It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried meditation or mindfulness practice before or have been practicing for decades, the benefits of practicing in a group setting apply to everyone.
Here are three reasons why.
1. Peer pressure is a good thing.
Often on our own when we sit down to try or mindfulness practice we are quickly distracted. We suddenly can’t stop thinking about the dishes in the sink or that one e-mail we have to send. And then before we know it we are up from the floor or the chair we were sitting on and moving on to the next activity even when we had meant to meditate for ten or fifteen minutes.
This is so normal.
That’s why the positive effects of peer pressure at a meditation group or class are so great. Everyone is meditating. And the thoughts about e-mails to send or wanting to get up and walk around are still there but we don’t follow them because of the other people in the room. This is a good thing. Because the whole point of practicing mindfulness is to re-wire the brain to not follow every tangent that comes to mind and instead to train the mind with compassion and love to just stay.
Just stay in the moment.
And this is a training. But a training that becomes a little easier when we do it together.
2. New ways of learning.
Even though there are many amazing books, articles, DVD’s and youtube videos out there about meditation and mindfulness many of us find it easier to learn something new or improve at something when we are doing with others in person. Because meditation and mindfulness are not intellectual experiences. No, they are experiential experiences. They are visceral and sensory and often the experiences that come up while meditating are beyond words. So, to sit with other people having similar experiences, and to be guided by a teacher, and to be able to ask questions, share concerns, hear that everyone is in the same boat in terms of their struggles and successes with the practice is enlightening and empowering.
And being with a group or in a class on a regular basis can really help us become more motivated to do our own meditation practice regularly at home, too. Basically, being around other people practicing meditation can be downright inspiring.
3. The energy in the room.
For once it isn’t an elephant. No, what happens in the room when everyone is meditating together is actually something positive and magical.
A kind of collective consciousness develops and the merit we each individually are developing by being quiet, patient and loving to ourselves is felt by everyone in the class or group. The practice can feel deeper, easier and more supported when we are meditating together under one roof or even outside.
These are the three reasons I highly recommend finding a meditation or mindfulness class or group to join.
Or you could start you own group with a few friends.
The chance to offer support to others just by meditating is an honor and of course receiving the love and inspiration feels pretty good, too.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Renee Picard