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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Student Profile: An Intimate Look at Rob Burger

    Amongst the various articles I have had the privilege of covering and writing, none give me more pleasure and satisfaction then introducing you to a very dear and sincere friend of mine, Rob Burger. Now I know what you are thinking, you are probably saying to yourself, “I guess ‘The Statesman’ needs to fill in space by talking about their friends.” I can assure you that this is not the case. In fact, this is an article about courage, individuality, fear, trust, despair, camaraderie, and hope. This is a confession of one man’s struggle to defeat the odds presented before him and, like a phoenix, rise from the ashes to fight another day.

    Starting in 2004-2005, Rob began on a pathway leading toward a downward spiral, where it became almost impossible to get out of. He was letting stress get the best of him. Not knowing how to cope with his emotions and over abundant stress level, Rob turned to pain killers and other various drugs. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he started to become a different person with whom he himself was starting to not recognize. Not only were his dependencies on chemical substances growing out of control, but his personal life was starting to take some of the effects from his depression. Rob wasn’t showing up to any of his classes, his grades were starting to plummet, and it became increasingly difficult to concentrate internally and with the external world, too.

    At this point, Rob needed help, he needed guidance, but did not know where to start or who to turn to. Slowly, everything he has fought so hard to achieve was collapsing one-by-one as he allowed his dependencies to control his own ideas, thoughts, and identity. It wasn’t until February 2006 when he found an outlet to channel his negative energy into. Rob has finally found an inner peace within yoga and meditation.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, as everything good takes time and patience, so did his transformation from a “lost soul” just scraping the surface of existence, to reaching the heightened sense of spirituality we see in him today. According to Rob, “What I like about yoga is that it not faith-based, but instead it is a combination of body and mind. Yoga brings the consciousness of your mind into your body.”

    When asked what exactly is it about yoga that he felt help balanced him the most, Rob replied with, “Yoga means union, duality. Everything is about the breath. You move through the postures through the breath. Yoga is a release. All of your life problems are ‘left on the mat’ when I do yoga and meditate. You use the breath to facilitate the release of emotions, which helps you let go of the past.”

    Currently, Rob is working with the University Counseling Center (UCC) and is involved in the Mindful Awareness and Diversity Training for Effective Conflict Resolution program. This program uses the principles of mindfulness meditation to help students and staff members to increase awareness of their own thoughts and feelings, and to enhance their effectiveness in responding to conflict among diverse students. With thanks and appreciation to Dr. JoAnne Rosen, Assistant Director for Outreach and Consultation and Cheryl Kurash, Senior Counselor at the UCC, their development and implementation one of the most powerful outreach programs the UCC has ever produced have touched and effected numerous individuals throughout the Stony Brook community.

    Rob also takes full advantage of other programs offered by SBU, including spinning classes, the student gym and aerobic center, Reiki seminars, and yoga classes. You can also find Rob’s nose stuck in a book while studying hard in the Melville Library or sparking up a conversation with one of the thousands of students, faculty, or staff members that SBU harbors.

    When asked what his thoughts were, pertaining to how these programs have helped him achieve this heightened sense of spirituality and inner peace, he replied with, “Meditation and yoga have helped me in developing the courage and dignity to know what reality is with an attitude of non-prejudiceness, openness, precision, and gentile-love-kindness.”

    Rob suggests that if anyone were to want to know more about meditating, yoga or just to find out information about how to find one’s own inner peace, that you go to the University Counseling Center. He also recommends two books, Awake Mind, Open Heart, by Cynthia Kneen, and The Places That Scare You, by Peme Ch

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