Final Project Personal Essay

When a life-changing experience with mental illness caused me to take a year off from school to recover, my perspective shifted radically. I was forced to learn that the way that I looked at and interacted with the world needed to change, and thanks to this experience, I became interested in spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness practices. Along with the help of several books, one phone application was my first true meditation teacher; Headspace showed me how to solidify a daily, ten+ minute meditation practice, and since then, I haven’t looked back. In the past two years, I have been scouring bookshelves, online content, and phone applications to find information and experiences that would resonate deeply with my inner desire for harmony. I know that these resources were my best options to finding lasting inner peace, as meditation teachers often found on the web, showed me how to cultivate states of stillness, health, and understanding with greater ease. Thanks to these practices I also became increasingly likely to make healthy decisions that would benefit my productivity, my I return to school, and my relationships with others.

Without meditation and mindfulness practices shared online, I may have found peace within through other sources, but online outlets certainly expedited the process. In no way am I blissed out, perfectly healthy, or ‘enlightened,’ but I am in a much better place than where I started. I am incredibly grateful for this shift, and my experiences have left a lasting desire to understand the ways in which individuals share wellness techniques online. I look to pass forward any knowledge with as many people I can, so that they too can learn ways to reduce their suffering. Since this information is online, and more people have access to computers and smartphones than ever before, people are more likely to come across wellness techniques; however, I believe that there are more effective and ethical ways to share this information online so that it is more accessible for users.

During my third and fourth year of college, I have conducted research and am writing a thesis on how meditation and mindfulness are shared with Internet technologies through the Interdisciplinary Studies major. Therefore, I have delved into this topic, but with a more general, theoretical lens. With this project, I will actually be able to study specific apps like Headspace with a focused approach. Further, in the past year, I have begun teaching and guiding meditations, and it has been an extremely rewarding experience. I have also led an Instagram campaign for a group called Good Vibe Tribe that my started on campus and beyond, where we had a 10x10x10 meditation challenge. For ten straight days at 10 AM, I would guide meditations via the Instagram live stream for ten minutes. These meditations were also available on our Instagram page for twenty-four hours after they were recorded. It was an awesome way to use technology to reach people with these practices, as we would average about ten to fifteen viewers a day. For the creative portion of this project, I would like to continue using technology to record my guided meditations in another way. I would like to use a Zoom recording device and Audacity to create meditation recordings that will be accessible indefinitely on this WordPress. I hope to use any insights from my research on meditation apps to hone my teaching skills. It will be an exciting experiment!