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Hit your pause button

Stop hurrying and start arriving


by Mira Dover

 
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Join Professor Mark Gabriele in a new meditation series, Practicing Presence in Plain Sight. He will be leading these pop-up meditation sessions on to-be-determined dates and times for all students, faculty and staff to join. “Our culture has made us feel like we need to be human doings instead of human beings,” said Gabriele. “We need to tip the balance back to prioritizing being.”

Gabriele is a professor in the Bioscience building on East Campus, who teaches Human Anatomy, Histology and a graduate course in Neuroscience. He anticipates holding the meditation sessions after spring break for twenty minutes at a time. “There's an initiative on campus for contemplative studies and practices—meditation and mindfulness practices,” he said. “I want people to know that there is significant scientific evidence that practicing mindfulness is one of, if not the best, way of learning presence and increasing your overall well-being.”

Practicing Presence in Plain Sight is an exciting new subset of Madison Meditates, a former program returning to JMU as a passion project for Health and Wellness. Practicing Presence's sessions will focus on decreasing stress and anxiety levels within students, faculty and staff, and giving them tools to handle difficult times on their own. “I think one of the things that can help all of us with anxiety or our overall well-being is to learn how to press your ‘pause’ button, reset or take a step back from your thinking mind,” said Gabriele. “My thinking mind is a beautiful thing, I can and do use it for so many things. But I should be using it, it shouldn’t be using me.”

How will the meditation sessions work? “The whole purpose of this activity is to bring awareness to the present moment and a genuine appreciation for what is,” said Gabriele. He says he hopes to begin with a “thought for the day” and then after briefly discussing it, practicing a short meditation in stillness of body and mind. The entire session will take place in a specific location on campus, outside in nature.

Students who wish to join these sessions should keep an eye on the UREC Instagram page (@jmuurec) for information about dates and times. “Everybody is welcome and it would be cool to have all aspects of the community there,” said Gabriele. “If we’re already talking or meditating, please feel free to join on in at any time. And if you can only stop and pause with us for 5 minutes that’s great, it’s not something you’re locked into.”

Gabriele encourages anyone curious about these events to show up and says that he most hopes to see people “just enjoying the moment together.”

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Published: Friday, March 11, 2022

Last Updated: Friday, March 25, 2022

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