Transcendental Meditation Club to relieve college stress

By Dominic Rose, Contributing writer

When students are faced with multiple midterms in the same week, it is easy to stress out and lose focus; however, the Transcendental Meditation Club is providing students with ways to relax.

The Transcendental Meditation Club is an organization based at the University. Regular meetings are held in the Illini Union, and the club is planning to have off-campus events and lectures in the future. It will have two introductory discussions on Oct. 25 and 26.

“Our purpose is to introduce the ‘Transcendental Meditation’ technique to individuals in the campus community and beyond,” Erin Gelke, treasurer of the club, said. “We seek to provide information through formal and informal lectures, classes and discussions.”

Andrew Dinsmoor, an authorized agent for the club, said that “Transcendental Meditation” is a type of meditation that involves minimal effort and differs from concentration and contemplation meditations. It can help manage stress or anxiety caused by college and life.

Although meditation and yoga can both relieve stress, Dinsmoor said that yoga involves movement, while “Transcendental Meditation” involves sitting in one place.

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Donna Warwick, certified teacher of the this meditation technique for the C-U area, said “Transcendental Meditation” is a worldwide, non-profit organization.

When Warwick started doing 20 minutes of this technique twice a day, it gave her profound rest and relaxation. She said she felt a genuine sense of inner happiness and decided that she wanted to help others.

“In my daily life, I began to notice much more vitality, clarity of mind and the ability to focus on my studies without stress and strain,” Warwick said. “Best of all, I experienced a growing sense of well-being and felt I had greater access to my own creative energies for my artistic projects.”

Gelke said the technique can be a key tool for increasing energy, happiness, focus and memory. It can also reduce blood pressure and alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and depression. In addition, it can improve the overall quality of life, assisting with the management of college life.

She also said “Transcendental Meditation” does not require concentration or contemplation. It must be taught on a one-on-one basis by a certified TM teacher.

“’Transcendental Meditation’ can be a wonderful guide towards health, well-being, strength and wellness,” Gelke said. “I encourage everyone to try it. Do it; there are no downsides, only benefits.”

Hang Yu, president of the club, said it is very important to meditate, especially in college. It is a habit that has a lifelong effect on the mind, and it is important for the body, similar to exercise.

“College is a place to get prepared for society, so it’s important for students to acquire useful tools in life,” Yu said. “(After meditating) I have more focus power that lasts throughout the day. Thus, it helps me complete the things I need to prioritize.”

Meditation has been on the rise in recent years. Gelke said cultural trends towards holistic physical, mental and spiritual well-being have contributed to the popularity of meditation. She said she believes many people are living lives that are not completely satisfying or meaningful, leading to high amounts of stress and feelings of unhappiness.

“’Transcendental Meditation’ is one tool that people have chosen to help bring themselves, and their lives, back into balance with their highest purpose,” Gelke said. “Humanity is experiencing huge spiritual shifts and upheaval at this moment in time. Many people are choosing to answer the call by utilizing tools such as meditation to broaden awareness and create a more peaceful world.”

Although “Transcendental Meditation” might not appeal to everyone, there are plenty of activities that can reduce the stress of midterms.

“I love spending time in nature, spending time with family and friends, playing with children, making art, exercising, caring for my home environment, writing, drinking tea, daydreaming and researching,” Gelke said.

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