Meditation: A Key to a Better Life


Cynthia Burke’s drive to understand her spiritual purpose led her to follow the philosophy of mystic George Gurdjieff

The older people in our community have tons of stories and morals to teach us. 

Connecting younger generations with older adults is the goal of the organization Rhinebeck At Home. At a recent event, I met Cynthia Burke. As we started to converse, our passions began overlapping, and I became enthralled by her. So, I sought an interview with her to talk about things we’re both interested in.

I was completely mesmerized. A fairly new Rhinebeck resident, Cynthia,

and I planned time to chat on our own time. We called each other only a couple of days following the meeting, and I was completely mesmerized throughout the entirety of our hour-and-a-half call. The main focus was meditation—something Cynthia has been doing for 53 years. 

“The only thing worth doing in life is looking inward,” said Burke. 

She has discovered this wisdom through her meditation practices. Her words were brilliantly spoken. We made another plan to meet, so she could guide me through the process of meditation.

It’s not like meditation is a hot, new trend; it has been used for centuries. According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation, a.k.a the practices used to focus on the mind and body, is used to “calm the mind and enhance overall well-being.” 

Meditation has been used all over the globe. This practice involves honing in on breathings, mantras, sounds, and/or images. The goal of centering yourself is to reduce stress, calm down, and relax. Other after-effects of meditating are preventing disease, improving sleep, and managing symptoms of stress, depression, pain, or withdrawal. 

Cynthia’s meditations are guided and driven by spiritual author Steven Levine’s methods. He has written books regarding meditation and grief work. She also follows the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, who taught how to become hyper-aware of your own consciousness. 

“Gurdjieff philosophy has changed my life,” said Cynthia.

When we started the meditation, she had me sit with my feet planted on the ground and my hands intertwined with my thumbs overlapped. She was avidly against me crossing my legs–not only during meditation but in general. 

Following this information, she asked me to straighten my posture and close my eyes. Keeping my feet planted on the floor helped me to focus on my body in a classic, relaxed position. It also allows me to better concentrate on my deep thoughts.

I came to ignore all other distractions, and I found a place of calm, an intriguing area of my conscious mind. Meditation allows you to only focus on yourself. Its purpose is to focus on making your body come back to an internal equilibrium.

For people that are stressed, anxious, or disconnected from their bodies, meditation is a great way to streamline yourself toward a calm state of mind. For those who are simply searching to find a deeper meaning and better understanding of themselves, meditation can do that too.

Meditating is a great stress relieving and learning tool for everyone in our school. Everyone can benefit from it. 

“The only evolution left is psychological,” said Burke. 

Using meditation will aid progress as an individual and happiness as a community.