Meditating in a Group Changed Everything for Me


Binge Watching Guilt

During this past year, it’s been so easy to flip on the TV, cuddle under a blanket on the couch and zone out. It’s an easy, relaxing way to pass the hours, binging on Hulu, Netflix, and HBO. Did I really just watch an entire season of Bridgerton in one sitting? Escapism and entertainment seems like the obvious solution to the boredom and stress of this year. However, I can only watch so much TV before the guilt sets in, thinking of the hours I just wasted when I could have been working on my endless To Do list.

I’m zoning out… but I’m not really relaxing.

When I’m thinking of what else I could or should do, I’m not really relaxing. My AppleWatch tells me to breath and stand up and the guilt returns. I try to relieve it by going for a walk, do some laundry or dishes. Do I care about Rio and Elizabeth more than the people in my life? I call a friend to feel a connection to someone. I’m restless and bored. I get up to see what my kids are up to. They are on their computers, video games, or phones. I remind them to go outside or do some chores. I realize TV is not the answer to relaxing when we have so many worries. It’s just a temporary distraction.

A Friend Called Just in Time

This fall, a friend called to talk about our fears around going back to school in person during the pandemic. Her husband has cancer and she was really worried about returning with students. After talking for a while, as I was wondering how she gets through each day with so much on her plate, she invited me to a meditation group on Zoom. She said they meet on Zoom after dinner on Thursdays for a guided meditation, followed by ten minutes of silent meditation, and finally just talk and share meditation experiences. I was a little unsure about it at first but decided to give it a try. After a few weeks, I started to notice that I felt more relaxed. It wasn’t just after our meditation on Thursday but at work too. I became more conscious of my breathing and started to pause in my day at work or on the drive home to focus on my breathing for a few minutes.

meditating in a groupMeditating in a Group connects my mind and body while connecting me with others. 

This wasn’t my first time meditating yet it’s the longest I’ve stuck with it. I don’t know why I don’t continue doing something that makes me feel great. I do it for a while and then I just stop. Knowing that my meditation group will be there every Thursday helps me stick with it. Meditation doesn’t have to be for an hour or even half an hour. It can be just for a few minutes. I used to think you had to have candles, an altar, incense burning, music, pillows but it doesn’t have to be all that. It’s something you can even get your kids involved with, too!

A Gift I Give Myself

There are several apps I use like Insight Timer, Headspace, Calm, MindLifeProject. I also love Deepak Chopra’s meditations and books. Taking those few minutes each day has made me feel more connected to myself and to my body. It’s caused me to start eating better, to exercise more, to laugh more, and worry less. There are so many health benefits.  Escapism and entertainment are only temporary fixes. Meditation changed my view. Looking inside myself though meditation helps me deal with the stresses of this pandemic, work, and family. It’s a gift I’ve given myself.

Here are a few meditation groups! Or you can start your own meditation group with your family or friends.

Portsmouth Public Library’s Weekly Group

Portsmouth Buddhist Center

Westchester Buddhist Center (join via Zoom)

Kripalu (retreat center in the Berkshires)

Mindful, an online community