ARLINGTON, Va. – When Army Recovery Care Program Soldiers visit Moon Lake on Fort Riley, Kansas, they might be fishing or kayaking, but they could also be meditating.
Moon Lake is a small, deep lake that boasts calm waters and is encircled by trees. Every Tuesday, Soldiers assigned to the Fort Riley Soldier Recovery Unit participate in a guided meditation on its shores.
“The Soldiers really seem to like it,” said Adaptive Reconditioning Support Specialist Rebecca Weston.
Recreation Therapist Ben Hatch incorporated an app called Mindfulness Coach into the weekly guided meditations. It was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. The meditations are brief, can be practiced seated or lying down and are engaging even for those who are new to it, Weston explained.
One meditation that the Soldiers practiced at Moon Lake centered on compassion. It began with compassion for loved ones and then progressed to the self and culminated in the feeling for others, Weston said. Afterward, Soldiers were welcome to continue meditating or discuss practicing mindfulness and other related topics with those in attendance.
When it comes to meditation, practice makes perfect. Weston noted that participants sometimes aren’t able to get into a calm state or remain there. Through practice, they are able to release everything and be quiet, calm and focused, she said.
Weston noted that a brief meditation can feel like it has brought someone back into centeredness and calmness or change their outlook.
“It’s a great way to check in with yourself and build mindfulness or compassion whether it’s for yourself or others,” she said.
The Army Warrior Care and Transition Program is now the Army Recovery Care Program. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same: to provide quality complex case management to the Army's wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.