Research has shown that regular meditation can help alleviate our base levels of anxiety and depression as well as improving concentration, attention and psychological well-being. With all the stress that comes with the start of a new semester in mind, I thought it would be good to check out the weekly meditation that the multi faith chaplaincy team here at UoL offer.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and find calm amongst the storm that is university life. One of the great things about mediation is that it varies widly so you can take what you like from each session and use it in your own practice outside of the group so you have a way to keep grounded at all times. In the current circumstances it can be very hard to feel like we have control of anything. During meditation you are in complete control of your body and your mind, which often gives a sense of comfort and security that is sometimes hard to find elsewhere.
The beauty of mediation is that you can do it anywhere! Be it whilst cooking, walking, before bed or as you brush your teeth, you can do it all mindfully. If you are interested in finding out more about doing things you do daily mindfully then check out my post on mindfulness based strengths practice (MBSP).
The sessions usually lasts 35-40 minutes and consists of two or more, guided mediations with a short break in between. In normal circumstances the sessions would take place face to face on campus at Witham House, but currently they take place on zoom every Tuesday at midday. All the information you need to join the sessions can be found here.
The first meditation was based on using breath as the anchor. Amongst all of our distracting thoughts we kept returning to focus on the breath. It really does lead to a sense of internal calm as you eventually forget all the stresses of the day, and clear your mind in a way I previously thought impossible.
The second meditation was focussed on trying to reconnect with the pleasant aspects of our daily lives to remind us of things that we can sometimes take for granted. We were reminded that most people will agree that all human life is precious and with that ideology we should start with ourselves and learn to truly love who we are and take care of our mind.
I learnt that mindfulness is not a form of concentration but is instead a calm open focused awareness of what is going on around us and simply letting it unfold. Being calm in the moment is what makes meditation so insightful and relaxing.
Overall I had a great experience and I would recommend the weekly sessions to anyone who is looking to explore meditation or add some more of it into their weekly routine. As a reminder, all the information you need to join the sessions can be found here. Thank you for reading and I hope that this post has inspired you to continue on or start your journey of mindfulness through meditation.
I would like to thank Helen Townsend, our Catholic Chaplain and David Greenop, our Buddhist Faith Advisor for leading the weekly sessions.