The discipline of attending a meeting at a set time and place creates momentum, which is essential to our progress. It takes more effort to attend a session on the other side of town than simply meditating at home. Each time we make that effort we recommit to our purpose, we place more store in the value of our meditation and hence, the more likely we are to give our all to the meditation itself. The more we give, we more we invariably receive.
Attending a group requires preparation and commitment: we might wear special clothing, arrange our schedule, adjust our mealtime and navigate traffic. We might also have a role to play in preparing the venue or program, helping with cleaning, decorations or refreshments. This involvement increases our focus and reinforces the role of meditation in our lives. The more we give to our meditation practice, the more our practice gives us.
We have set aside all other commitments and excluded infinite possible activities to attend a group meditation. We have made this our priority. Having planned, prepared ourselves and made the effort to attend, we are clear of the endless potential distractions constantly surrounding us at home.
In a group there is always a subtle peer pressure; if we know the quality of our own meditation will have an effect on those around us, we will be inspired to make a sincere effort to ensure that effect is a positive rather than a negative one. Hence we often apply ourselves with more sincerity and intensity when in a group than we might at home, when the only one who will be affected by our less-than-wholehearted effort is ourselves. Our greater focus and intensity raises the quality of our own, as well as the group’s meditation.