HANNAH KESTLY | NEWS EDITOR
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, SNC’s Agape Latte hosted Dr. Deirdre Egan-Ryan for her lecture titled “Namaste: Finding Your Path Within” at 8:30 p.m. in the Campus Center. The event first started with live music at 8 p.m. played by Alex Volk ’18 and Patrick Zelinski ’19.
Dr. Deirdre Egan-Ryan is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Academic Service Learning at SNC. Beginning her lecture, Dr. Egan-Ryan said that she would be talking about her spiritual grounding in the yoga tradition and in Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Before delving into these topics, she first asked audience members to take a moment and focus on their breathing, which is an essential part to doing yoga. “To do any kind of yoga pose you have to be grounded in your breath,” said Egan-Ryan.
She next talked about the various translations of the word “Namaste.”
“Some know it as a statement of peace and honor and respect,” said Egan-Ryan. “I like this one: I honor the spirit in you that is also in me. The divine wisdom in me recognizes and acknowledges the divine wisdom in you.”
“We are honoring the divinity that is in each of us as we go along the path,” said Egan-Ryan.
Connecting this to college students, Egan-Ryan said that many students ask themselves, “What am I going to do with my life?” as they near graduation, herself included when she was in college.
“This is such a weighted question, and I think this is maybe the wrong question to ask,” she said. “In questions of calling and vocation I’d like to suggest that we don’t have to have it all figured out. There is joy in not knowing; there is joy in the journey and living in the present. This is where my spirit is, where God is and where my direction comes from.”
Egan-Ryan again referenced the two practices that have informed her choices in her life, first with her yoga practice teaching her to stay in the present.
“I’ve learned to ‘stay on my own mat,’ and to not think about the next steps or about the person next to me. I think about my own gaze and my own breath,” said Egan-Ryan.
She also talked about how her sense of Ignatian spirituality has given her a different approach to life and decision-making.
“This is the idea of being an active contemplative,” said Egan-Ryan. “Take time to participate and to retreat, so that all of your actions are grounded. Have an orientation that is ‘other-focused.’”
Egan-Ryan also stressed the emphasis on the idea of practice rather than looking to achieve or finish something.
“If you find a practice that is meaningful to you, that is where you will find your grounding. I find that practice really matters, the practice of everyday life.”
Having these practices established in her life helped Egan-Ryan in her different job experiences and in other parts of her life, which she also took time to talk about.
As her lecture came to a close, she asked the audience, “What are the practices that are useful to you? What grounds you, gives you the ability to breath and to take the time to make the choices that are most meaningful to you?”
Agape Latte is a speaker series that features faculty and staff members sharing stories about he intersection of life and faith. For more information on Agape Latte, visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AgapeLatteSNC/ or contact Campus Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.