Meditating in a group is a good way to start meditating as the group can provide support. It is often reported that meditating in this way increases ones ability to meditate for prolonged periods of time the presence of others acting to encourage efforts to maintain focus and posture.
Group meditation is very common and in all likelihood you will be able to find a meditation group in your area. Very possibly there will be a choice of several different groups. If this is the case it makes sense to try a few out before settling on one. Clearly if you are adamant to practice a secular form of meditation, it is wise not to meditate with a group practicing an intense form of spiritual meditation such as Kundalini Yoga, where the atmosphere will be charged with spiritual intentions at the least!
Some meditation groups have group leaders or teachers, whilst others are less formal, relying on group interaction. How you decide to meditate and with whom will depend on a large number of factors, many of which come down to personal preference.
Group ExercisesThere are some group meditation exercises that can be practised to specifically enhance the group experience. However, on the whole group meditation follows principally exactly the same exercises as solitary meditation. Primarily, the difference between group meditation and individual meditation is that it will be possible to share your individual experiences, making meditation a less isolated exercise. This is significant for the fact that one of the main aims of meditation is to foster an awareness of on ones interconnectedness with all beings. The group meditation brings this into perspective, particularly as this interconnectedness needn’t apply any more to a group experience - we are, arguably, interconnected whether we meditate alone or in a group. Taking this into account it is possible to meditate with the true meaning of interconnectedness, or oneness, in mind, taking time after the meditation session to talk frankly in pairs, bigger groups, and then the whole group about the experience and what has been learnt from it.
The group meditation also enables one to be frank with others about the thoughts and impressions that arise during meditation and about ones own spiritual or wellbeing quest as it develops. Taking time to discuss meditation after running through techniques opens one up to an honest appraisal of their individual progression. Going through this experience with small to large groups is bound to have a positive impact on the meditation experience as you will sometimes find that answers to questions you have arise from within the group. There is a deep vein of experience that is common to all of us and group meditation can help one to realise that.
It is unlikely that you will practice daily meditation always in a group, although facilities may exist to do so. Group meditation is an excellent compliment to solitary meditation and the combination of the two, with notes made (see related article: ’Keeping a Meditation Journal’), can lead to a deeper awareness of your ‘self‘. Although meditation is an individual experience, the self should not develop alone and in a Western society it is seen as quite harmful to do so. Ultimately, individual meditation with at least the support of a co-operative group of friends is an ideal combination in developing ones potential through meditation.