Though meditation is essentially an individual practice, the effect of doing it with a like-minded group of friends can make the meditation more profound personally and socially. Too, in discussing meditation practice with new meditators, we have found that many people attempting meditation at home alone without any guidance or limited online guidance, often conform their meditation to their own predispositions and ambitions.
People often tell us they try to meditate at home but get too distracted by thoughts — desires, worries and regrets. We say, working with distraction is the practice! Some say that they tend to fall asleep, feeling dull or drowsy. We say, no excuse, there’s wake up solutions for this. Others doubt their ability or the practice itself. This often is due to isolation — being in a supportive community and learning useful techniques can help with this too. Others might fear the anger they see rising up. We say, observe it, let it come, and let it go! And even learn to reposit that unhealthy anger to healthy moral indignation and action.
There are methods to skillfully work with all these seeming roadblocks to more inner peace and happiness. Like any other discipline it takes a regular practice, patience, commitment, and guidance by good teachers, instructors, and peers who can help keep us on track and inspire us.
Any group participation, however, will only be effective if the people who join it feel that they gain something either more or different than they experience at home. We have often heard from members of our group that sitting with us has advanced their individual practice, helping them in their home life and at work. Some of our meditation friends who are not often able to join us, report that they feel good just knowing that we gather together weekly. This all keeps us inspired. *