By Chloé Margulis
Beginning Monday, Feb. 2, the Center for Healthy Living will offer “Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation” every Monday in the Hillwood Commons TV Room, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. for students and faculty. Mindfulness Meditation is an adaptation of Buddhist Vipassana meditation, in which an individual becomes mindful of themselves and their surroundings, thus unconditionally accepting the present.
Recently, organizations across America have been promoting Mindfulness Meditation programs. According to Anderson Cooper’s Dec. 14, interview on “60 Minutes” about his experience in meditation, the practice reaps bountiful benefits for the participant, including increased energy, improved sleep, less anxiety and depression, and a stronger immune system.
James D’Aconti, an intern in the Center for Healthy Living and second year graduate Social Work student at Adelphi, and fellow intern and second year graduate Social Work student at NYU Sadia Halim, decided to run a Mindfulness Meditation program at LIU Post this semester.
Three years ago, D’Aconti stumbled across a meditation video by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn on YouTube. “The video resonated with me,” he said, and when Dr. Zinn invited the YouTube viewers to follow along in the meditation, D’Aconti felt “that this was a turning point in my life.” D’Aconti then took an eight-week course in Mindfulness stress reduction during which he meditated every day. At first, he took the course just for himself, but when Lynne Schwartz, Director of the Center for Healthy Living, saw how passionate he was about Mindfulness Meditation, she urged him to immerse students and faculty at LIU Post into the same practice.
Schwartz noted that the upcoming weekly meditations are good for relaxing students and faculty stressed with a rigorous schedule. During the meditations, D’Aconti will start with ringing a bell three times and having the participants feel the rings and clear their minds.
“You must pay attention to something other than what you are thinking of,” D’Aconti explained about reaching the meditative state. I was given the opportunity to try this Mindfulness Meditation, and by the guidance of D’Aconti, I felt like I was stepping out of time. When the bell rings, you feel all surrounding sounds mute and you feel drawn to focus on the oscillating sound waves of the bell. It is truly a remarkable experience, difficult to describe, but easy to feel; one that is definitely soothing for a busy mind.
Last semester, D’Aconti conducted the meditation sessions for three College 101 classes and a faculty group. Now, he and Schwartz are looking forward to bringing the meditation to an even wider audience. “We would love to have more student representation,” Schwartz said. The Monday sessions will be open to everyone on campus, faculty included.
Among some of the other programs offered by the Center for Healthy Living are the Red Flag and the BRAVE Campaign. The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses. The BRAVE Campaign is aimed towards combatting bullying.
The Center for Healthy Living is located in the Life Science Building, in rooms 155 and 154. For more information about the Mindfulness Meditation and other programs offered by the Center for Healthy Living, students can contact Lynne Schwartz at 516- 299-3468.