The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life offers “The Quiet Spot,” teaching various guided meditation techniques, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
A recent session was guided by Bil Owen, instructional technology coordinator for the Academic Success Center.
“It’s always encouraging that people are taking time to work with their minds,” said Owen, who has led meditation for two years.
People believe they are using their minds throughout the day, but they generally don’t observe their thoughts, he said, adding that we are easily distracted by our devices.
Meditation allows one to observe habitual, sometimes negative, thoughts. Then they can begin to guide and change their thought habits, Owen said.
Meditation mats and pillows were provided for the guided event on a recent Wednesday.
The three participants, myself included, learned Metta meditation, which focuses on loving kindness and sending loving thoughts to oneself and others. As the session began we were instructed to close our eyes. Immediately my mind began to wander. I noticed the sound of the cars passing until I focused on Owen’s voice.
He told us to focus on our breathing, to inhale slowly, then exhale. Soon my mind was so quiet that I felt the blood flow through the veins in my arms. Owen said that when your mind wanders, and you notice it, it is okay because you are living in the present.
As the session came to a close, we repeated after Owen: “May you be healthy, may you be happy, may you be peaceful.”
He then thanked us for attending the class.
“I think students go through a lot of stress and anxiety,” said Julianna Blandford, freshmen education major. She said she goes to the Quiet Spot regularly.
She added that she applied lavender oil around her neck before class, which helps her relax.
“We are constantly always thinking, and that is not natural for the mind,” Blandford said.
She said meditation helps her become aware of her negative thoughts.
“(Owen’s) voice is very soothing and I felt relaxed after the class,” said Yvette Zabala, junior sociology major.
The Quiet Spot takes place weekdays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and every Tuesday from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Interfaith Chapel.
Vanessa Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.