Westerville Central High School senior Dilara Sen discovered meditation when she started high school, finding peace and mindfulness by centering on the light in her heart. She typically starts every morning with Heartfulness meditation and turns to the practice when she feels troubled or faces difficult situations.
She was private about her meditative habits until she saw a student struggling with their mental health. She decided to start a meditation club to provide a community of support for her peers. She launched the group last January, hosting three meetings before the state closed schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With everyone at home and disconnected from each other, she felt even more determined to bring meditation and other supports to her classmates. For the past year, she has worked on developing a Wellness Webinar series that connects students with national speakers virtually on topics such as meditation, self-care and positivity.
The webinar series, now available to all Westerville high school students, kicks off May 3 and culminates with a live Q&A session with the speakers on May 8. Register here.
“I hope that this week can really show them how we all have what we need to have a healthy life,” Sen said. “By using the tools they are given, they’ll be able to feel better about themselves. They’ll be empowered to help other people who didn’t get a chance to listen to the talks and create a community that is empowered, uplifted and connected.”
The sessions include speakers from the Heartfulness Institute, a nonprofit organization that offers relaxation and meditation practices through thousands of trainers that serve more than a million people in more than 130 countries. The webinar schedule includes:
May 3 - James Joseph, “Science of Meditation”
May 4 - Veronica Carter, “The Power of Thought”
May 5 - Meenu Tewari, “The Story of You”
May 6 - Leah Rich, “Self-Care for Teens”
May 8 (Noon-1 p.m.) - Live panel Q&A session with the speakers
Sen wanted the series to dive into topics beyond meditation; other sessions explore the science behind meditation and the importance of taking care of yourself.
She visited Hyderabad, India two years ago to help with the construction of Kanha Shanti Vanam, a Heartfulness meditation center that occupies 30 acres and is currently considered the largest meditation center in the world. She learned about Heartfulness meditation there — an empowering experience she wanted to bring back to Westerville.
“Meditation is a really powerful way to not only help yourself but others around you,” she said. “When you are in a more positive state, then you radiate that to everyone around you. Even if it’s only a small group of people meditating in your school, it’s already starting to create a better environment. That’s why I wanted to bring that here. Even if it’s a small number of people partaking in it, it can make a difference for everyone.”
Sen plans to connect with other WCHS students in hopes they continue with the club after she graduates. She is headed to Kenyon College this fall to study physics and neuroscience, laying the groundwork to pursue advanced degrees and continue her mental wellness studies through research on the quantum particles in the brain.
“By having that knowledge of this subatomic world, how can we use that to engineer our brains and create a more positive world?” she said.