Good evening and welcome to Monday Group Meditation, we will be sitting from 7:30 to 10:00 PM EST. It is not necessary to sit for the entire extended time, which is set up to make it convenient for people in four North American Time Zones; sit for as long as you like and when it is most convenient for you.
Monday Group Meditation is open to everyone, believers and non-believers of all stripes who are interested in gathering in silence. If you are new to meditation and would like to try it for yourself, Mindful Nature gave a good description of one way to meditate in an earlier diary, copied and pasted below:
"It is a matter of focusing attention mostly. In many traditions, the idea is to sit and focus on the rising and falling of the breath. Not controlling it, but sitting in a relaxed fashion and merely observing experiences of breathing, sounds, etc. Be aware of your thoughts, but don't engage in them. When your mind wanders (it will, often), then return to focus on breath and repeat."
From her book "Taking the Leap," Pema Chodron:
'Suppose we spent some time every day bringing the unknown people that we see into focus, and actually taking an interest in them? We could look at their faces, notice their clothes, look at their hands. There are so many chances to do this, particularly if we live in a large town or in a city. There are panhandlers that we rush by because their predicament makes us uncomfortable, there are the multitudes of people we pass on streets and sit next to on buses and in waiting rooms. The relationship becomes more intimate when someone packs up our groceries or takes our blood pressure or comes to our house to fix a leaking pipe. Then there are the people who sit next to us on airplanes. Suppose you had been on one of the planes that went down on September 11. Your fellow passengers would have been very important people in your life.I call it spreading kindness, and I've made it a practice to try to connect with people everywhere as I go through my day. I try to always look people in the eye who are serving or waiting on me in some way, and express my gratitude; when waiting in lines at banks or in checkout lines, I try to make the time go easier for me and the people around me, perhaps by offering a wry observation or compliment, or sometimes by poking fun at myself.
It can become a daily practice to humanize the people that we pass on the street."
It isn't that I think this makes me special in any way, and in fact I may fail in thousands of different ways with the people I am more closely involved; this is just something I CAN do in a world that seems to spin out of control, where there are multitudes of things I may not like, things I cannot control. I can notice and be kind to the people I encounter, it is one of the easiest, most fulfilling things I've ever learned to do.