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Don’t just do something — sit there! A cognitive perspective on how meditation and mindfulness support mental wellbeing

May 2nd, 2014 4 comments


I remember my first time attending one of Jing Ye’s meditation sessions in the Rose Chapel at Colby. The idea of meditation had always been appealing to me; it sounded “new age” and profound. In reality, meditation is a lot different from what most people imagine. During my first attempt, my irritation grew as the dull aching in my lower back intensified and the sensation of pins and needles spread through my crossed legs. Not to mention the frog-like noises coming from the guy sitting next to me as he swallowed down saliva. Couldn’t he just stop that? Sitting there with eyes closed, I resorted to generating a to-do list in my head – no one would know I was cheating. Jing had told us to be present and aware of our body’s sensations and emotions in a nonjudgmental manner, but being asked to sit still left me with no choice but to confront the internal chaos that I was usually too busy to notice.

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