this initiative.

Thank you, Tayna. And I wish you all the best in this new journey, and we’ll be working together to share this gift.

I’m so happy with this project and I think we will have some challenge. But it will be a gift to give to the young people.”

Watch the full video with Taynã here:

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