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Peace in bloom: meditation series promotes community well-being



meditation

Kat Forgacs, instructor and series organizer of "Being Bloomington: Being Peace" meditates on the stage of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Nov. 7. The Being Bloomington series started after the 2016 presidential elections to help the Bloomington community process their feelings, while finding a way to respond rather than react to the events happening at the time. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

The lights of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater were set to a dim glow as Kat Forgacs, instructor and series organizer of "Being Bloomington: Being Peace" sat on the stage, still as a statue. Forgacs was preparing to begin an hour-long mediation session inside the theater’s main room for a handful of participants who came to find quiet reflection.

Once the clock hit noon, a few more people filtered into the darkened theater as Forgacs rang a small bell, signaling for the mediation session to begin. Forgacs welcomed everyone in and thanked them for coming together to create a community.

The Being Bloomington series started after the 2016 presidential elections to help the  Bloomington community process their feelings, while finding a way to respond rather than react to the events happening at the time. Forgacs began organizing the "Being Bloomington: Being Peace" series after its original founders decided their involvement had run its course.

“Nearly every moment, every interaction we have, every conversation, every email exchange that we have is co-created,” Forgacs said. “Something that we and the person on the other side of that exchange are creating together. All of our interpretations of our day, our world, and our experiences all come through our thoughts, feelings and emotions.” 

Forgacs continued to say that taking these moments we have as humans and just being is a really practical and beneficial opportunity to oneself, regardless of background, personality or spirituality. 

Since June, "Being Bloomington: Being Peace" has invited different musicians of the community to share their talent during the meditation. This months’s guests were Dena El Saffar and Tim Moore from Salaam, a band known for their traditional and original Middle Eastern music. 

“Allow your attention to rest on the breath,” Forgacs said to the participants. “Soft and full, flowing gently all the way down to your abdomen and then gently releasing the breath when you’re ready.” 

After a few more minutes of silence, El Saffar slowly began to drag a bow across her viola, playing the quiet opening notes to a melody that was accompanied by the soft beating of Moore’s frame drums. Their duet lasted throughout the entire hour of the meditation, drifting between El Saffar’s viola and oud, and Moore’s drums. 

When Forgacs finally called for the end of the meditation, participants either quietly left or came up to the stage to chat for awhile.

“The music contributed quite a lot,” Jerry Miller said. “I know these people are friends of mine so it had a personal connection. I feel way better than when I came in.” 

Miller, said it means a lot to have people gathering like this. He said the inclusive atmosphere gave him a comfortable and optimistic feeling, and that having these kind of events do a lot of good. 

“It was very powerful. It’s good to disconnect yourself from your daily life and just be yourself and recover your inner peace,” Yllari Briceño said. “Now in these times there are many social and political issues and people are always stressed out. They can come here and forget about those issues and just remember who they are.” 

"Being Bloomington: Being Peace" is free and welcomes anyone to come as they are and stay as long as they need. The next event will take place Jan. 2. at the BCT.  More information about "Being Bloomington: Being Peace" can be found on their Facebook page. 

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