Thirty minutes. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Meditation bells ring to make the audience aware that it is time to begin, and it is only silence that proceeds. A clock ticks while the time passes. Sitting upright in a chair with eyes closed, positive affirmations fill the minds of each person sitting in the room. Outside the door, the Weatherspoon Art Museum remains quiet.
Mindful Mondays are what these free mediation sessions are called. Each session consists of a small group led by librarian and retired UNCG Library and Information Studies professor, Jim Carmichael.
Hence the name, every Monday, the group meets in a room on the first floor of the Weatherspoon Art Museum located on Tate Street.
“The silence [in the Weatherspoon Art Museum] is just beautiful,” Carmichael said. “I love this building.”
In a society that uses television, computers and social media to unwind, it can be difficult to find that silence to allow for effective meditation and to separate oneself from the technological world. Because the use of technology only begins to climb, people remain busy and less likely to focus on themselves.
“It’s often said that we’re not human doings, we’re human beings,” Carmichael said. “And being is what we practice [during Mindful Mondays].”
Different people have their own reasons for choosing to partake in mediating whether it be to ease anxiety, cope with depression or decrease physical pain. Studies show that any amount of meditation is beneficial for mental and physical health.
“The optimal time supposedly…they’ve done research at Duke…for a meditation session where you get the most out of it is twenty-seven minutes,” said Carmichael.
Two years ago, Carmichael said he decided to begin meditating and that the experience has since been a “discovery of a lifetime.”
“I’m just a citizen off the street,” said Carmichael. “What I love is finding people who just kind of wandered into [Mindful Mondays] and said they think this is wonderful, because that’s exactly how I feel.”