Room 102, Behavioural Science Building. Designed for fluorescent-lit tutorials, it doubles now as York’s Zen-like space for meditating.
It’s Tuesday, noon hour. The lights are off, the blinds are down, the room is dim and still. Four, maybe 10 people, arrive and sit down, sometimes together, on one of the black plastic chairs lining three walls and arranged in a semicircle at the centre of the room. They settle into their seats, straighten their backs, rest their hands in their laps and close their eyes. The door clicks shut. They inhale and exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Forty-five minutes later there’s a tap on the door. It’s 12:45pm. Time to go back to work. See you next week.
“The key to meditation is doing it regularly,” says clinic director Louise Hartley. “And it’s really nice to meditate together. It’s sort of like exercising together. It helps motivate you.”
Some people meditate for the entire 45 minutes, others for less. It’s all good. “Meditating energizes people,” says Hartley. “It calms the mind and helps the body restore energy. You go back to work refreshed.”
"Meditation is one of the keys to dealing with stress,” she says. “But it’s like exercise. We know we should do it. The problem is finding the time.”
The clinic hopes to be part of the solution. Meditation Tuesdays will continue after September, says Hartley, and the clinic might open up Room 102 for an additional lunch hour during the week.