KINGMAN – There are many businesses and restaurants in downtown Kingman for people to enjoy, but there is a lesser-known establishment peeking through the bushes on Beale Street. The Humuh Meditation and Dharma Center is not just for Buddhists, but welcomes anyone who wishes to find a quiet, peaceful place to learn to meditate or get away from the stresses of everyday life.
The meditation center may be affiliated with Clear-Mind Buddhism, taught by the Wisdom Master Maticintin, but is by no means limited to Buddhists.
“It’s for everyone,” the Wisdom Master said of the center. “Buddhism is not really a religion. It is a path of awakening or a way of life where one acquires an awakened mind.”
Mary Hitchcock and Eileen Steichen have each been meditating for about 20 years. They say the benefits of the practice go far beyond religion. Clear-mind meditation focuses on quieting the mind, and finding and focusing on the light. Both believe meditation has changed their lives.
Steichen said that as her mind begins to quiet, she no longer has inner chatter about what so and so did, or what they said. Meditation helps Steichen find a feeling of interconnectedness with others, which allows her to be less judgmental in her everyday life.
She believes the mind chatters all day long, and that chatter influences the way we live and perceive others.
“So the quieter my mind can be, the more I can see what really is going on instead of the stories I make up about what’s going on,” Steichen said. “I can see more clearly what I want in life. I’m much more aware of the interconnection I have with everyone. I’ve become much less judgmental.
“It’s about seeing through the teachings that all the conditions in my life I create, and I’m coming to see that more clearly,” Steichen continued. “So then I have more compassion for other people who have conditions in their life, as I learn to have compassion for myself.”
Maticintin explained the way in which we live our lives is a reflection of those images or stories we create in our minds. She thinks that as people come to understand this, it can change their lives.
“You begin to purge your mind of unwanted feelings and thoughts,” she said. “Then you begin to have better, or happier, thoughts. But when you get past that, then you realize it’s not enough and you go into this place where you develop a quiet mind, and you realize the only things keeping you from a quiet mind are things you’re complaining about in your mind.”
Hitchcock noted that has been her experience.
“After about, I don’t know how many months, it was like wow, I’m a little happier, my life is just a little bit better,” she said. “What’s that about?”
The center is open to anyone who wishes to meditate, learn to meditate, or want to have a quiet place to unwind from the pressures of daily life and relax.
“A lot of what we stress here in the community is the meditation,” Steichen said. “That’s part of our service to the community is to provide meditation instruction, to provide a place for the community to come and learn meditation and meditate.”
Hitchcock said that health is another component of meditation, and that doctors have even sent patients to the center for meditation. Meditation can help increase heart health through teaching the mind to relax.
The center also stresses “being aware that you’re aware,” which Steichen explained as another level of awareness. For example, not just being aware that your leg is touching a chair, but having the awareness to realize that you’re aware of that contact.
“And when you’re aware, your mind is actually still because of the overlapping awareness that takes place in your mind,” the Wisdom Master said. “You come to see through appearances, you see as you’re looking around laughing and having fun, you also then have the capacity to see very deeply into what’s really going on with other people and in conditions and situations.”
Steichen said that learning to meditate takes practice, and after 20 years, she’s still practicing.
“One of the first things that we do say in the very first instructions is don’t beat yourself up, don’t get on yourself,” she explained. “If you find yourself drifting off or saying ‘This is hard’ just come back to focusing on the light and quieting the mind as much as possible.”
Though some meditation sessions are smoother than others, Hitchcock said she now looks forward to meditation and finds it fun. For her, that enjoyment is heightened when meditating with a group because of the encouragement she gives to others and the encouragement she gets from them.
“For those people who just want to come in and learn to meditate, we can do that for the community. Who doesn’t need that?” Hitchcock said.