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Counseling & Psychological Services

Counseling & Psychological Services

Counseling & Psychological Services

Sustaining Your Practice

Mindfulness and meditation practice are like exercise for the mind: the benefits really start to become evident over time. Consistency is key: even 10 minutes of daily practice, whether formal or informal, can make a difference. Connecting with a community of practitioners can also foster greater learning and ongoing motivation. This page includes information about additional resources on campus, in the community, and online to support your ongoing growth and development. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we have tried to highlight resources that are both accessible and at no or low cost to students.

Many of these resources are secular, or non-religious. Some of these resources are associated with Buddhist ideas and traditions, given Buddhism's rich history of emphasizing mindfulness and meditation. In these cases, we have elected to include resources that support an inclusive form of Buddhist practice. This approach does not ask participants to "convert" to Buddhism, it does not require belief in supernatural or metaphysical ideas, and it can be compatible with one's existing spiritual or religious preferences.

While many additional resources can be found online and in the community, we encourage you to approach these with a balance of openness and healthy skepticism.

 

Campus Resources

SDSU students can take our 3-session workshop at SDSU Counseling & Psychological Services. Click on the link to learn more.

Delta Beta Tau bills itself as "a co-ed service fraternity founded on the Buddhist principles of generosity, morality, patience, diligence, meditation and wisdom. Our members are not necessarily Buddhist and it is not our intention for them to become Buddhist. It is our deepest wish to share the practice of wisdom and compassion with all students." They developed from the Dharma Bum Temple community here in San Diego. Delta Beta Tau also offers weekly meditation in the evenings. Check their site for information on time and location.

Community Resources

In addition to a variety of free guided mindfulness and meditation exercises online, UCSD Center for Mindfulness offers classes and workshops, weekly support groups, and extended retreats. Website description: "The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness is a multi-faceted program of professional training, education, research and outreach intended to further the practice and integration of mindfulness into all aspects of society."

The Dharma Bum Temple, located in University Heights, offers multiple opportunities for mindfulness and meditation practice, educational talks, group discussion, and community service. Website description: "The Dharma Bum Temple is a home for the study and practice of Buddhism, yet we do not advocate one particular school of Buddhism. Our community is simply a bridge for people to learn how to make change within their own life and be of benefit to others."

Located in Escondido, Deer Park Monastery is a mindfulness practice center and monastic training center founded by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, scholar, and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh. Although offerings to the public are limited to certain days of the week and scheduled retreats, it is a good choice for both beginning and experienced practitioners who want a change of pace from the urban environment. Website description: "Deer Park is a place to quiet the mind, look deeply, and enjoy the wonders of life within and around us through the practices of sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and sharing togetherness. We invite all who wish to cultivate peace and happiness in their lives to plan a visit — for a day or for a retreat."

 

Websites

Mindful is a good resource for articles, guided meditations, interviews, and podcast episodes on various aspects of mindfulness. Although they do have a subscription model, Mindful is a non-profit and much of their content is free to non-subscribers. Website Description: "Mindful is a mission-driven non-profit. We’re dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society. Mindful is the voice of the emerging mindfulness community. We’re the place to go for insight, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully."

Much like UCSD Center for Mindfulness (see Community Resources above), UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center focuses on research, training, and education. Of note are their free guided meditations and weekly podcasts. Website description: "MARC's mission is to foster mindful awareness across the lifespan through education and research to promote well-being and a more compassionate society."

Pocket Mindfulness is an interesting, no-frills website that serves as a blog for the musings and insights of author Alfred James. His entries are interesting because they reflect how he has incorporated mindfulness into different aspects of his life. This is a good resource for playing with how you might weave mindfulness into more aspects of your life.

Apps

Oh, the wide and wild world of apps... This was a challenging section to put together, as there are currently dozens and dozens of apps focusing on mindfulness and meditation. Most of them have a "free" component, but ask for a subscription fee for access to their core content. Many of the apps are "glossy" and user-friendly, but the quality of their content varies. And while there are apps that are not-for-profit, many of the most popular apps are money-making ventures. Let the buyer beware. This article from Mindful, and this one from WIRED, discuss some of the concerns and contradictions inherent in mindfulness and meditation apps.

When considering an app, ask yourself a few questions: Will it help you to practice regularly? Will you be able to resist the urges and distractions that our phones are designed to promote? If you are using a paid app, is the content demonstrably better and more helpful than that which is freely accessed? If you are using apps with social or "gamification" components, will this be helpful to you or might it promote unhelpful social comparison or competitiveness?

Only you can answer these questions based on your unique preferences. Below you will find some recommendations for apps with free content, as well as a few for apps with some free content and subscription models. 

Insight Timer receives the highest recommendation for students on a budget. Its content is free, and it includes thousands of guided meditations, talks, courses, and online discussions. It also includes a timer with a variety of settings, including different types of bells and ambient sounds such as wind, waves, birdsong, and flowing water. The one significant drawback to Insight Timer (especially for beginning practitioners) is the wide-open, unstructured nature of the content. If you are new to meditation, I encourage you to stick to content created by reputable teachers such as Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Kristin Neff, Elisha Goldstein, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Smiling Mind also has plenty of free content, but it does not compare to the diverse offerings on Insight Timer. What it lacks in volume and variety, it makes up for in structure and progression. Smiling mind is a good way to build a basic foundation in mindfulness and meditation.

Of the apps with free initial content and monthly or yearly subscriptions, these are put together by clear and engaging teachers who appear to be very interested in ongoing support to the community. Both provided responses to emailed questions within a day. 10% Happier offers access to meditation coaches if you buy a subscription.

Books

There are lots of great books on mindfulness and meditation, and you can access most of these at our campus library or at one of our city or county libraries. Check out the City of San Diego Public Library and San Diego County Library websites for information about how to access their e-books and audio-books. The following books are good for both beginning and experienced practitioners...