As a yoga teacher and devoted yogi, I am presented with a lot of opportunities to both meditate in a group and lead group meditations. I also attend a variety of personal growth and spiritual lectures which tend to begin with a ‘grounding in’ or short meditation. There are many instances in which I am able to take my meditation practice out of solitary confinement and into the world, and I find it to be a great lesson in interconnectedness and healing. There are many benefits to collective meditation, just as there are to the discipline of keeping your practice to yourself. Either way, it is an experience that is for you and you alone, even when you are amidst a sea of people. One stark difference, though, is that during group meditation, there is a very tangible sense of community. On my path to continue to grow and transcend what holds me back, it can sometimes feel isolating if I am not making sure to make connections with those who are similarly-minded. In a group, I feel supported in my practice, even though my practice is still very specific to me.
Having an individual experience of myself is a solitary act regardless of the setting, but I do find that taking part in group meditation is a great way to ‘change up’ the circumstances of my mindfulness efforts, to feel energized by the positivity of those around me, even in silence, and to have a very visceral reminder that although I meditate alone, I am always connected to everyone around by the truth that we aren’t separate at all. Meditation brings me home to the reminder that although we are different, we are not separate, and although we are individual, we are never truly alone. I find that the dichotomy between group and solo meditation represents this effectively, and it is a choice I make based on my mood and deeper desires.
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