“The library suddenly has this strangely shaped box, which I’ve never seen before”, says Mikail Döner (23), International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics student at EUR. He points to the white, octagonal pod that has been in the corner next to the entrance to the university library since November. “I want to know what it is.”
‘Mindfulnest’, it says in black letters on the door. When Mikail entered the small space and closed the door, he first got a ‘strange feeling’. “You’re isolated from the world in there, and you can’t hear the sounds of the library any more.” The small space contains a soft bench, and the coloured lights are dimmed. There is a slightly sweet, floral smell. On the wall hangs a tablet with two choices: guided or unguided meditation.
Stay in balance
“Above all, it’s a place where you can take a moment for yourself”, says Pim van den Bos (28), creator of the Mindfulnest. When he was studying law in Amsterdam, he felt that this kind of place was missing at the university. “I was busy with my studies and my job, and my girlfriend was terminally ill. Meditation helped me to stay in balance, but I was always forced to go back home to do it.”
How hard can it be? Calming the mind with Yoga and Meditation
Under the guidance of instructor Harvinder Chahal, a total of fifteen students…
Although Pim already had the idea in mind back in 2018, he first wanted to complete his master degree. “But then the very worst thing happened: my girlfriend died”, he says. “She would always tell me that I should just get started with it. Once I had pulled myself together a little, that’s what I did.”
The Mindfulnest is now being rented out to seven universities. Pim doesn’t currently make any money from it, but this is the intention in the long term. A pilot is currently being carried out with the Mindfulnest, and an evaluation will take place with the University Library in March. At that point, it will be decided whether the meditation pod will stay there for longer.
Whatever the case may be, according to the data collected from the tablet, the Mindfulnest in the University Library is currently doing well. In November and December, the meditation pod was used almost two thousand times, and almost 90 percent of users reported feeling better after a session.
A different world
This was also the case for Public Administration student Bilal Adas (23). The Mindfulnest feels like ‘a different world’ where you can ‘get away from the hustle and bustle’, he said after coming out of the pod. He had taken a guided focus meditation session. “I don’t know if it will have a strong influence when I start studying in a bit, but I do notice that I feel calmer.”
There will certainly be a second session for Bilal, although he will be doing unaccompanied meditation. “I felt there was a lot of talking. The voice became too much for me; I mainly enjoy the music and the lights.”
For student Mikail, the ‘strangely shaped’ Mindfulnest was a pleasant surprise. “It takes away the stress, it makes me feel happier,” he said, after doing unaccompanied meditation with ocean sounds. “And the sound reminded me of my home in Antalya, Turkey.”