Meditation @ Mac: addressing anxiety in Mac community – Macalester College The Mac Weekly

Posted: October 11, 2019 at 4:46 pm


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Izzy Gravano, Arts EditorOctober 10, 2019

In his own words, Rev. Marc Anderson is Macalesters zen grandpa. He serves as the Buddhist Chaplain in the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL), where he facilitates Meditation @ Mac twice a week. The 30-minute sessions are open to students, faculty and community members.

Meditation @ Mac existed prior to Andersons arrival six years ago. When he first started as a volunteer Buddhist chaplain, a student organization was already holding meditation sessions. Anderson was officially hired two years later when College Chaplain and Associate Dean Rev. Kelly J. Stone started her tenure at the college. The students who had previously facilitated the meditation sessions decided to disband their organization leaving a gap in the colleges spiritual programming.

My view of meditation practice, even though I come from the Japanese Soto School of Zen Buddhism, is that I dont see Buddhism as a prerequisite, Anderson said. If students are interested in that part of it, Im available to them but Im trying to offer meditation as something thats available to everybody.

Rev. Anderson approaches meditation on a college campus differently than he might elsewhere.

Some form of contemplative space is really essential for everybody to be healthy, Anderson said. Its not just that youre less anxious and your blood pressure goes down, but it has all these other impacts that are harder for people to grasp because its because it happens differently for everyone.

Meditation is widely recommended by medical professionals and academics alike. On Macalesters campus, Disability Services sees a range of students with anxiety and stress two common reasons why someone might begin meditating.

I find that meditation is a great resource for our students to reduce anxiety, Disability Services Coordinator Josie Hurka said. It is one tool in the toolbox for a healthy life, so its nice that Macalester offers meditation here free of charge and open to everyone.

A dozen or so students regularly attend Meditation @ Mac. Anna Turner 22 sees the benefits, but like many students, cant find the time in the week to make her way to the chapel.

Ive never attended Meditation @ Mac, but Ive always wanted to. Turner said, I like that its a group atmosphere and so low stakes; hopefully I can convince my friends to come with me,

For Macalester students, Anderson cant recommend his sessions enough.

There are few things [in life] that I would guarantee, but meditation is one of them, Anderson said. Not everyone is ready for it, but Ive never met anyone whos been committed to it and not found it to be a good thing, and I cant think of anything else that I could say that about.

You just have to come in the door, he continued. And try it out.

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Meditation @ Mac: addressing anxiety in Mac community - Macalester College The Mac Weekly

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October 11th, 2019 at 4:46 pm

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