Meditation club offers a gateway to relaxation

Emily Zawacki
The Lawrence University Meditation and Mindfulness club is back on campus thanks to freshman Will Tyler. LUMM seeks to provide a friendly environment for students to congregate and practice meditation and mindfulness once a week.

Though the group has previously existed on campus, Tyler, who acts as president, secretary and treasurer, took a new approach to the organization. “I didn’t really think of it as re-forming it,” said Tyler. “My senior year in high school I took this mindfulness class, and before that I had been doing some meditation, as inspired by the Dalai Lama.”

Inspired by his work in high school and the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tyler was looking to create a vaguely spiritual group on campus that he could be close with.

The club officially became organized during the end of Winter Term, with meetings starting up the beginning of spring term. LUMM is currently focused on their weekly meetings, but Tyler has many plans for the club next year, including day trips to parks to meditate, camping trips and bringing speakers to campus.

Tyler finds LUMM to be another great group to bond with in order to feel more a part of the Lawrence community. “It’s a friendly atmosphere, and there’s no pressure to stick with the club if you’re not sure it’s for you,” said Tyler.

LUMM runs with a five-part agenda for their meetings. Meetings begin with members giving everyone hugs in order to act as an icebreaker and create a positive atmosphere. The group then splits off into small sections to participate in “Roses and Thorns” where members share the good and bad parts of their day and week.

They continue on to “Mindfulness of Surprise,”, which is constituted of members rotating researching and sharing something interesting about mindfulness and meditation, such as a new exercise. After that, the group move into 10 minutes of walking meditation, finishing with 15 minutes of sitting meditation.

Freshman Hattie Walden has been faithfully attending meetings and helping Tyler get the word out on LUMM by making and putting up fliers. “Personally, its great for me de-stress, to just sit down and think about nothing, or like most people that are starting, everything,” said Walden. “I’ve found it helpful just to prepare for the week and it prepares me to have an open mind for whatever may come during the week.”

As the average Lawrentian is often said to be extremely busy, LUMM offers a stable, friendly opportunity for students to take an hour of time out of their week to collect their thoughts by means of meditation and mindfulness.

 “Meditation is not any easy task to add to your routine, and having weekly meetings makes it a lot easier to remember to meditate at least once a week,” said freshman LUMM member Sam Rolfe. “Meditation is more than a means for relaxation… It’s a way to practice focusing your mind and become more aware of the world around you!”

Walden also finds the meetings a great break for the average Lawrentian. “Lawrence is a community that is always on the go, and it’s easy for people to just get lost with doing, rather than stepping back and thinking. It helps a tremendous amount with stress,” said Walden.

Lawrence University Meditation and Mindfulness meets from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Mondays on the second floor of the Diversity Center. No previous meditation experience is necessary, and all students are welcome to try out the club. Those with questions or those interested in joining should attend a meeting or contact Tyler as his campus email.