With finals looming, many students may find themselves stressing to stay on top of things. In today’s fast-paced society, it seems as though more individuals find themselves stressed.
This includes students, who must balance work and extracurricular activities along with school.
Less-than-positive ways to relieve stress include alcohol and over-eating, but meditation can be a healthy alternative that avoids a hangover.
I started meditating this summer, and I strongly recommend it. Though I am not an expert on the topic, I do have some suggestions.
Pick up a book
First, pick up a book on the topic, preferably one that includes a guided meditation CD or link. The book that I found was “Meditation for Beginners” by Jack Kornfield.
To summarize its teachings, staying in the moment in a changing, transient world is the main concept. I’ve realized that most feelings, thoughts and sensations are fleeting; they go away with time.
Kornfield’s book teaches us to observe our sensations with a sense of loving-kindness, a trait inherent in Buddhism. Observing sensations such as thoughts or feelings, bringing them back to our breath and releasing them is a simple, prominent aspect of meditation that Kornfield teaches. And though meditation has roots in Buddhism, people of any faith, or even those without a faith tradition, can practice it. Kornfield’s discussion of forgiveness and its importance in healing is also something I found to be of great interest.
Second, for students on a budget, a multitude of YouTube videos offer insights on the topic. These include guided meditations on specific topics including studying, improving focus or recovering from a breakup. Many YouTube videos can also help improve overall mindfulness, and some offer testimonies on the benefits of meditation.
Become involved in meditation
Finally, for those interested in becoming part of a meditation community, there is the Spirit Room, located in downtown Fargo at 111 Broadway.
Dawn Morgan, executive director of the Spirit Room for the last 15 years, said that all kinds of people meditate, and that the important aspect of meditation is mindfulness: a state that can be achieved through meditation.
“If your mind isn’t scattered, you’re able to better focus on things,” she said.
Morgan noted that this ability, once gained through meditation, can be applied to other aspects of life. She also stated that many people already practice a form of meditation, or mindful-thinking, but are unaware of it.
Morgan noted specific aspects of life which can be improved through meditation, and emphasized its importance to those interested in creative arts. Various activities, such as playing guitar or painting, can be improved through meditation, she said. Meditation can prove helpful to students involved in creative arts or any other studies.
Morgan also noted the healing power of meditation for those suffering from anger issues, anxiety or other mental struggles. “Meditation is about noticing, being willing to let go and coming back into the present,” she said.
Meditation can help a student who is struggling to focus. Morgan said that “meditation classes and practice are free for students.”
More information on the Spirit Room can be found on its webpage; spiritroom.net, or on their Facebook page.
If meditation sounds interesting, the MSUM Wellness Center will be offering free meditation classes, as well as free smoothies, massages and restorative yoga classes from 3 to 5 p.m. on study day.
BY DAVID SCHNEIDER