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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Finding Stillness

Apr 30, 2024 06:30AM ● By Sharon Bruckman

Walking into the recent Spirit Fest at Unity of Naples, the first friend I approached excitedly told me I was just in time to join him for a one-hour talk and meditation with the Florida Community of Mindfulness (FCM). I immediately reacted like I often do when I think about meditation: I don’t have time. 

But on second thought, although I had allowed myself a limited time to spend at Spirit Fest, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to be still and pay attention. Too often, other activities take precedence over meditation, even though I have experienced the huge benefits of a daily practice. I wasn’t about to make that mistake again. 

I was inspired and felt centered and grounded after listening to local FCM leader John McHarris’ talk and engaging in the group’s guided sitting and walking meditations. It also felt like a homecoming, as I had attended many meditations with the FCM over the past 30 years, and although there had been a long lapse, I was instantly reminded of my long friendship with founder Fred Eppsteiner. 

Imagine my delight when I learned that Fred would be coming down from Tampa where he now lives to lead a couple of special events in May at the Unity of Naples. I certainly plan to attend, as he is a profoundly moving teacher. Perhaps when you learn more about his free talks, as well as the weekly Sunday evening FCM meditations, on page 15, you’ll join me.

I first got hooked on meditation in my early 20s watching a video of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the creator of Transcendental Meditation (TM) affectionately known as the "giggling guru”. I remember saying, “I want what he has!” I still like to meditate on occasion using the TM method and the mantra I received. I wonder where my meditation practice would be today, 50 years later, if I had stuck to the recommended discipline of two, 20-minute daily meditations.

Being the perpetual student and inner explorer, I’ve studied and practiced many forms of meditation over the years. During a stressful period, I enrolled in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course. Although the two-and-a-half-hour weekly classes and daily meditations sometimes felt like they were adding stress to my busy life, the benefits were well worth the extra effort. I learned how to use my inner resources for balance, health and peace of mind; and I also learned that I could meditate anywhere, anytime, even if only for a few minutes. 

As we shift from the busy season to a gentler, softer flow in May, I invite you to take time to breathe in the scent of Spring flowers and nurture your intuition, empathy and sensitivity. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard or take a long time to bring us awesome benefits such as relieving stress and anxiety and boosting dopamine, serotonin and GABA—the happy hormones. Breathe in; breathe out. You’ll be surprised to see that after one or two minutes, your in-breath will become deeper and your out-breath will slow down, and you will feel peaceful and harmonious.

Happy May,

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher