Before talking about group meditation, also known as shared meditation, we need to ask you: When was the last time took some time for yourself? When was the last time you had the chance to create meaningful interactions? Have you considered how much time you spend talking to others online? Today interactions are defined by technology, is not a bad thing, unless that is the only type of interaction you get, and if that’s the case, meditating in groups can become a lifesaver.
We get the feeling we are connected, and in a way, we are. How many times do we check Twitter or Instagram? We are constantly searching for contact with others, but we tend to choose the digital connection because it seems easier and safer.
Even our attention span is shorter! We want things to be immediate; we close a web page if it doesn’t charge in 2 seconds and we just can’t stop scrolling on Facebook. Don’t you think we need a break? A time to truly connect with ourselves and others? If you do, then you must try group meditation.
How does meditation work?
The word “meditation” is derived from the Latin “meditatio,” which means “to think or to contemplate,” It’s an ancient practice that allows you to take a pause from your busy life to calm your mind and body.
It helps you to pause those recursive thoughts and anxieties, focusing on simple natural processes like breathing, relaxing your muscles and expanding your mind. It has been proved that meditation helps to reduce stress, improves the immune system, lowers high blood pressure, relieves physical pains and decreases tension-related afflictions.
Meditation is an activity for everyone, it’s been practiced for centuries around the globe, and it’s great for people starting from age 5. The only requirements would be to locate yourself in a quiet place, with the less possible amounts of distractions, and to have your knees and back in good shape.
If this last condition is not fulfilled, it’s highly recommended to check with a doctor before starting to meditate; not that you will be jumping around, but many meditation postures require you to be sited with your legs crossed for a few minutes, so if you have troubles with your back or knees, it may make you feel a bit uncomfortable.
However, if that is the case, you can meditate laying on your back or leaning back against a wall.
How do I know I’m meditating correctly?
This is the first question that pops up your mind once you sit down and start meditating. It goes like this: you close your eyes, pay attention to your breathing for a few seconds, and suddenly, you’re thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner or that work deadline that is getting closer, then you stop the exercise because you feel too overwhelmed and confused on how to keep going.
If you’re new in this practice, your mind will wander around often; do not focus on what you are thinking, don’t be harsh with yourself or try to force the thought out of your mind; instead, slowly bring your mind back to the exercise, focus on your breathing and the sensations in your body.
With time, you’ll discover that intrusive thoughts will appear less often and that it will be easier to focus on just one thing at the time. That is what meditation is about, re-directing your attention to what’s important at the moment.
Why is group meditation different?
Somethings are better when shared, and meditation is one of them. When you have a tough day at work, you text your WhatsApp’s friends group to tell them about it, and sometimes you ask some of those friends to go out, both alternatives make you feel understood because it is nice to know someone cares for you and that you are supported.
Shared meditation has the same principles, to bring together a group of people to make them feel better starting with their own being.
Among the many benefits of group meditation, we can talk about these 6 ones:
- Spiritual support grows stronger: just like the regular meetings with your friends, when you join a group meditation, you create synergy, which translates to the combination of two or more parts to achieve something bigger than what only one could do.
- The healing power of group meditation is more powerful than meditating alone, and some studies confirm the existence of a ripple effect of peace in the environment when meditating in groups.
- Learning experience improves: this is a particular benefit for beginners; when you’re new to the practice, you arrive with many fears and doubts; but when meditating in groups, you usually do it with people that have different levels of experience. You sit next to someone who has been doing this for 2 months and someone who has been doing it for 5 years, so you get to learn something different from both perspectives.
- Feedback availability: you not only get to learn from other people’s experiences, but to get useful advice. If you ever get confused or need some guidance on a particular exercise, your meditation partners will be there for you. No one is better than anyone, they all help each other through this experience and together, reach physical and mental peace.
- Creating habits: a tiny disadvantage of meditating alone at home is how easy you can find an excuse for skipping meditation day. It’s just like gym day or healthy diet day; but when you assist to group meditation, your motivation gets higher, it encourages you to be consistent with the practice.
- Group activities are psychologically valuable: we feel better when doing group activities because we create connections with others, tapping into the same silence and source of peace as your meditation mates can make you feel at peace, comfortable, supported and safe.
- Actually, a psychological study proved that brainwaves can synchronize while meditating, so the connection you feel with your meditation partners is not only emotional, but physical.
- Reduces loneliness: following these psychological facts, feeling lonely is quite common among people in our times. This is particularly interesting since we have more opportunities of being connected with others all the time thanks to our mobiles and computers, but if we can talk to literally anyone whenever we want to, why we do we still feel lonely? The answer may be that we do not need digital connections, but real ones, and that is where share meditation plays it roll.
- When we meditate in groups, we create an environment of acceptance and belonging, we make friends and share something more than a ‘good morning’ like it usually happens in our workplaces.
Sounds promising, don’t you think? Introducing yourself into a healthy environment that can also be fun and perfect for socializing and learning.
Don’t be scared of trying something new, group meditation is a superb alternative to relieve stress and to feel good with yourself, dare to join a meditation group, and remember: if your mind is calmed, so is your body.