Why Join a Group?
The passing on of the gift of meditation is essentially a personal matter. It can be the best way to be introduced to meditation and then to have your personal practice supported and enriched. Through the group you can feel connected to a much wider community and also find a deeper connection to the contemplative tradition.
People frequently ask if it is better to meditate alone or in a group? In fact, they are like the two sides of a coin. Meditation is solitary in the sense that I can’t meditate for you and you can’t meditate for me. But people can and want to – meditate together. The meditation group is therefore a way into the deeper experience and meaning of meditation by connecting personal experience to community. In a group each person both gives and receives encouragement. ‘It is in giving that we receive’.
In the Christian theology of meditation the experience of being in community – sharing in the Body of Christ – is essential. ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst’ (Mt 18:20). For these reasons, meditation groups form around the world in all kinds
of ways and locations. They meet in churches, homes, schools, hospitals, universities, prisons, shopping malls and places of work – and of course, increasingly, online. There are groups for the homeless and for those recovering from addiction. However it meets, the group is a special and yet simple, down to earth way both to be introduced to meditation and to sustain your daily practice.
Learning to meditate takes time. Many people start and stop and start again. The group is therefore a center for friendship and stability in this process. Each group has its own personality and aims to be an oasis of peace and silence in a troubled world, and a welcoming place for every newcomer. But, all WCCM groups follow a simple structure designed to keep focused on the experience of meditation itself and to be as hospitable as possible to the widest range of people:
- A teaching on meditation in this tradition reminding us of the radical simplicity of the practice
- A meditation period of 20-30 minutes in silence
- A time for sharing or questions
Join a Meditation Group
Our local groups have been the bedrock of our community. Search our State listings below to see if one exists near you! Contact the group leader for more information; they are happy to hear from you!
If there is no group near where you live, know that a number of our groups have gone online during Covid, and they would be happy to welcome you. There is usually a notation in the listing if the group meets online now. An advantage to joining an online group in your general geographic area is that when there are events such as half day retreats, groups may host in person gatherings. That is a great way to acquire and deepen friendships with fellow meditators, as well as being an opportunity to deepen your practice.
U.S. Led International Online-Only
Long before the start of the Pandemic, WCCM-USA led the way internationally with a small number of online-only groups. Eventually WCCM created an international online groups page, which grew in popularity during the global Pandemic. At this time most of our original US led online only groups are still going strong, with varying amounts of international members along with those residing in the US.
As noted above, during the Pandemic, an increasing number of our physically based groups moved to use Zoom meetings, and are thriving. So as we deepen into new ways of living into Fr. John Main’s belief that “meditation creates community”, we invite you to consider joining via the States listings above, or with one of the groups listed below. However, at this time we do not anticipate an expansion of the groups below.