Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Charlene Starks

Second Committee Member

Heidi Stevenson

Abstract

This study investigated the lived experiences of community college students who have engaged in meditation practice during their time as community college students. Utilizing semi-structured interviews and a qualitative, transcendental phenomenological approach, the researcher investigated the phenomenon of meditation practice among community college meditators, while attempting to better understand the shared meaning respondents ascribed to the phenomenon, in this case meditation practice. Data was collected from eight respondents, generating four overarching themes, and several subthemes. All respondents who participated in the study reported perceived psychological benefits that they attributed to their meditation practice. Psychological stress was the motivating factor, a common a thread among all respondents, that led students to exploring meditation practice as a tool to alleviate their psychological discomfort. Each of the respondents stated that their meditation practice increased their awareness, generated feelings of acceptance, cultivated a sense of calm, improved mental clarity, and promoted expansive perspective-taking. All eight respondents experienced an overall increased capacity to navigate difficult thoughts, emotions and physical experiences, oftentimes extending into more adaptive external behaviors. Six of the eight respondents reported that their meditation practice contributed to improved focus and attentional abilities. According to all the respondents, meditation practice contributed to their development of mindfulness, and this mindfulness development was incorporated in their daily lives – a particularly promising finding. The presence of a formal meditation course, a qualified teacher and a community of meditators contributes to initial meditation practice development, as well as continued practice for community college students. Challenges associated with meditation practice such as lack of time, difficult relationships, and mind-wandering were reported as well.

Pages

186

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