If you didn't go to school for theatre, there's a good chance you've never even heard of Sanford Meisner. He was a member of the Group Theatre in the early 20th century along with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and other people that you've probably never heard of unless you were a theatre major. Basically, he was part of a shift in theatre from the really presentational plays of the past century to realism, and was all about using exercises to get rid of overthinking things while acting and to come from a place of emotional honesty. His definition of acting was "living truthfully under imaginary circumstances."
So this class that I was taking didn't involve any scenes or monologues like you'd expect from an acting class. Instead, you spend the whole time doing the repetition exercise with occasional variations. Basically it goes something like this: two people stand facing each other and find something about the other person. One person says "you're wearing a red shirt," and the other person says "I'm wearing a read shirt," and the first person says, "yea, you're wearing a red shirt." And this goes on for a while, and the idea is that you stop thinking about that person's red shirt, and instead are commenting wordlessly on the other person's behavior.
Actors are usually pretty sensitive, emotionally expressive people to begin with. This exercise simply tries to eliminate your brain dictating what your gut should be doing, getting rid of any weird actor habits (like pacing back or forth nervously,) and getting you to really connect and want something from your acting partner. It's awesome.
But it's HARD.
Have you ever tried, let's say, when you're can't fall asleep at night, to shut your brain up? You think, on the count of three, I'm going to stop thinking, one, two, three I wonder what they'll have at lunch tomorrow. They say meditation helps, and maybe it does for some people, but man. I am a very brain heavy person.
So yea. It was a wonderful class, and wonderful way in which to finally let my brain just kind of take a break and sit in the backseat for a little bit while I explored what it was to grow as an actor. I may be out of college, but if Meisner can be believed, I've still got a good 20 years before I'm a real actor.