The Reflection Room: Meditation, Mindfulness, and More


The air stands still. As the fragrance of flowers fills the room, images of calming landscapes come to mind. The sound of the fountain’s water resonates. After relaxing in a peaceful state-of-mind, you open your eyes and look upon the paintings and dim lamps of the Reflection Room, feeling calmed. This is the experience during guided meditation.

  The Bugle Staff tried a guided meditation to relax during the school day. Anisa Patel, Design Editor, said, “I felt like it really put everything into perspective.” The technique paints a picture of different calming landscapes. Jacqueline Emas, Public Relations, said, “When I opened my eyes, I kind of forgot that I was here [in the Reflection Room].” Using guided meditation in daily life can positively impact stress levels.

  With calming pictures and comfortable bean bags, the Reflection Room is the newest addition to the Bent Student Center at the Upper School San Jose Campus, as it provides a tranquil setting for both religious students to practice prayer or reflection and students who need time to regroup and relax.

  “We are in a time period where there’s a lot going on with students,” Mrs. Ashman, 10th grade advisor and Director of Cultural Competence, stated. “The idea came up to have a reflection room where students can just get away from the stresses of the day.”

  Although religion is an important use for the Reflection Room,  and some students use if for daily prayer, it is also a good place to relax. When you are having a bad day or need time to calm down, the room is the perfect place to destress.

  Mrs. Genduso, one of the guidance counselors, stated, “It’s a good idea to know how to calm yourself, whether that’s journaling, listening to music, meditating, going for a run, or anyway to get yourself at peace.”

  Mrs. Ashman thinks reflecting will help in college and in the distant future. “It’s good practice that more people should do because it helps mentally within you.”

  Mrs. Genduso sometimes sends her students to the room to “recharge” during the day. When she sees students stressed or experiencing anxiety, “I usually think they aren’t ready to go to class yet, so I tell them to sit here [Reflection Room] and gather themselves. Sitting in here is a place to recenter.”

  The setting of the room was inspired by different colleges Mrs. Ashman visited. “I reached out to UNF and Jacksonville University to find out if they had reflection rooms. I was able to go by UNF and take a look at how their room was set up and how it’s used.”

  At the universities, Mrs. Ashman found massage chairs, computer programs, and decorations that were all built for the ideal reflection space. “Since we are a college prep school, I thought we would move in the direction of what students will see when they head off to college.”

  Right now, Ashman thinks the room is a huge success. She sees students using the room “during Activities period and in the late afternoon. When the students are dismissed, there will be a couple of students who would come up at around 3:15 before they leave campus to use the room.”

  In a few years, Mrs. Genduso hopes there will be more places around campus that allow reflection. “[I probably would want] a place where more kids can go to just recharge, like more picnic tables or seating areas on campus. Places where they can just be a kid.”

  As exams approach, it may feel as if the stress is building up inside of you. Instead of letting this happen, take advantage of the Reflection Room, and you’ll be ready for anything.


Dr. Lieb’s Perspective on Meditation:

How is meditation scientifically beneficial for the brain?

  • “Well, studies have shown that the brain waves of Buddhist monks that meditate on a regular basis are different from that of everyday people, and those individuals report greater levels of happiness and contentment with their own lives, so it’s reasonable that a meditation is effective for managing those types of things, your expectations in your stress levels, how you think about your daily life, and how you interact with the world.”

Do students have to be religious to meditate?

  • “Absolutely not any means to be religious in order to meditate. The meditation comes from or has its origins in many religious traditions, but the religiosity is completely separate from meditation of itself in Western society.”

A Quick Recap of a Study on Buddhist Monks and Meditation:

  • A neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, used MRI machines to analyze Buddhist monks’ brains after practicing years of meditation.
  • He tested 8 different subjects who spent approximately 34,000 hours meditating in their lives.
  • Davidson found that the brains had “high-amplitude gamma-oscillations” indicating resilience and adaptability to change.
  • He also found that because of meditation, the monks showed immunity to viruses and their overall mental health were exceedingly high.
  • For more information on the study, see