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Meditating on Meditation, Part 3: Group Meditation

Filed Under: Health Aids at 4:36 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Group MeditationYou probably thought I’d forgotten or, at the very least, quit, ashamed by the magnitude of my previous failure. But I didn’t. I took the advice Rick offered after reading “Meditating on Meditation, Part 2: Concentrative Meditation” and continued with my practice.  I can’t honestly say that I was successful. I have gotten marginally better with each attempt, but I still have a long way to go. That being said, I have started looking for alternate meditation venues, as my bedroom and accompanying self-discipline seem to be lacking.

A few nights ago, I attended a group meditation hour in my hometown. It was hosted by the local Buddhist community but open to all. When I arrived, I was somewhat hesitant, having never attended a similar event and being completely on my own.  However, the other participants quickly eased my anxiety, providing me with information about what to expect and guiding me to the meeting room. The hour began with Buddhist readings and then immediately segued into 20 minutes of deep meditation.  Ten minutes of walking meditation, in which individuals walked as they felt moved to and created their own paths, followed.  The hour concluded much as it began, with another 20 minutes of meditation and some final readings.

I benefited greatly that evening. No, I didn’t achieve enlightenment or spend the entire time in a deep, meditative state. I wasted far too many minutes concerned that I wasn’t doing something properly and wondering what would come next. However, I did spend a great deal more time than usual attempting to center myself. Rather than scurrying away at my first stray thought, I did as I had been instructed to do. I acknowledged its presence and allowed it to leave. Thus, I was automatically more successful. I also realized that meditation comes in many forms. The people around me were not all sitting in the lotus position. Some knelt while others were cross-legged and still more were traditionally seated. We are not meant to meditate as everyone else. It is a personal, individual practice and should be approached as such.

If you are attempting to take up meditation, find the way that is best for you. Don’t become consumed by defined methods and seeming failures. The goal is to better your health not your stress.

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