AN INTERVIEW WITH a Koru student
By studying mindfulness, I was able to more skillfully manage the stress and better focus my mental attention on my overall well-being.
Jonathan Cranford, took Koru while earning his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Duke University.
What attracted you to Koru?
I was drawn to Koru after experiencing significant levels of stress during my Ph.D. program at Duke University. By studying mindfulness, I was able to more skillfully manage the stress and better focus my mental attention on my overall well-being.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
It is a calming and focusing of the mind, such that one can separate the actual reality from all the add-on stories the mind generates surrounding a situation so that ultimately one can proceed in a more skillful way in the moment as situations arise in life.
How do you find yourself using mindfulness in your daily life?
I find myself being able to focus entirely on the moment at hand, from doing research at work to enjoying nature’s beauty to spending time with friends. I am able to settle into the direct experience of the moment, casting away unproductive worries about the past or future. I am more able to create space between an emotional event and an instinctual reaction, increasing the probability I will proceed in a more skillful way that will benefit all involved.
How has the practice of mindfulness influenced your life?
I am able to enjoy the beautiful moments in life with less unpleasant fear of them vanishing or changing, and am able to proceed more skillfully during uncomfortable moments with a greater level of equanimity, knowing that everything is changing all the time, and that it will not last forever. In graduate school, it gave me the equanimity to focus completely on my research even in the face of difficult circumstances, which played a tremendous role in successfully writing my Ph.D. dissertation and successfully defending it in front of my committee.