The value of online meditation
I am so fortunate to have 2 local weekly meditation groups that I go to in the UK and I have been attending one of these for over 15 years. However, I currently spend 2 x 2 months a year in New Zealand where my daughter and her family live and the nearest group is over a mountain!
So when Eileen Dutt (International Oblate Co ordinator) suggested I try online meditation, I was persuaded to ‘give it a go.’ I had received information about the groups but really did not feel drawn to it. We each have preconceptions about anything online, particularly if you are a ‘certain age’, which I am!
Online meditation in the John Main Chapel offers a wonderful opportunity to belong to a group and to be part of the wider community of WCCM. A number of Oblates are hosting these groups which are taking place daily at different places and time zones around the world. I ‘met’ with fellow meditators, some of whom I have known for years but who live such a long way from me that we only see each other at national events. I smiled with joy to see them sitting in their homes ready to share in our time of meditation. I met for the first time other meditators and that was just a delight.
The actual process of signing in and getting started is very, very simple, though inevitably I got it wrong (I didn’t follow the instructions)! But after my second attempt, I am delighted to see people pop into my screen, saying ‘hello’ and ‘welcome.’ The small group I joined was led by Eileen Dutt so I felt at home at once. There were new faces and familiar faces all with beaming smiles, being beamed from all over the world: Australia, Norway, UK, and of course New Zealand. There is a familiar pattern that is followed, so joining in feels like putting on a pair of slippers. In actual fact I was wearing my slippers as it was my night time (in the UK, Angela was having her early morning cup of tea.)
In my UK local group we arrive and leave in silence, so there is no sharing time. With online groups there is the chance to share with others for a short while. But that is optional and if there is a need to leave immediately after the meditation, then that is fine. You can join in at home or work at a time that suits you and your microphone is switched off when you meditate, so any outside noises will not be heard. When I joined the group we had torrential rain hammering on the roof, but it could not be heard by the rest of the group.
I am probably typical of meditators who get into a daily routine and are reluctant to change habits that take so long to establish. However, I am also aware that our routines may have to change (my trips to NZ) and this way of linking up offers such rich connection. I am also conscious that some people are very wary of the internet and accessing online services. But please be assured, this is safe and simple, just needs a willingness to ‘have a go.’!