“The best way to share the gift of meditation with others is to pray is to pray with them. In real presence with others we sense the deeper truth of our being and so learn to see beyond ourselves. That is why meditating regularly, whether daily or weekly, with the same community, is such a source of sustenance to our pilgrimage.”
– John Main, Monastery Without Walls
Find a Local Group
The best way to connect with a local meditation group is to contact your national coordinator who will be happy to help you. Groups meet in a variety of places: homes, churches, places of work, hospitals and universities.
Find an Online Group
Online groups have been multiply greatly in recent times. It is easy to find a group in your own language and time zone with whom to develop your practice and find the support of fellow meditators.
Why Meditate in Groups
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 and indeed global 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 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. Most people start and stop and start again. The group is therefore a centre 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 the WCCM groups follow a simple structure designed to keep focussed in 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
Starting a Christian Meditation Group
The short book A Pearl of Great Price describes the purpose of the meditation group and practical advice on how to start one. You can read and download the book here:
Opening Prayer (by John Main)
Many groups and individuals begin the meditation with this short prayer composed by John Main:
Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call. Maranantha…Come, Lord Jesus
Closing Prayer (by Laurence Freeman)
Many groups and larger events of the WCCM conclude with this prayer composed by Laurence Freeman:
May this community be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. May those who teach here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve all who come, and to receive them as Christ Himself. In the silence of this Community may all the suffering, violence, and confusion of the world encounter the power that will console, renew and uplift the human spirit. May this silence be a power to open the hearts of men and women to the vision of God, and so to each other, in love and peace, justice and human dignity. May the beauty of the divine life fill this community and the hearts of all who pray here, with joyful hope. May all who come here weighed down by the problems of humanity leave giving thanks for the wonder of human life. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN