Monday, October 25, 2010

The Group Experience

Many students over the years have commented upon how much more intense the meditation experience seems to be when practiced with others. I wholeheartedly agree. Whether with one other person, or more than one thousand, as I have experienced at some conferences, there seems to be something going on in the group that doesn't happen when practicing alone.

Don't get me wrong. I am not advocating that we only practice with others. In fact, many of my most powerful and life-changing insights have occurred during solitary practice. The sweetness of being still within one's being is truly unparalleled.

Yet, something occurs in a group context that cannot be denied. Maybe it's the fact that humans are gathering and doing one thing together that imparts a greater sense of purpose and importance to the practice. Maybe it's because we really are connected to each other by some invisible thread of consciousness that is perceptible when practicing with others.

Or maybe it's more akin to the way Anne Lamott speaks of her own inner experience: "My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try not to go there alone."


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