For Jon Clark, the word ‘meditation’ means “to become familiar with.”
“We are trying to become familiar with how our minds work,” Clark said. “It all starts with being here in the present moment.”
Clark is a homeless meditation practitioner reaching out to people living on the streets of San Antonio.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Clark and a group of people head to South Medina Street under the Commerce Street Bridge to teach the homeless how to meditate.
While stopping, sitting down and staying in the present moment can be unsettling,Clark said the simple way to start is to just focus on your own breathing.
“Our aim in working with the homeless is to just be with them,” Clark said.”It’s just about common everyday interactions.”
Even though it may seem someone living on the streets would not think of taking time to meditate, Clark said he finds the opposite.
“This helps them in at least two ways. They come to realize that people outside their peer group care about them,” Clark said. “Secondly, it is an influx of new ideas. None of us grow as people without positive, fresh ideas. A body of water that doesn’t move stagnates.”
Clark said he’s motivated by generosity, loving kindness and wisdom. He said having an alcoholic in his home made his childhood difficult, which made him sensitive to the loneliness and suffering of others.
Clark became an alcoholic himself and has dealt with depression and divorce, even once finding himself in jail. He said becoming a Buddhist helped change his life. Now, he’s passing on what helped him.
“After I had been meditating for a while, I suddenly realized that my mind was constantly in a state of flux, frustration, annoyance, anxiousness, anger and unhappiness. Now, my life still fluctuates, but remains, for the most part, tranquil,” Clark said.
Clark said meditation helps break old thought patterns and helps a person beginto change his or her own life.
To learn more about helping the homeless with meditation practices, go to www.ytdr.org