Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:58 pm

Ben wrote:Even if you have a very small group if you break for tea following the sit then you'll find it will have a very beneficial effect on the group and everyone's practice.

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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:05 pm

zavk wrote:I'm not seeking to establish a Buddhist group or to promote Buddhism per se. I do not have the expertise to do something like that. I'm merely hoping to have a weekly open session where students or staff can drop in to sit together for 30-40min. I'm planning to ask a colleague teaching a unit on World Religions who is also a Zen practitioner to collaborate with me. It seems to me that we could position it as a general exercise in mindfulness: mindfulness of breath and body.
My suggestion would be to focus on "simple" practices like mindfulness of breathing and walking meditation, and to allow time for discussion.


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Re: Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

Post by amtross » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:24 pm

I used to go to a non-denominational sitting group. It was one hour sit followed by 15 - 30 minutes of group discussion. The format was to just go around the group and everyone say a little something that's on thier mind. It could be anything from how the sit went to what's been going through your head the last few days, whatever...I really miss that group.

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Re: Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:16 pm

well with my love of knowing things I do like looking at related courses to Buddhism and meditation, this may not be of any practical use to your starting a group and its format but it maybe of use in helping you in some way??? I did recently look at a course for meditation instuctor and here is the guts, which may help you review your knowledge/weak points, so you can improve any area and help/answer questions in a better manner.

but all the groups I have gone to started with a 45 silent meditation (sometimes a guided meditation was offered) and one group always ended in metta.
then a tea break and either a talk or group discussion (sometimes the group was paired off or small groups were formed depending on size).

hope it is at-least of some help if not expressly part of what you were asking.

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But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: Suggestions/advice about starting a group meditation session

Post by Anagarika » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:22 am

My own two cents for starting a novice meditation group follows the KISS methodology.

One hour timed sits are too long for beginners. Too long even for some experienced meditators.

One idea: Take an hour, and break it into 20 minutes of sitting, 10 minutes plus or minus for walking and the remainder for discussion (?) . After an hour, break out the tea and biscuits and spend the next 15-30 minutes talking about whatever comes up. Or, integrate a video presentation by a good teacher, after a 20 minute calming sit.

The above are suggestions...I'd like to start a meditation group in my community as well, and am struggling with a formula that might work.

I was part of a Soto sangha many years ago, and long sits were the rule. I noticed that people would come for an introductory zazen course, and never come back. I feel as though they were burned out on day one, and just decided it wasn't right for them.

Akin to starting a running community, start with some stretching followed by short runs. Those who progress will want to run further, and the group will naturally evolve into longer runs. The same may be true for meditation.

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