I learned to meditate when I was nine years old, and it has proved to be an invaluable technique for dealing with stress and being at peace with who I am.
One of my favorite memories growing up is meditating with my parents. When I would come home from school, my brother and I would settle in for the afternoon, do our homework, watch some television and usually before dinner spend 15 minutes meditating with my mom. And on other occasions, when my dad (Deepak Chopra) was leading a seminar or speaking to a big group of people, we would meditate with dozens, if not, hundreds of other people.
While meditation is fundamentally about self-exploration, the coherence from meditating with others makes it personally and socially more powerful. While some are skeptical, there have been numerous studies that have shown that a large group of people meditating together has a measurable effect on the greater population.
For me personally, meditating with others helps me feel more connected. The experience of knowing that silence I experience in my meditation is the same silence that the person sitting next to me is tapping into is quite moving.
Meditating together also lets us come together in shared intentions for change. On a global scale, we have witnessed many times how a small handful of people strongly unified by a common intent can profoundly influence a larger group of people. Great global movements for peace, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Gandhi, have always begun with a coming together of people who want peace for the greater good.
How To Start a Group Meditation
The easiest way to start meditating in a group is to simply start a weekly meditation practice with your family or friends. Dedicate at least one day in the week for you to meditate with your spouse, your closest friends or your immediate family members for 10 to 30 minutes. You will be amazed by how much your relationship deepens when you share a meditative practice with your loved ones on a regular basis.
In addition to group prayer meetings at temples of worship, many group meditation meet-ups are popping up in more cities and neighborhoods. Go to meetup.org and see if you can find a regular meditation group in your neck of the woods. If there aren't any, start one yourself.
Here is a visual guide that may inspire you.
There is power in numbers, and there is no power like a large group of people whose minds are attuned to the same frequency of peace, compassion and joy.
On Saturday June 25, I will be leading a public, group meditation session in San Francisco at Union Square. Click here to register online to reserve your spot at this free public event. For those of you who cannot physically make it to the event, I encourage you to RSVP at our Facebook event page to show your commitment to meditating at that same time wherever you are in the world.
Mallika Chopra is a meditation instructor and the founder of www.intent.com.