GREAT FALLS — Every Monday, meditators head to the Hope Room at Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute to relax their mind, body, and spirit.
Starting at 11 a.m., meditation class is in session. Attendees practice walking meditation as a warm-up and then wrap up with seated meditation to gradually relax their body and mind.
The free Mindfulness Meditation class has running for 13 years now, helping both Benefis patients and the public de-stress.
Breast cancer survivor Kathleen Gessaman has been active in the class from the beginning and has seen a difference in her physical and mental health.
“Going through cancer treatment was very stressful, because usually if you have health issues you’re usually more stressed, so it’s a good way to help you relax,” Gessaman said.
She believes anyone can benefit from meditation: “It’s good for anyone in the community too, if you just want to learn the techniques, you can come all the time.”
But the mindful meditator encourages newcomers to avoid feeling discouraged if it takes a while to get the hang of it.
“It took me a couple years actually...your mind’s definitely not going to like it at all. It’s going to give you all sorts of thoughts. You’re going to fight it all the way until finally you take control of your mind and you learn to calm it,” Gessaman said.
But you will improve with time, she says: “As you get better, you’ll stay in a calm and focused state."
Gessaman also feels that meditating with others is helpful while getting the hang of the practice. “It’s tough to do on your own...and in a group setting it’s just a whole different dynamic. It’s very peaceful,” Gessaman said.
The public is welcome to the weekly Mindfulness Meditation class on Mondays in the Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute Hope Room from 11 a.m. to noon.
The Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute is located at 1117 29th Street South. For more information, you can email