BENNINGTON -- Beginning Sept. 10, community meditation classes with basic instruction will be held every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Bennington Free Library.

According to Dr. John Hearst, one of the six experienced meditators who have organized the weekly fall gatherings, the group hopes to pay forward the benefits they have received in their own meditation practices over the years, including stress relief and increased self-awareness.

Hearst noted the historical longevity of meditation, which has been practiced for millennia by those in both Eastern and Western cultures.

Although primarily affiliated with Asian cultures and more specifically, Buddhism, meditation began gaining popularity in the West in the mid-20th century during the 1960s and 1970s.

Meditation, he said, is a way for the mind to "get to know itself," and subsequently moves us towards self-acceptance, freedom, kindness, and compassion.

"Meditation definitely isn’t a treatment for any physical or emotional ailment. It’s more of a big picture thing," Hearst said. "It gives us a better sense of who we are as humans and allows us to move around the world in a happier way."

Each week, the class will be taught by a different instructor, the idea being that those in attendance will find a style and instructor that resonates with them.

According to Hearst, each instructor has practiced with different teachers themselves, and therefore has small variations in style, ranging from mindfulness meditation to mantra-based meditation to insight meditation.


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A $1 per person contribution will be requested to cover the cost of the library room rental.

Beginning and experienced meditators are welcome to attend. Those who wish to sit on a cushion during the classes are asked to bring their own. Chairs will be provided.

With questions regarding the weekly classes, contact Hearst at 802-949-7141.

Contact Elizabeth A. Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com or follow on Twitter @bethconkey.