In today’s busy world, it is hard to find time to relax. Ball State hopes to offer its students more chances to do so. The university recently expanded meditation opportunities for students and the Muncie community. Every Friday at 3:30 p.m., the David Owsley Museum of Art on Ball State’s campus hosts Meditation at the Museum. Sessions usually last an hour in the Chinese and Japanese Gallery and have been hosted by the university for several years. Additional sessions will be held in the Orchid Greenhouse and Charles W. Brown Planetarium.
Sessions are hosted by either counseling center graduate students or George Wolfe, a Ball State professor emeritus of music performance.
Ball State senior Jacob Harding attends meditation in the museum every chance he can. He ends up attending several times a semester and usually brings his friends.
“It helps me unwind, relieve stress and calm down,” Harding said. “I really like the feeling I have immediately afterward.”
Ball State student Lauren Reynolds attended her first session in March. The sophomore says she enjoyed her experience and plans to attend more sessions on campus. She went, because she found joy in meditation during high school. Reynolds has since strayed from meditation but looks to get back into the habit.
“The biggest gain for me was the change of scenery,” Reynolds said. “I loved the way the museum complimented the act of meditation.”
Reynolds credits the program for giving students, who aren’t committed to a religion, a chance to feel connected to others and practice some form of spirituality.
“Meditation can be used to decrease anxiety and stress, as well as improve overall health and wellness,” said Timothy Hess, associate director for clinical services at Ball State. “Meditation is a powerful tool to manage the day-to-day stressors of life.”
He helps organize Mediation in the Museum in the David Owsley Museum of Art. Hess said the museum has long used its space for improving the health and wellbeing of the campus and Muncie community overall.
“We are committed to improving the health and wellness of all students, not just those who are clients in the center,” Hess said. “This program allows us to engage in prevention work with the larger campus and work toward a culture of wellness.”
Hess and other program coordinators saw a growing interest for programs of this nature at Ball State. As a result, coordinators worked to create more programs just like it through partnerships with the Ball State Counseling Center; Office of Health, Alcohol, and Drug Education; Working Well; David Owsley Museum of Art; Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse; and the Charles W. Brown Planetarium.
Harding gave Meditation in the Museum a grade of B. He admits that some sessions are more boring than others. When he isn’t immediately immersed into a guided activity, he gets less out of the session. But he believes that it is all a part of trying new things and finding out what works for the individual.
Reynolds gave her first session a B-. She believes the sessions could be more engaging. However, she says the meditation program adds something to the Ball State experience that you can’t find everywhere. Reynolds has previously been to the newly-announced meditation locations. She anticipates that sessions outside of the museum will also be successful.
There are two meditation sessions left this semester outside of the museum. Students are welcome to attend them at noon on April 16 in the Orchid Greenhouse. The final expanded meditionation opportunity will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 18 in the Charles W. Brown Planetarium.
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