Kicking off the 2019 Eichler Seminar Series with Contemplative Studies

We launched our 2019 Eric Eichler ’57 Foundations in Medicine and Humanities Seminar Series with guest speakers Dr. Harold Roth and a current Brown Medical Student, Chloe Zimmerman, a current Brown Medical Student,

both hosted by Professor Sienna Craig of the Anthropology department.

Dr. Harold Roth is the Director of Contemplative Studies at Brown University and leads students in meditation activities in the “Med Lab”. His academic path has taken him from pre-medical studies, to psychology, to Chinese philosophy. Both Chloe and Professor Craig have been students of Dr. Roth and have carried their experiences in contemplative studies onward in their own careers. 

In this session, Dr. Roth led the Eichler Fellows in a guided meditation that explored the four dimensions of our bodies: depth, width, height, and time. He encouraged fellows to “stop, drop, and return” if incessant thoughts or stressors invaded the contemplative space. Following the meditation session, Dr. Roth opened the space up for discussion. Fellows shared what went well for them and what challenges they encountered in this practice. Additionally, important topics arose such as:

How are we to think of meditation removed from its origins in religion? And how are we to maintain this practice in stressful and fast-paced atmospheres, like in the medical field?

Dr. Roth and Chloe shared their insights regarding meditation practice and how, like a muscle, with increased use comes an increased sense of ease. Mindfulness can be practiced in the guided form or as simple as noting every time you touch a doorknob to check-in with your body. Following this session, participants walked away feeling refreshed and ready to share this practice with their own communities.


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