Week One Mystic Heart leader Lukasik links the mind and body to the universe




“The mind is the forerunner of all things.”

Paul Lukasik was studying this proverb when he was invited to lead the Mystic Heart Program during Week One — which, he soon found out, would cover “Our Elegant Universe.”

“What great timing,” Lukasik thought to himself. “What created the universe? Nothing other than the mind.”

The Mystic Heart Program is a Department of Religion initiative, founded by Subagh Singh Khalsa. The program aims to share meditation techniques from a variety of world religions and traditions. Lukasik represents the tradition of Vipassanā — which means “insight” in Pali, the language of many early Buddhist texts — or mindfulness meditation. He will lead the daily morning meditation sessions and the semiweekly afternoon seminars on Tuesday and Thursday.

Lukasik was studying occupational therapy at University at Buffalo when his friends, who knew he had some interest in meditation, recommended that he do a meditation retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. This was Lukasik’s introduction to mindfulness meditation, and he has been practicing it for the last 25 years. He currently studies with Spring Rain Sangha teachers Randy Baker and Jim Bedard.

Lukasik said the benefits of mindfulness meditation are twofold.

“It brings stability and consciousness, rooted in the present moment,” he said. “With that comes a decrease in distractibility. The other benefit of mindfulness is the faculty of wisdom, or experiential understanding, of the nature of the mind and body — even of the universe.”

Tuesday’s seminar topic will be “Mindfulness of Our Inner Universe.” Lukasik will teach the core of mindfulness meditation, and students will learn to to be aware of both their bodies and their minds.

“Then you’ll see how the universe gets created through the mind-body complex,” Lukasik added.

Thursday’s seminar topic will be “Loving Our Universe.” Students will learn a companion meditation practice to mindfulness called Metta meditation, commonly translated as loving-kindness meditation. The seminar will begin with cultivating a joyful love of one’s own mind and body. This love will then extend to the environment around the practitioner and ultimately to the whole universe.

Daily morning meditation is from 7:15 to 8 a.m. Monday to Friday in the conference room of the Main Gate Welcome Center. The meditation seminar, which will include practice and discussion, is from 12:30 to 1:55 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Hall of Missions. A centering prayer session will be held Thursday in the Welcome Center from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Gate passes are required to attend the morning meditation session. All sessions are open to people of any spiritual or religious belief.