Home to dynamic exhibitions, live performances, and more, the Hammer Museum is the ideal space for anyone searching for cultural and artistic enrichment. There’s always something new to look forward to, as the Hammer Museum hosts a wide variety of speakers and events almost every week for audiences and participants of all ages.
While you may be aware of the Hammer’s contemporary art displays and its occasional movie screenings, you probably haven’t heard a great deal about the museum’s most consistent program, Mindful Awareness, which has been occurring every week as early as 2012.
Though located at the Hammer, the sessions are held by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and are usually led by the director of MARC, Diana Winston, a former Buddhist nun and one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness meditation.
Diana, called by the LA Times as “one of the nation’s best-known teachers of mindfulness,” has developed curriculum and taught mindfulness since 1993 in a variety of settings including hospitals, universities, corporations, non profits, and schools. You can learn more about Diana on her website.
The Mindful Awareness sessions, which are free and open to everyone, begin at 12:30pm every Thursday in the Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater and last about half an hour.
There are no expectations or requirements for participations, and anyone who drops in is welcome to stay for as little or as long as he/she desires. Each week has a different theme, and usually includes introductory comments, guided meditation, silent practice time, and closing comments. For those who aren’t able to go to the sessions in person, podcasts are also available to download or stream online.
According to the program’s description, sessions are intended to teach participants techniques on how to “live more presently” by implementing mindfulness into their daily lives.
“Mindfulness” is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental, and emotional experiences. Mindfulness has scientific support as a means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and well-being. In the past, sessions have also discussed topics including cultivating love and kindness, enduring hardships, and forgiveness.
Although 30 minutes a week may seem like an inadequate amount of time to address topics related to mental health awareness, these sessions provide a unique opportunity to take a moment to pause amidst the chaos of a fast-paced hectic schedule. They provide an opportunity to refresh, to gain a different perspective, and to be mindful of the present. For those seeking room to breathe, Mindful Awareness sessions can provide a place of solace and a sense of peace.
For more information on this program, you can go to the Hammer Museum’s official website. Or you can go ahead and drop in this Thursday at 12:30pm, at the Billy Wilder theater located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024.