Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 37 - Group Meditations
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 1:26pm
Q: If I can find others who do this practice, can we meditate together in a group? I have heard there are benefits in this.
A: Group meditations are a good thing. Any gathering that is for the purpose of studying and encouraging paths of spiritual unfoldment can be good for you. If you can commune with others of like interest on a regular basis, there will be significant benefits, particularly in inspiring you to press forward with your daily practice. No doubt you will inspire others to practice as well.
It is good to do a group meditation of ten minutes or so at the beginning or end of a gathering. You may structure your own discussion group, or you may be a guest at someone else’s. Regardless, you will find that group meditations have their own quality. They can be deep and pervasive as individual quieting minds mingle and reinforce each other. It is a noticeable effect, and radiates outward to the surroundings. It is good if members of the group are doing the same practice, but not mandatory, as long as all can operate quietly within the same time period. Group meditations are good for individual meditators, and uplifting for the world.
Some people go for “guided meditations.” You will not find this style of group meditation to be compatible with using the mantra, because your practice is for going inward quickly and efficiently. As your meditation becomes habit, you will be gone within as soon as you close your eyes, and a talking meditation guide will be counter-productive for you. The same goes for meditations using music, chanting, drumming, etc. These all have their purpose and benefits, but are not compatible with taking the mantra inward quickly towards pure bliss consciousness. This is not to say you cannot participate in guided meditations, chanting, or whatever. But it will be a distinctly different procedure from your daily meditation using the mantra. You will find the connections that are appropriate for you with the many groups that are available. Or maybe you will start your own group geared to this open approach to advanced yoga practices. Whatever works for you.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” This quote is not given from a sectarian point of view. It describes a well-known principle. When people gather for a spiritual purpose, consciousness is stimulated and rises. This rising can be experienced as deepening silence and pervading bliss consciousness. This experience occurs in every faith, in every gathering for a high spiritual ideal, in every gathering for truth. The group experience of pervading silent bliss consciousness is maximized during group meditations where multiple minds are systematically brought to quietness.
Group meditations are not a substitute for your regular twice-daily meditations. Your individual practice is your primary practice, and should always be. This keeps your spiritual destiny in your hands, in your daily practice, regardless of other circumstances. Groups come and go. Group meditations can be a wonderful boost, but they will come and go too. Don’t rely on them as core practice. Think of them as bonuses. Life is always changing on the outside. Be sure that your daily practice is ingrained as an inside aspect of your life, not subject to being waylaid by outer events. We have talked about the various strategies for sustaining daily meditation practice in non-routine situations. Keeping your regularity in practice is very important as you travel along the byways of life. Whatever you ultimately choose your daily practice to be, this should be sacred. It is your primary pathway inward. You can count on it, because you are committed to doing it every day without fail. Everything else is passing scenery, inspiring at times, and not so inspiring at other times. Lean toward the inspiring, let it light the fire of your desire for progress, and let your daily practice continue to do the work of ongoing inner purification. We will be adding additional practices for you to consider. You will build your own daily routine. A daily routine is the key. It is the surest path to enlightenment.
Explore groups and engage in the ongoing discussion of spiritual transformation. You have entered a new realm of citizenry – spiritual citizenry. Bring your pure bliss consciousness to each gathering and to each group meditation. And always remember you are building your house daily upon the rock of pure bliss consciousness.
The guru is in you.