Photograph of James Kershner
By Victoria Chiaramonte
College is often seen as a big stressor in the lives of students. From work, to home responsibilities, no one is completely free of the burdens of life which can weigh heavily at times. Though there is no shortage of reasons why students feel stressed—upcoming assignments, tests, socializing, etc., there is a solution for this every day mental tension.
Meditation is a practice that has existed possibly since antiquity. At Cape Cod Community College(4Cs) students and staff can kick off their own practice by joining a meditation circle held by Professor James Kershner every Thursday at 12:30 PM. The meeting is a safe space for anyone on campus to come and release the anxieties that tend to build up over the course of the semester. This weekly release of negative energy is half hour long and can work wonders for overall health.
“I started college in 1966. I went to Marietta College. A band of traveling hippies came to our college and wanted to teach us meditation,” said Kershner. “The administration said you can’t do it on campus, so they got the use of the church across the street. We began to meditate, and it changed my life forever.”
From that point on Kershner has incorporated the positive impact of meditation into his life. As a result of meditation, he is a relaxed in his environment and finds ways to live in peace with the present moment.
“Meditation has enabled me to respond calmly to situations where in the past I would react impulsively,” said Kershner. “Meditation is not something where your try to achieve a goal. It is more a time to try and not achieve anything. We spend our whole lives trying to achieve things.”
The goal is to not focus on what needs to be done, but rest in the fact that everything will work out in the right way.
“It is very relaxing to give up some time to meditate,” said Ann-Marie Julian, 4Cs Career Development Counselor, who has attended the meditation circle. “The research shows that we should be doing it and it is so good for you. That is why I really want to get back into it. I learned a lot of what I know about meditating from Mr. Kershner. It is so good for your body, your brain, your stress levels- so it works out wonderful. I need to force myself to stop working to meditate and then continue after.”
“I love James. He is a great guy. I love to have an excuse to get in the Higgins Art Gallery,” said Dean Bruce Riley. “It is extremely relaxing to the point where I often feel myself falling asleep, but I also love doing this alone so I can really unwind.”
The benefits of letting your mind rest, even for a brief time, are endless. Meditation is easy to do, and everyone can accomplish some state of tranquility. Everyone is welcome to come to the Higgins Art Gallery on Thursdays at 12:00pm to recuperate their mental state and finish out the rest of their day feeling strong, and focused.
Correction: An earlier draft of this post listed the start time for the meditation group as 12:30pm. The correct time is 12:00pm.