Volunteering in Mindfulness
How did I learn about The Centre for Mindfulness Studies
I first learned about the Centre for Mindfulness Studies while working on a booklet that included resources around the Toronto area that people can reach out for their mental health needs. When I contacted the Centre to learn more about the organization, I was informed of their volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies
During my time volunteering, what was most memorable was the “pause” the staff did during their work day. During one Wednesday I spent there, Cas rang the bell in the afternoon and called for a pause. For the five minutes, everyone stopped what they were doing, and closed their eyes to meditate. I found this helpful because I was able to focus more after the meditation. I became aware of how meditation could help me to stay focus and how I would benefit from it if I practiced it during my day. Until that point, I had not worked at a place where they allotted a specific time for staff to practice mindfulness together. This really inspired me, and I had a good impression of how they brought mindfulness in to the work environment.
Volunteering at the Centre also provided me an opportunity to learn mindfulness better. While I was taking a mindfulness course at the University of Toronto, I participated in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the Centre. I found that I could relate the knowledge I learned from both perspectives, and it gave me a better understanding of the importance of being mindful and how to practice it.
Another thing I noticed was the I found calmness volunteering there. No matter how many things I had in my mind, whenever I walked into the Centre, I was able to stay calm and focused on the tasks that I was assigned to, and I was more willing to challenge myself to learn new skills that I never developed before. The staff and the environment were comfortable to work with, and they encouraged and taught me to do different tasks. For example, I was first to assigned to read articles and find mindfulness-related articles, which was something I was familiar with. However, later on, I was assigned to different tasks such as reaching out different health providers or Wellness centres to inform them of the courses offered in Centre of mindfulness studies, and listening to a speech and working on the transcript. I have never done these before, but I was not as afraid of trying these new tasks like I used to be.
How it influenced my daily life
In my daily life, I also noticed some changes. After attending the mindfulness courses, I started to practice meditation every day. Since then, I found that I am more able to deal with my difficult emotions, and less likely to judge myself. For example, when I felt anxious, I reminded myself to do breathing exercises and not judge the fact that I was feeling anxious. This did help me a lot because I was able to calm myself down after several breathing exercise and still have a productive day, compared to when I used to just ended up having a day that I could not do much.
I’ve found lots of benefits from volunteering at the Centre of Mindfulness Studies, not only gaining the knowledge and experience for the field, but also in my daily life.