Being part of a Mindfulness community is wonderful, nurturing and supportive. It’s somewhere to connect with others and belong. It’s natural to seek out safe spaces and like minded people, we are in truth predisposed in our wish to have these families or associations. It’s also a creative way to grow and develop our mindfulness practice and vision.
I first arrived at the weekly MindfulnessUK meditation session a little fragile. My father had died at the beginning of the pandemic and Zoom held the sad memory of parting from him. It felt at first a strangely distant experience looking into the faces of fellow meditators, without the usual communal presence of body and breath. There was such warmth though, an open generosity, a collectively intimate experience and the pleasure of being skilfully guided by Andy Wistreich, who leads the practice.
Over the weeks and months I developed a joyful bond with this group, changing faces welcomed alongside regular returners. Teachers, students, new meditators intermingle without difference or status. The internet creates the possibility of International members and northerners, like myself, joining from wherever they are based.
Andy has a gentle, wise presence, leading us through an exploration of posture and breath and into a contemplation of the elements: earth, fire, water, air, space, consciousness. Who knows where he will guide us next after his recent retreat break. I know we all wish him well, hoping he returns rested and renewed.
For anyone unsure of the experience of meditating in this way, I’d say… try it you may be surprised. I would never have considered the connectivity, support and community that could be built on a digital platform. We have all had to dig deep and delve into unknown places to flourish and engage within the pandemic. There have been a few unexpected bonuses!
For myself it was the beginning of a journey with MindfulnessUK as I decided to enrol on the Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion qualification in April 2021. Whilst I have been part of a mindfulness practice for many years, the element of compassion has never been so truly embedded as on this course. Not simply as a learnt experience but as a felt one. It runs profoundly through all the teaching.
I really don’t want the course to end, to no longer have the kinship and security of class. But the world is a big place and embracing our multiplicity helps to develop our understanding, cooperation and kindness to others. Mindfulness can provide an opportunity to feel the joys of engaging with difference, taking us from our perceived comfort and safety, to sharing and learning from others.
I however feel great encouragement and solace knowing that the Wednesday meditation session will provide a thread of connection which I can return to again and again.
Maybe I will see you there?