Social meditation is growing in popularity, and rightfully so. With the challenges faced by COVID-19, meditators have become creative in joining together via zoom for retreats, community gatherings, and classes that would all usually take place in person. This has been wonderful for those who don't live near meditation communities. They have now been able to find a supportive community to connect with through teachings of Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
Over the past two decades, interpersonal meditative practices have been emerging partly due to the internet, which has significantly enhanced how we connect with others across the globe.
What is Meditation?
Meditation cultivates heart qualities such as concentration, loving-kindness, compassion, and open awareness to gain insight into deep wisdom that brings extraordinary freedom and well-being.
Many people believe that you need a collected and quiet mind to meditate, but a settled mind comes from seeing in ways that support acceptance and letting go. Meditation cultivates skills that support the citta (heart mind) to be at peace with itself. As you gain these skills, the peaceful mind will come about naturally.
Social meditation uses meditation models that can be expressed verbally, such as a sensory noting practice. These practices can be done through Zoom or in person. Participants join together in the community to support the well being of the group. People go around in order, and note their experience to the group. Sharing experience in this manner tends to mitigate mind wandering and mental proliferation. Social mediation utilizes the social nature of humans to expedite samadhi(collectedness).
This style of practice can be powerful for those new to meditation or experienced meditators alike.
What is Social Meditation
Doing meditation with others, rather than sitting alone. But also engaged with others in what you are intending or noticing. extends meditation into interpersonal realm
Benefits of Social Meditation:
creates a collective healing field of energy
helps to de-condition some of the social anxieties we may have
aids to neutralize performance anxiety and dysfunctional self-images
strengthens interconnectedness among others due to shared experience
supports empathy and understanding of common humanity
enhances compassion pathways of heart and mind
strengthens the healing ventral vagal pathways that may be more shut down due to stress (tension) stored in the body