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Meditation Club

Today’s post is by Bryan Berghoef

I recently gathered with some friends for a time of silence at what we are calling, “Meditation Club.” There’s no big agenda. No expected outcomes. Simply the chance to come and meet in the quiet.

I try to take time to meditate on my own regularly, but I have to say that it is never as rich or substantive as when I sit with others. There seems to be a real or at least perceived energy that is experienced when we hold space in silence with others.

Some think of this as prayer, a chance to commune with God, to simply rest in the divine presence. Others think of it as a mindfulness exercise, establishing contact with themselves in the present moment. However one frames it, it is a palpably powerful practice.

Ten of us gathered in my backyard office shed this week, and after some initial body prayers, we entered into silence, guided by this simple Gatha (Sanskrit for song or verse) on impermanence:

The day has nearly ended.
Our lives are shorter.
Now we look carefully.
What have we done?

Noble Sangha, with all our heart,
let us be diligent,
engaging in the practice.
Let us live deeply,
free from afflictions,

aware of impermanence
so that life does not
drift away without meaning.

Sangha is a word in Buddhism that refers to a community of people devoted to the spiritual search. In that moment, our little Meditation Club was such a community.

Between ongoing school shootings and the recent passing of the young writer Rachel Held Evans, we are starkly aware of impermanence. Life can change quickly. It can even come to an unexpected end. By cultivating the awareness that contemplative prayer or silence can bring, we can get in touch with the present moment, we can find substance and meaning in our lives, and be present enough to engage it fully.

Given these recent reminders of the brevity of life, it seems more important to me than ever to deepen my contemplative practice. On that evening, sitting in silence with a circle of friends in the shed, we were that Sangha: a community searching in the quiet space for spiritual connection and depth. And while each of us had a different experience of that time—as discovered in our sharing afterward—it was clear that we all found something.

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Mino Sullivan

Your Meditation Club sounds lovely. Starting an online club, using Zoom or something similar, might be a fulfilling way to further share your gifts.