More on meditation will be posted soon.

                                                        How to start a meditation group                                                                                                            

If you are new to meditation the best way to learn is to join an established group, depending on where you live this may not be very easy. If you are unable to find a group, start one. Meditating in a group is a great way for your practice to grow and to meet new people in your community. Here are some guide lines and ideas to get you started. 

First it’s a good idea to base the size of your group on the experience you have. If you are new to meditation then obviously a smaller group will be better to start off with. Also you will have to take into account the size of the room where you plan on having your group meet. If you’re new to meditation then try to keep your group to 4 or 5 people and up to 10 or 12 if you have been practicing for a while. 

The next thing you will need to decide is where you will have your group meet. Remember that you already have everything you need to meditate so all you’re looking for is a quiet place big enough for your group. A 10 x 10 empty room would be ideal to start with but you can move furniture around in any room to accommodate 4 or 5 people. 

If you don't have a room suitable for your group check with your local community center or church, they often have rooms available and may not charge anything for their use are at least very little. If the weather is nice you can move your group to a local park. Sitting outside can be a wonderful experience. The next thing to consider is meditation tools. 

For example if you plan on using candles and incense then makes sure you use those during your meditation session. Meditation cushions, called Zafus, seiza benches or straight back chairs are all acceptable for meditation. Zafus are most commonly use but are very expensive, they cost around 50 dollars each, an oversized pillow or a cat bed will work just as good and cost much less although cat beds may need a little extra stuffing. Both can be picked up for around 10 to 15 dollars each.

Starting and ending your meditation session can be done with a simple bell. Once you have a few people to start your group you need to decide on the days and times to meet. It’s good to start with meeting one or two days a week at a time an hour or so after dinner. How long you meditate should be determined by your groups’ experience. 

Most Zen groups will sit for 30 minutes or longer but its fine to start off with 15 minutes and then have a reading from a sutra or the Dammapada or other inspirational book. The important thing is to sit. Finding meditation partners may not take as long as you think. Posting flyers is a good way to get the word out. The best places to go are holistic or healing centers, health food and nutrition stores, yoga centers and community centers.

 A final thought. If you are inviting people into your home who you may not be familiar with always make sure that you secure your valuables and always have a friend with you just in case something happens.

Recommended reading:

Meditation Now or Never,  by: Steve Hagen
The Wooden Bowl,   by:  Clark Strand