Katherine Hillier, Editor in Chief

Katherine Hillier, Editor in Chief

The first thing that struck me was the quiet. Except for the sound of my breathing, everything was cloaked in silence. I soaked in the calm misty morning and focused on my breathing.

I was meditating in a Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas with a group of about 19 people. We were there as part of a January Interterm study abroad program at the University of La Verne. We were focusing on Eastern religions. This was part of our research. Suddenly, I realized that something as simple as sitting, breathing and concentrating on the “here and now” was an incredibly unusual feeling for me. But there, with nothing to distract me, I was able to do just that. I had to travel half-way across the world—to India—to realize what it is like to focus on the present moments of life.

In a city like Los Angeles, traffic, billboards, airplanes and masses of people make it difficult to concentrate on the “here and now.” As one who lives in downtown Los Angeles, I did not realize how exhausted my senses were until I was meditating in the monastery and listening to the simple sounds of silence. In the stillness of that monastery, I realized how much of my life I had probably missed because I was not appreciating its individual moments.

City life can be exciting, but it can also be distracting and overwhelming. Going to India gave me a greater appreciation for smaller and quieter cities and towns like our very own La Verne. With its peaceful, tree-shaded neighborhoods, La Verne is a place that has captured the silence of a morning in the Himalayas right inside its borders. There are not many honking horns or giant billboards clamoring for my attention as I stroll down Third Street. Instead, I feel the breeze on my face, hear birds chirping in the trees and feel the warm sun against my skin. As a small town in the midst of Los Angeles County, La Verne has created a sense of escape for many of its residents and visiting students. It is in La Verne where I can get away from the distractions of the big city and again appreciate the quality of life’s small, individual moments.

— K.H.