Relaxed and yawning people in a semi dark room, the enchanting sound of the Tibetan bowl bell relaxes the mood. In three short sounds it all starts: no classes, no work and deadlines for twenty minutes, no stress at all. This is happening in the college once every week.
With midterms looming around the corner and research paper deadlines nearing, students and faculty can find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. That is why the meditation group meets every Wednesday to help relax and be more productive.
“There’s just so much to do in life and you get overwhelmed, but it is so important to stop and just breathe,” said Mahara Sinclaire, instructor of art, “It’s what you are doing when you are meditating; you just stop to be in the moment.”
The meditation group is held at both Glendale College campuses as part of the staff development program.
Jeanne Townsend, meditation instructor, began exploring meditation more than 30 years ago. Her coach was Shinzen Young, a well-known American meditation teacher, who trained her to become a facilitator and teacher of mindfulness meditation.
Townsend believes that meditation is important because it allows people to understand themselves better. It is not only a staff development program but a journey to self exploration.
“In the world of technology and information people lose their contact with others, we become isolated and lose our social skills, we become worried and anxious. Something wonderful happens when you see people feel relaxed and creative. If you can find time to nurture yourself, you will soon see the results,” said Townsend.
The mindfulness training program in University Massachusetts Medical School, has had positive results.
The study produced psychological well being and positive effects on a number of medical conditions. It actually changed the brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.
It is all about being in the moment, not in the past, not in the future but concentrating all one’s focus on the present to be able to use all potential one has.
“I feel overwhelmed, I just need to calm down and I need to learn how to do it,” said Kinga Modos, 33, accounting. Being in the group helped her meditate more effectively which was hard to do alone.
Townsend believes that meditation is an important tool for making conscious choices in our making conscious choices in our lives.
“It is all about you being aware of where you are and when you are. When you are not hiding in the past or future, all your resources are open and available to you. We suffer in our lives quite a bit and this helps you reach the point when your happiness is not dependent on what you have or what you don’t have, or if you are healthy or not,” said Townsend.
Sinclaire said, “The culture suggests that we be fearful and stressed out and we really need to relax and sometimes that’s hard to do. When you feel you have a lot of pressure, a lot of things to do, well its kind of refreshing. It clears your mind to become more productive and focused.”
According to Townsend, people usually worry and suffer because of the patterns of thinking. She said it’s a ride that ends up with a lot of wasted energy and damage to others and that is why it is important to train our minds.
“It was very relaxing, I am smiling. I feel refreshed and I recommend it to everybody. It’s good for anybody, for students and for working professionals,” said Modos.
The group meets every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in AD 243. Students and staff members can drop in, no enrollment is necessary.