Mindfulness Club remaining leveled

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

About eight years ago, a student spoke with Eastern professor, Jaysinha Shinde, about some friends from high school who had passed away from drug overdoses.

Shinde was moved and saddened hearing this story, thinking about how sad it is that people are not taught the ways to reduce stress, anxiety and depression from their lives. He wanted to provide young people with the tools to change their lives for the better.

Together, along with other like-minded individuals, they founded Eastern’s Mindfulness Club, a club focused on encouraging and exposing students to the benefits of practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows one to focus their awareness on the present moment, helping them calmly acknowledge and accept their own feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, without interpretation or judgment.

Pam Padilla, a senior Spanish education student, is the organization’s president. She has been a part of Mindfulness Club for about four years.

She explained that the organization’s purpose is to provide the methods that help people see a different perspective in life. The organization’s goal is to help students let go of those things that make life challenging, helping them find greater happiness and satisfaction in life.

“If someone is seeking to change or grow for the better, we want to help guide them in that,” Padilla said. “The point of the club is to help guide students that might be looking for that kind of change or that growth by giving them the tools and teachings that might help get them there.”

During their weekly online meetings, members will start by meditating, then an instructor will lead a talk related to a mindfulness topic.

The instructors are experienced, having practiced mindfulness and meditation daily for years.

A different instructor gets the opportunity to teach a different topic every week, leading talks on a range of topics such as how to have internal and emotional balance, why simplifying is incredibly amplifying, and how to become the best version of yourself.

“Every talk discusses a topic that is practical and that people can apply to their lives. It’s not just us saying ‘you should be happy’ because we’ve been told that,” Padilla explained. “It’s giving the actual tools and ways to become happy. If someone attends the club, they won’t just be told what happiness looks like, but they would be told how to get there.”

Mindfulness Club does not just do weekly meetings, but they also do events where they can teach people the importance of mindfulness.

The organization has talked with Eastern students pursuing teaching careers about incorporating mindfulness in the classroom. They have also done different mental health awareness events on campus.

With the guidelines set to protect the Eastern community from COVID-19, Eastern’s RSOs had to adjust to a new way of running meetings and events. Having online meetings has actually been a great opportunity for the members of Mindfulness Club.

“With it being online, we were able to extend our services to more than just Eastern. Typically, we’ve only been teaching at Eastern, but with it being online, our instructors that live [far from campus] are able to teach from wherever they live. Then people can also attend from wherever they are. We do have Eastern students attending, but it was cool that this semester we were able to open it up,” Padilla said.

Despite everything going on during these tough times, the members of the organization have been able to find happiness through their mindfulness.

Having more time to themselves has allowed them to go deeper into their mindfulness and cultivate the habits that greatly help them. They want more people to find that happiness within themselves.

“I noticed that if you look at the greater population, suicide and depression rates have gone up. A lot of people are struggling with loneliness and anxiety, so that’s why we wanted to open [Mindfulness Club] up to the greater public. We’re really happy to do so,” she said. “It’s not necessarily about the numbers, but about the lives that can be changed. We’re happy with however many people attend. Even if only one random person in California attends, and it changes their life, then it’s worth it to us.”


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]