The artwork of students in the Communication/Inquiry class “Meditation 101: Health and Spirituality” is on display in the exhibit, “Transforming Emotions: A Meditation,” in Ida Green Gallery of Ida Green Communication from November 30 through December 13. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan teaches the course. She said the exhibition displays the students’ application of Tibetan Buddhist lojong (“mind-training”), the Daoist concept of wu-wei (“acting without thought”), and Zen satori (“sudden enlightenment”) to spontaneously tap into their creative nature and provide an antidote to emotional reactivity.
While meditating, students were instructed to use two colors to focus on two emotions. They were to visualize one strong, negative emotion being transformed by a second, constructive emotion, Vargas-O’Bryan said. The resulting images reveal both emotions.
The term “mindfulness meditation” has been widely applied today in clinical settings and medical research for stress-management and combating diseases from depression to cancer, Vargas-O’Bryan said. As a part of a move toward contemplative practices in education, she said “mindfulness” meditation is being used to affect student reflection and introspection in an attempt to improve academic problem solving and understanding, as well as personal connection and stress.
Students in the class:
Kiara Bilberry of Kansas City, Missouri;
Michael Colmenares of Richmond, Texas;
Sophie Daniel of Houston, Texas;
Stephen Hirsch of Dallas, Texas;
Arianna Kermally of Sugar Land, Texas;
Maya Leisey of Galveston, Texas;
Brookelyn Lewis of Corinth, Texas;
Tate Nelson of The Colony, Texas;
Joshua Post of Palacios, Texas;
Tyler Rahn of Boerne, Texas;
Celeste Rodriquez of Galena Park, Texas;
Cassandra Silva Salas of The Colony, Texas;
Shelby Smith of Cypress, Texas;
Kate Willeford of Greenville, Texas;
Lynn Yamane of Stafford, Texas;
Rikki Lam of McKinney, Texas, CL – class leader/assistant;
Brittany Maynard of Prosper, Texas, CL – class leader/assistant;
Anika Rajesh of Murphy, Texas, CL – class leader/assistant; and
Rita Spellman of Hallsville, Texas, CL – class leader/assistant.
During the fall term of the freshman year at Austin College, every freshman takes a first year seminar course called Communication/Inquiry (or C/I). Each C/I class has a specific special interest topic through which students work to develop communication and intellectual inquiry skills needed for success throughout the college career. The professor becomes he students’ faculty mentor throughout for the rest of time at Austin College.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.