Meditation is self-discovery. Hence the experience of meditation is always inner, and personal. Meditation itself is not a social activity. Nevertheless our inner experience, and our overall spiritual wellbeing, can benefit greatly from meditating with others who are following the same spiritual Path or have the same focus and goals.
Our personal daily meditation at home can be likened to an individual sport like running, swimming or cycling, while group meditation is a team sport. Team sports offer a special joy and fulfilment through their shared endeavour, camaraderie and the surrendering of one’s personal interests for those of the team. Team sports expand our hearts and horizons and through our self-offering, reveal a thrilling glimpse of a deep truth: our underlying oneness.
Our personal meditation at home is always the most essential ingredient of our spiritual progress, and forms the foundation of any group meditation. If we all do our personal weight training at home, then we are each and collectively much more effective when we join together in a tug-of-war team. If members of a group are not practising their meditation at home regularly, then they will not derive anywhere near the same benefit from the group experience, and the collective standard of the group meditation will also be significantly diminished.
While meditating at home, we are wholly responsible for finding the inspiration and summoning the aspiration required for our best intense effort, while in a group the responsibility is shared. At home we are like a stream, sometimes flowing rapidly but other times drying out. A group is a larger river, with a stronger, reliable flow and compelling current impossible to resist.
While group meditation can never replace our daily practice at home, its value in strengthening our practice and inspiring our progress is unparalleled.