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Retired Exec Offers Rx for Stress

Jim Bandler may seem like a typical retired executive. He worked in high-end menswear for 25 years before becoming a stockbroker. He has a summer home in Greenwich near his grandchildren, but snowbirds to Florida seven months out of the year with his wife. However, Bandler is also deeply committed to the practices of mindfulness and meditation, and this summer he brings these spiritual ideas to Greenwich.

"Whatever it is that brought you here today is a cause of stress," Bandler said to a group of 18 gathered at the community meeting room of the Greenwich Library on Tuesday afternoon. "We can't take it away, [but] we're going to help give you the tools to deal with those problems."

The session was the first in a series of one-hour Tuesday afternoon meditation and stress-reduction classes Bandler will teach at the library. The next one is Aug. 17.

Bandler explained how his longtime meditative practice helped him during recovery after a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery.

"I was still in the recovery room, and the day after my surgery I got out of bed and sat in a wheelchair and meditated," said Bandler. He went home two days later and back to work in two weeks. "The man who did the surgery asked if I would come in and talk to some of his patients, and that's what got me started with sessions like this."

He discussed how practicing mindfulness — living in the present without judgment — can help reduce the stress people's brains create. While he gave the background on his own experiences and methods for relaxation, he also conducted a 15-minute meditation that put some in the room to sleep.

"I don't have any expectations from these sessions, except I hope the 18 people who were here today will start the practice of meditation to help them in their daily lives and return for the next session," he said.

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