The word has been out for some time. Mindfulness is everywhere. Because of the work of many dedicated, talented teachers, people in the western world have the opportunity to learn the art and skill of living more fully. Technology has spurred on the growth of the practice as well. From apps to online classes, the opportunities are countless.
Apps and online courses are great. However, there is often something missing when technology is the main way to practice: a live, qualified teacher and a community. These are two of the main ways the practice thrives.
Micki Fine M.Ed., L.P.C. is the founder of Mindful Living and pioneer of mindfulness in Houston, TX since 1994. Micki is a certified mindfulness instructor (certification from the Center for Mindfulness - University of Massachusetts Medical School) and practicing licensed professional counselor in since 1990.
Having a community to meditate with can help in many ways.
- Even with the best of intentions, a steady, daily practice can be a challenge. Committing to a group can help jump-start and maintain practice. Group practice can boost your willingness to keep meditating, whether it’s during the week on your own or during a group meditation. Through the benefits described below, you may simply be less likely to quit and more accepting of yourself and others.
- When others share their meditation experience you can begin to understand that you are not alone. Everyone experiences joys and challenges of meditation. Times when you think “I suck at this” or “I’ll never get this right” or “when the heck is the bell going to ring” may not feel so deflating when you know you’re not alone in those experiences.
- Mindfulness meditation has us come face-to-face with ourselves. As mindfulness practice blossoms difficult emotions may arise. When you share experiences with a group, you can rest in the understanding and kindness of others.
- Empathy and patience with ourselves and others flow directly from the practice with the group. Mindful communication in the group can help you open your mind to ways of thinking beyond your preconceived notions.
- A delightful byproduct is the feeling of safety in the group, which may transfer to life in general.
- For many people the energy of the group is palpable and provides a quality of belonging and self-acceptance.