Editor's note: Anvita Gurumurthy is a 9th grade student at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ.
Right now, it feels like the world is in chaos. Schools are closed, whole countries are on lockdown, and we haven’t left the house in weeks. Our entire lives have been transmitted to our computers and Zoom has become our only interaction with the outside world. In times like these, it is hard to know what to feel. We are all confused and upset at this turn of events, and no one knows what is to come. However, tough times like these always bring out heroes, people who have a genuine desire to help and bring people together. People like these are found in every disaster, every crisis, and now, even in a worldwide pandemic.
During the first week of quarantine, when I was just beginning online school and navigating my new life, I could not help feeling that it all felt a little unreal. Pieces of information floated around me: This will continue until June. We can’t leave the house for anything. There’s a huge recession coming. We won’t be at school until next year. Deaths are higher than ever before.
It all happened so fast; in a matter of days the situation escalated beyond what I ever thought it could be. I could not help thinking, Slow down! I knew my parents and the other adults were even more worried about this, they had jobs, they had kids to feed and take care of. I knew that across the world, millions of adults had the same concerns. Not just adults, kids were also adversely affected by this. Many would not be able to take important tests and learn important things, and every one of us just wanted answers. When would this end?
During quarantine, I checked my email a lot, for updates and out of boredom. One day, I noticed something a little different: my meditation teacher, whom I had been going to for the past five years, had announced our new topic for the next session. Some of our past topics have been anger management, energy and chakras and mindfulness. However, this time it was different. This module was: #CantQuarantineMeditation. It would be about managing the stress and anxiety we are all facing, and learning how to stay positive and stand together in the face of this pandemic. I thought it was a great idea, and what’s more, it was free as well!
I excitedly logged in to the Zoom class that weekend, knowing I would benefit from it. Tons of other kids were there as well, new kids that weren’t usually at the class but had joined the online session now. My meditation coach/mindfulness teacher, Nidhi Idnani, the founder of iReikiNow LLC, began the class by asking us all how we felt. Everyone shared their feelings and we discussed why we had them. It really helped me to see how many others were also going through the same emotions as me. I understood why I felt the way I did, and I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one. We then went around, sharing what we had done during the quarantine. First, for ourselves, second, for our home and family, and third for society. This allowed me to structure how I was using my time, and I was prompted to think about what I could do for others, not just myself. I started helping out around the house and making masks for an initiative my community started that would give supplies to healthcare providers. I began to use this class as an inspiration to do acts of kindness for people around me, and also to myself, by focusing on self-care. We also did breathing exercises to strengthen our respiratory and immune system, and ended the session with a refreshing and peaceful guided meditation. After the class, I felt oddly optimistic and determined to make the most of the situation. Nidhi Idnani offers these classes for adults as well. On Saturday mornings they can join the adult session, and find a way to stay calm during the pandemic.
The act of kindness that my teacher, Nidhi Idnani, has done, is one I truly admire. Reading this prompt, I can only think about how her actions perfectly fit, especially since her act of kindness has inspired many others. By holding these classes, she is imparting knowledge about how to understand and make the most of these crazy times. After just two classes, I was much more at ease and focused on how I could use kindness for others, and I know that I’m not the only one who can now think like this. Also, making these classes free has reduced economic burden and has opened them up to so many more people all across the world! My teacher often says that she does not want anybody to miss out on these classes due to a lack of funds, especially at a time like this. People from Austria, Singapore, Canada, India, and many parts of the US joined, and they were all able to partake in this wonderful experience provided by iReikiNow. I sincerely believe that control of one’s mind is key to happiness and calm in troubled times, and this class accomplished so much for that. This act of kindness I witnessed is a true example of how heroes are found in disasters, and this particular hero has truly helped me.