Last night I attended the Open Heart Crystal Bowl meditation at Third Eye Healing Centre at Margate. I facilitate meditation groups myself and recently what has been powerfully reinforced to me is how important the group energy of meditation is. Practicing meditation daily, and mindfulness continually is not something that usually comes naturally. It is a skill/tool we learn along the way – just like making our bed or brushing our teeth. Proficiency and integration is a process that is likely to develop more powerfully with practice, reinforcement, commitment, and support.
I am definitely dedicated to my spiritual life and meditation practice. Even so there are times where my meditation practice “falls off the wagon”. I started facilitating a new group recently to help me get back on the wagon and whilst it was a powerful motivator to walk my talk, as well as provide the support for other meditators, I still struggled with my daily meditation routine and life challenges as they arose. I have recently revisited other groups that give me a chance to participate as a member, where the only contribution and responsibility was showing up. This has refreshed my enthusiasm through the energetic contributions of like-minded people. My daily practice feels much richer for my effort of taking care of my spiritual needs this way. I’m sure the groups I facilitate will benefit vicariously from this too.
I notice as I am confronted by more challenging aspects of life, the more I need to practice, and at times the more difficult I find it to actually sit and be with the physical feelings of agitation, the ruminations, and the emotions that arise. This is especially the time to stop a perfunctory attitude to life and make a conscious effort – take meditation action! The action I have taken recently was to find a local group that I resonate with – Third Eye Healing Centre as I mentioned earlier, and also revisiting the Caboolture Mindfulness Practice Group – a local sangha who practice the Buddhist teachings of Plum Village founded by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Participating in a group can be disconcerting for some people. Group meditation is not usually about sharing personal information or being exposed in vulnerability. Therapy groups are more likely to engage in more personal exposure, always at a participant’s level of comfort and permission. Group meditation is about sitting in a process of meditation with others and sharing the focused energy that is created in the process of doing “inner” work. The inner work could be a mindfulness practice, inner journey, or whatever the meditation process is that resonates with you. This can change over time and with needs as they arise. There is no sharing of your personal meditation experience required in a meditation group even if invited to do so.
I find that Mindfulness Meditation gives me a strong foundation of presence with whatever type of inner work I choose to engage in. I practice mindfulness of breath often during my day. All it takes is to become aware of my breath in the moment and stay with it as long as is practical, depending on what I’m doing. When I take the time to sit and meditate I always start with breath awareness and either stay with that or then progress to other forms of meditation. This includes when sitting in groups. I find my meditation focus is actually easier in a group setting.
No matter what type of meditation resonates with you, finding a group that feels supportive to you is right up there with the priority of taking time in your daily life to practice some form of meditation. Attending a group on a weekly basis allows you to contribute, and receive, from the synergy created by the group. Synergy of a group is also beneficial to the community at large. Energy knows no boundaries. Imagine how beneficial your contribution is to the world each time you meditate with loving intention for yourself, and even more so when you practice with a group…
Life will continue to be a process of highs and lows. Learning how to manage the highs and lows is something we can take
responsibility for. When we discover suitable ways to do our inner work and we know where to find external support to our process, we have an opportunity to experience life with a richness and appreciation that infuses throughout our days. Attending a regular group meditation is one way you can tap into external support for your inner process and growth. Find a group that resonates with your values and beliefs and make a commitment to yourself to attend. Be open to changing to a new group if a group ceases to fulfill your needs – don’t just stop going.
Wishing you joyful and sustained meditating throughout your life process.
Love and light always