Next week, a host of wellness groups will guide the community in meditative opportunities to celebrate “The Power of the Pause” during the first ever Contemplation by Design Week. The inauguration of this program is paired with the recent opening of the Windhover Contemplative Center, which is a special meditative resource. The whole week is an invitation to the entire community, students, faculty, staff and maintenance to explore the value of experiencing time away from daily routine.
The week’s theme, “The Power of the Pause,” is captured in the central acronym, “PEACE,” which stands for “Pause, Exhale, Attend, Connect and Express.” The aim of the week is to cultivate a culture that embraces a need for mental quietness that enhances our personal health and collective performance.
Contemplation by Design (CBD) Week follows an event in May that invited the campus to practice contemplation during a carillon concert from the carillon bells of Hoover Tower. This tradition will be continued on Friday, Nov. 7, as the grand finale to a week of mindfulness and meditation. The concert will serve as the grand finale to a culminating series of sessions and discussions of meditation.
Various groups on campus — including Health Improvement Program, BeWell, iThrive, the Office of Religious Life and Residential and Dining Enterprises — are sponsoring the events occurring throughout the week. Partners in the d.school, Stanford Arts Institute and the Windhover Center will create spaces conducive to the purpose of each occasion. All of the events are funded off the budgets of the individual sponsors.
Student groups such as Talisman and Stanford Taiko are also donating their time for the Contemplative Concert in Bing Concert Hall on Thursday, Nov. 6.
“Each of the collaborators is making a significant contribution of time and energy and funds and resources,” said Tia Rich, CBD organizer.
The number of involved departments is indicative of the huge outreach of CBD, according to Rich.
“There are not a lot of events that bring the entire Stanford community together, especially in a shared learning experience,” Rich said.
Importance of pausing
Contemplation reduces the effects of stress, which can impair academic, emotional and social functioning, according to Carole Pertofsky, director of the iThrive program at Vaden Health Center.
“It’s deliberate. It’s a recognition that I need to refuel and…tap into something that is healing and restoring inside myself,” Pertofsky said.
Rich also explained that science has shown that meditation invokes alpha and theta brain waves that offer fresh perspective from the beta waves used during routine work.
“In the contemplative and meditative states we move more into the parasympathetic region that is going to be supportive of physiological health,” Rich said.
At Stanford, finding quiet time and space can be a challenge, Pertofsky has noticed.
“More and more is being accomplished with incredible amount of speed and effectiveness and efficiency, and yet the level of distress [makes] everyone is ramped up,” Pertofsky said.
Contact Alexandra Bourdillon at abourdil’’at’ stanford.edu.