One of the best parts about meditating with others in a class setting is the opportunity to share your experience and hear about the perspectives of others. This gives us the chance to gain a new point of view through our differences, share in the joy of witnessing growth, and bond over shared commonalities.
Meditation class is not just about experiencing mindfulness, peace, and calm. It’s about listening openly to yourself and others. It’s about taking an honest reflection of our experiences and sharing those reflections, if we choose. When we can pause long enough to identify our own understanding and allow others to have their own view, we can truly live in a mindful way.
Please join me in modeling the following tenets while we join together in meditation class:
1. Share from your perspective– from time to time, we will open the floor for discussion in class. When sharing feedback, share from your own perspective. Use statements that begin with “I”, not “we” or ”they”. Share what you have lived, not what others have said.
2. Say just enough– when it comes to sharing feedback in a group, some people are more comfortable than others. For those who are not shy, say just enough so that there is enough space for everybody to share. For those who are more reserved, we ask that you take a risk and share one word or reflection so that your voice can be included. As always, you have the right to pass, as your presence in the session is contribution enough.
3. Honor others’ perspectives– each of us comes to class with our own unique lived experience behind us. The intention of us coming together is not to come to a consensus, but to explore differences without the pressure of agreement. This is not the time to interfere, correct, fix, change or attempt to improve one another.
4. Speak only when it is your turn- for the purposes of online learning, students will be muted for the duration of class. When it is your turn to speak, unmute yourself and share, re-muting when done. The unmuting of a speaker announces their intention to share, and it is a signal to focus our full attention on them.
5. What is shared in class stays in class– the meditation class is a place for you to have your own experience and to express it in your own way, if you choose. It is up to all of us to contribute to an environment of safety and trust. We all must respect each other’s privacy by adhering to “what is said here, stays here”.
By following these tenets for guided meditation class, we can allow the wisdom of the group to emerge. These tenets have been adapted from the Practice of Council guidelines that have been practiced by the Ojai Foundation. The origins of this process can be traced back to the League of Iroquois and the Peoples of the Plains and Southwest Pueblos. Roots can also be found in classical Greek culture, including Homer’s Iliad. There is wisdom in this approach, so let’s use it!
Digging, G. et al. 2019. Facilitator training manual. Mindfulness without borders.
Coyle, V. & Zimmerman, J. n.d. Introduction to the practice of council. The Ojai Foundation.