Monday, June 19, 2017

The Sounds of Silence: Practicing meditation over the Summer break

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By now you've likely settled into your Summer break pattern. Maybe you've found yourself becoming one with your couch and binge-watching Netflix until the dreaded, "Are you still watching..." message pops up with the sole intention of guilting you into action.

Or maybe you're embracing some activity that fell dormant while you were racing towards the finish line of Spring's final exams and final projects.

Maybe the Central Texas pollen has you hiding under a blanket, only to reach out for a tissue and allergy pill.

Whatever routine you've found yourself in as Summer takes off, you're likely finding more free time for thoughts to run rampant in your head: Thoughts about classes, projects, graduation, THE FUTURE (that one needs all caps, always), next semester, vacations, finances, relationships, GPAs, grad school...

Yup, there they are - not too far from the surface after all.

I'm happy to report that the library has quite the collection of mindfulness and meditation resources. And you know you're going to find links to those resources in this blog post, right? What kind of blog post wouldn't have links?

My own journey into meditation involved my realizing that I can't turn my thoughts off, and therefore am impervious to meditation. The end.

Just kidding - I'm still trying to develop a regular meditation practice. I started a 10-day guided meditation program in December 2016, and I just completed Day 7 today. So, I'm moving right along. By this time next year, I'll be well on my way to a more restful mind.

What first gave me hope that I could learn to meditate was this TED talk by Andy Puddicombe:

Check out our collection of books by Andy Puddicome here (There's one of those links I promised).

Alkek also has a nice collection of guided meditation resources that might help you get started on your journey. We have books, e-books, audio books, streaming media, DVDs, pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.

Sorry, I got off track (more on Forrest Gump here...).

Lastly, if you're more of the Netflix/Hulu/Amazon variety when you're between semesters, try downloading the Kanopy streaming app (look for it in your list of streaming channels), and check out this series on "Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation Course." You can access Kanopy through the library's databases, or by logging into the app with your University login.

For my part, I'm going to work my way through that practicing mindfulness course this summer, and finish up days 8-10 of my guided meditation this week. If all goes well, by the time the Fall semester sneaks up on us, I'll be breathing and meditating my way through all the stresses that inevitably follow.

If you have a meditation or mindfulness practice that works for you, share it in the comments below!

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