Meditation Club: where you can finally relax


Caption: Clemens, the founder of meditation club

In the mysterious mountain temples of Tibet and Nepal, monks meditate for hours to restore the body, mind and soul. Sometimes hundreds will gather in one place to practice the ancient art, sitting in absolute silence and focusing their thoughts inward. And meditation has found its way to Ames High.

While reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha for Mr. Brekke’s English 12 class, seniors Jordan Clemens and Brandon Gardenier approached Mr. Brekke about starting a meditation club.

“I started talking to [Brekke] and told him I was really into meditation,” said Clemens. “Some of the students had shown interest in class and they had meditated before.”

And soon, posters appeared on the walls. Every monday after school, Mr. Brekke and a few students would sit quietly and meditate. It’s a small group. No more than eight people have shown up at once, and they usually only meditate for ten minutes.

“The biggest goal is to teach mindfulness,” said Clemens. “All the little things you might not have noticed about yourself…everything from the shifting of your muscles when you walk to the way you breathe and your heartbeat.”

To investigate further, I tried meditation myself.

While it was relaxing, it seemed a bit implausible at first. I just sat there, eyes shut, counting my breaths (233 in total).

But when I walked home, I noticed something. The wind felt stronger, my steps were louder, and everything was just slowed down. Apparently, this isn’t uncommon.

“One day we had a kid here named Max, very hyperactive,” said Clemens. “His heart was always beating really fast, and he never noticed that until he stopped and slowed down.”

However, meditating in a busy school presents problems, and the cosmic vibes can be interrupted. Almost every time, something has interrupted them. Phones, custodians and students turning in last minute papers have all broken their focus.

“Someone walked in and was fumbling around with papers and making noise,” said Clemens. “And then the next day the exact same thing happened.”

“I had a sign on the door that said ‘Meditation in progress, do not disturb,’ they walked right through it,” said Brekke. “Some people don’t recognize the situation.”

While the club is small, the students who attend say they feel more relaxed and organized. Nataliya Donets, an exchange student from Ukraine, said that balancing two languages can be stressful, and that meditation helps her focus and calm down. She heard about it first in the book Eat, Pray, Love.

“I have lots of thoughts going on,” she said. “It’s really weird them both in Ukrainian and English. I just need to get everything organized.”

Donets’ goal is very achievable. According to the Journal of Psychosomatic research, meditation can increase focus and organization significantly. So, if stress and lack of focus is putting you down, swing by Meditation Club.