Music and Mindfulness on St Pete Beach

MindTravel Meditations Blend Music and Mindfulness on the Sandy Shores
of St Pete Beach    

. . .

Five hundred beach dwellers gathered on Upham Beach, a leg of St. Pete Beach, for a mystical, ethereal journey into a masterful piano solo that explored an intrinsic human emotion – joy.

Murray Hidary, a Miami Beach resident, mended two passions of his, meditation with mindfulness and music, into a gorgeous night on the sand.

Each month, Hidary heads to St Pete Beach for a few hours of soul-healing, meditative music. Entitled MindTravel, these sessions explore specific themes. Hidary switches up the themes each month and bases an improvisational piano ballad and hopeful moments of dialogue on said theme throughout the night.

Hidary explored the theme of joy on Saturday, March 23’s MindTravel session. Each gathering huddles around a sunflower-surrounded grand piano, cemented in between two artificial cherry trees and Hidary’s delicate delivery of emotive musical improvisations.

Guests receive a set of headphones upon arrival for a slew of reasons. For one, Hidary hopes beachgoers will experience a unique individualized experience plus a beneficial collective experience. And headphones help listeners hear the music and mindful words over Florida’s riling beach winds.

Murray prefacing his session

Hidary’s microphone translates to the headsets. Prior to the meditation practice, Hidary offers words of introduction, and encouragement to fully experience any emotion arising during MindTravel.

In true Floridian fashion, the high 60-degree weather forced locals to don parkas, winter gloves and knit blankets for a warm, healing practice. Lapping waves, chattering birds and a setting sun emphasized the reflective nature of the experience.

Murray during the practice

Hidary encouraged attendees to surrender to any natural instinct. Guests sauntered down to the water, shut their eyes in bliss, sketched on sketchpads, and inhaled the soothing melodies whilst Hidary’s fingers danced along the grand piano keys.

“I use music as my own meditative practice,” Hidary beams. “A way to self-regulate whatever I’m going through emotionally and bring me to nature was really a kind of combination of the experience. So that we have the healing power of nature, the connective power of nature – especially the ocean – with music to just bring us all together in community.”

Hidary continued, stating that music, mindfulness and nature find him and his team everywhere they journey. In addition to playing on the white sand beaches of St. Petersburg, Hidary hikes up to Siesta Key, Miami Beach, New York, California, and he’s even transported his piano to the ice of Antarctica and played in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti.

The mastermind started exploring the melding of meditation and music after dealing with the harrowing grief brought on by the loss of his younger sister.

“I saw how it allowed me to move through that and heal through that. I said, ‘You know what? I want to just bring this experience to as many people as I can who are going through something similar,’” he explains.

Following the musical portion of the evening, Hidary invited guests to share whatever thoughts, emotions or feelings swirled through their minds during or after the processional. A sizable crowd jumped at the opportunity, ranging in age from 70 years young to an 8-year-old who claimed he’d rather attend the meditation session with his family than play video games alone.

“Everyone’s going through something. Everyone’s carrying a burden in their own way. And if the music and the healing power of not just the music but nature and everyone can alleviate some of that burden, then maybe we’ve done a little something,” Hidary reveals.

Creating community is one of the core factors Hidary hopes to evoke at each music session. He revels in the idea that new faces pop up along with recurring regulars each time he performs a MindTravel piece.

“What’s so beautiful is you have people who are coming over and over again because they’re finding a sense of belonging, a sense of connection.

“In this noisy world, in this distracted world, we’re dealing with an epidemic of loneliness in all ages, especially in young people. So it’s most encouraging when I see young people get up at the microphone at the end, after the music, and share. They’re feeling it. They’re really listening, they’re paying attention, and they’re present,” Hidary shares.

Hidary emphasizes that when kids or young adults hop up to the microphone, he experiences hope and his own form of joy. One that proves MindTravel serves as an accepting community for everyone. He refers to MindTravel as an alternative space to deal and delve into complex emotions in lieu of suppressing them in unhealthy fashions.

Other emotions explored in MindTravel include love, freedom, forgiveness, courage – all ordinary human emotions expressed differently in various situations.

“All these states of the human condition might seem simple and like words we use all the time – but as you can see from even joy, there’s such a depth available to it. There’s a fuller experience.

“What psychologists and research shows is if we’re able to feel the full spectrum of our emotions, then we actually end up feeling more fulfilled and lead happier lives. Who wouldn’t want that?” Hidary prompts.

Granted, audience members experienced tears, joyous proclamations and newfound enthusiasm, among other sensational emotions, indicating Hidary’s MindTravel sessions reached its target audience – everyone.

“So that’s what I attempt to do here is give people a full emotional experience. Not just the pretty stuff, not just what they might think is the good stuff. No, this is all of it. To really feel the depth of what’s available.

“When you really feel it, you have a much fuller life experience,” Hidary smiles.


Details on the April 26 event
at St Pete Beach can be found here.


Become a Creative Pinellas Supporter