Sunday, March 23, 2008

SFSU Study

Last year a clinical psychologist asked me to be a presenter at one of her workshops in order to educate participants about meditation, and introduce simple, but effective ways to slow down the mind long enough for body, mind and spirit integration to take place. The meditation segment had a large, measurable impact and we agreed to make it a permanent part of the workshop. A few weeks later I was invited to join the board of her organization as she was getting ready to launch a pilot study researching the benefits of the various elements of the workshops.

The workshops are residential three day seminars where the participants learn about the latest scientific research in healthy nutrition, exercise, self-expression, creativity, community, friendship, and finally - meditation. Participants are from all walks of life, cultures, age groups and social backgrounds. Police officers learn alongside Hurricane Katrina survivors, Methamphetamine addicted high-school super achievers, women going through tough divorces or menopause, and Muslim medical students who would like to date.

The pilot study showed such encouraging results, that starting this month, we are conducting a much larger study over the next five years. In collaboration with San Francisco State University we are offering our preventive, educational approach to their students in order to address the many pressures faced by today's young people who find themselves in campus environments where violence and suicide are unfortunately far too common.

This education is offered at a time in life in which we all make some of our most important life choices. As such, it often intervenes at just the right time, before unwise decisions would otherwise be made. Tools like meditation, that give inner strength and sound judgement abilities are often new to the students and easy to incorporate into their lives. It is very exciting to be working together with a large University in this endeavor.

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