"If everybody stops thinking, and breathe's together with awareness,
then automatically we are no longer isolated individuals; we are a joyful collective.
A new level of energy is generated that is even more powerful than the energy we produce
when we mindfully breathe by ourselves."
Thich Nhat Hanh
In the midst of a world that seems to be increasingly out of control, we can find ourselves longing for a way to slow down and find rest from the worry, fear and anxiety that fill our minds. It's no wonder that meditation seems to be making a big comeback these days, under the new (old) buzzword of mindfulness. Many are discovering, or rediscovering, the peace and joy that can be re-discovered by simply coming home to the present moment, relaxing our minds, and focusing on our breath.
Sometimes we may find, however, that after learning to meditate, the practice is sometimes difficult to carry out in our busy, sped-up lives. With so many things competing for our attention; from our children and our jobs, to the mind-numbing drone of T.V. programs, we can easily be distracted and forget our resolve to sit still every day, and cultivate more peace and calm in our lives. In these constant distractions, we often lose our resolve, and find ourselves even more confused and unhappy.
One of the most powerful ways to continue our meditation practice for the long-run, and go deeper within, is to meditate with others who also have the same aspiration for peace and tranquility that we do. In a group setting, we find that our busy minds more easily relax, and that the group dynamic lends more energy and focus to our meditation. We may find that the difficulty that plagues us when we practice alone, is easily overcome in a community of fellow meditators, and the ease and joy that we long for happens as naturally as our breathing. Finding a collective (Sangha) to meditate with; where we feel comfortable and at ease, is like discovering a precious jewel in the palm of our hand. In this kind of community, we find the inspiration and support to continue with our practice, no matter what obstacles may appear.