In January of 2010, I sat in on a life-changing meeting about introducing meditation through an academic course at my college in Detroit. Even though I had never practiced meditation before, I was happy to sit with one of my favorite professors, Molly Beauregard in front of her peers, members of the school counseling department, and the Chair of the Liberal Arts Department while she made her pitch at the meeting.
It was a pretty radical pitch for the time. Molly wanted to invite trained meditation teachers into her class to personally teach each student. I didn’t quite realize the degree to which this notion might be rejected when Molly asked me to join her at the meeting. I certainly never expected angry fist-pounding as an initial response to Molly’s request. Although she had recruited a number of individuals at the college to get on board with the idea, meditation in the classroom was dismissed by high-level college officials mostly for their conclusion that it was a spiritual practice. It was clear to me right then that meditation must be a tremendously powerful thing.
I learned to meditate shortly after that meeting which served as a turning point in my life. Meditation brought with it the start of greater confidence and a much improved experience for the remainder of college. Before long, I found myself fighting alongside Molly for more students to receive a fair introduction to the practice. I changed my thesis project in order to make a short film on the benefits of meditation for students.
To my surprise, Molly’s class titled “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity” was approved to run for the first time during my last semester of school in 2011. I enrolled in the class and was amazed at the array of students interested in learning how to cultivate a sense of their own inner identity. We folded ourselves into deep three hour discussions. We meditated together every week. It was clear that this was no ordinary social science class. I knew we had embarked on something new. Something groundbreaking and refreshing.
Over the following years, I continued documenting Molly’s class. Making the Tuning the Student Mind documentary has offered me the opportunity to witness the power of teaching. It is my hope that the film will encourage other students to ask themselves life’s bigger questions; “Who am I?” “Who do I want to be?” and “What do I have to offer?”
– Chelsea Richer
Film Director, Tuning the Student Mind