Meditation room to open your mind

Take a deep breath. Exhale. Breathe easy. Now there is a quiet space at MATC to sit and meditate. Introducing the new meditation room at the downtown Milwaukee campus on the third floor across from the library entrance. Students, faculty and staff can enjoy a meditation room stocked with cushions, chairs and prayer rugs.

The goal of the mediation room “is to create a shared, quiet space, where students, faculty and staff of all wisdom traditions and religions can sit quietly if they need to or pray if they need to. But it’s a quiet space. It’s not somewhere where you would have meetings and plan or any of that kind of thing. It’s just a quiet space that you can come and practice,” Jennifer Evans, MATC Foundation, explained. Evans proposed the idea of a meditation room last fall as part of an Innovation Grant through the Provost’s Office. Evans had the idea after sometimes suffering from migraine headaches, which can be triggered by sound or high-level noise. She noticed that there was really no place to go and just be quiet. She thought if she could go somewhere quiet for a few minutes, she could probably avoid a full-blown migraine attack. After searching for a quiet place, her dream has become a reality. 

The meditation room will fully open in January 2018, but until then there is a soft opening. There are basic meditation instruction sessions offered on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until noon in Room M342, where the meditation room is located, and the sessions will continue after the grand opening. Various meditation experts and instructors will lead the sessions, including Frank Fischer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee instructor; Diane Luepke, Mindful Milwaukee; Rodney Sanchez, Buddhist Peace Fellowship; and Dr. Paul Brodwin, Milwaukee Mindfulness Center. The purpose of the sessions is to learn basic sitting meditation skills that you can practice to stabilize your mind. Evans said, “The idea is that they will offer slightly different instruction, but it’s all compatible. It’s all basically mindfulness meditation.”

Evans explained, “What we’re offering here is secular, just basic mindfulness meditation, where you focus on your breath, relaxing your body, training your mind, which anyone of any faith tradition or non-faith tradition can practice and benefit from. In fact, we know that people who practice meditation on a daily or regular basis, it can have profound benefits. Not only mentally, but physically. It can help reduce stress.”

School, work, family commitments, finance all put stress and pressure on you. Evans described the meditation process as, “being able to come into a place where you can calm your mind, kind of regulate your emotions, feel more grounded so that you can deal with that stress. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal meditation technique.”

Evans continued, “We tend to focus on the negative. Well, we need to give kind, compassionate messages to ourselves. What I appreciate about mindfulness meditation is that it’s based on compassion for ourselves because we know we cannot be kind to other people until we learn how to be kind to ourselves.” She said, “meditation is simple, but not easy.”

The room is reserved for MATC employees and students as a quiet space for reflection, meditation or prayer and will be open from  9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Take some time to clear your mind and meditate, even for just a few minutes.