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The Power Of Group Meditation

I remember when I first learned Beeja meditation. There were only a few of us in the class and yet I still remember the meditations in class being significantly more potent than when I did them on my own. The day after my course finished I attended a group meditation with about 20 people and I was absolutely blown away to discover how much more powerful it was!


How could this be so? How could a group of individuals, sitting quietly with eyes closed, all gently repeating different mantras, cause my meditation to feel so much more deep and profound? Surely this was impossible? And yet, it was a visceral reality. I distinctly remember the paradigm shifting moment when the lightbulb switched on and I realised that I clearly didn’t understand the world nearly as well as I thought. It opened my eyes and my mind to the possibility that there was something extraordinary going on with this meditation that I couldn’t yet comprehend, and it sparked my curiosity to find out more.

Being of a scientific disposition, I retained a healthy scepticism and decided to return for several more group meditations to see if it really was the case. Did the experience bear the sort of consistent repeatability that would transform this experience from remarkable curiosity to discernible phenomena.

In the ten years that have followed this life changing juncture, I have been able to verify and articulate the many reasons why this is so.

It’s not to say that my first instinctive reaction that the psychology of investing time to come to such an event and surrendering to the experience didn’t play its part. Clearly it did and continues to make a difference for all those who attend our group meditations. We all know that creating space in your day for a true experience of internal surrender tends to have a more deepening effect than the more psychologically distracted approach of ‘squeezing it in’. But we can prep ourselves for a super fine meditation at home and it may or may not be any more exquisite as an experience. However, doing it in a group (provided we’re not super self conscious), always seems to deliver.

So it was with great delight that I discovered the work of the good people at heartmath.org who have found a very significant foundation for why this reality is experienced by all.

It transpires that there is a one foot electromagnetic field around our brains, and an eight feet field emanating from our hearts. How cool is that? Even more remarkable, is that the wave patterns of our hearts influence the brain patterns of those within our event horizon (the eight foot field). So if I’m in a calm state, and my heart is harmoniously and gently beating away, then my internal state of harmony will begin to have a soothing impact on all the people who come into my range, by calming down and soothing their brain sates. Even to this day, with all that I know, I still find this absolutely mega!

Like all field effects, there is an inverse square law at play whereby the closer people come to us, the more this effect becomes amplified.

Another one of my favourite factoids is that we each emit a six foot cloud of hormones around us at any one time. At any given moment we are in a certain neurological and physiological state that causes neurotransmitters to be racing around our bodies at al times. Curiously, some of these neurotransmitters are released through our pores and into the atmosphere around us. Now, when we’re agitated, not only does our heart frequency become distorted and racy, but we start to emit a cocktail of stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which pollutes the atmosphere around us and starts to be ingested by anyone within our hormone horizon. We are sharing molecules with each other all the time, and they are entering the neurotransmitter receptor sites of the people in our orbit and creating chemical messages within their systems that are not coming from their brains!

The only real question we need to ask ourselves is; Are we emitting stress chemicals or endorphins? Because if we’re emitting endorphins, then we help give people a feel good factor that goes even beyond the feel god factor of our calm and tranquil heart states.

So next time you’re going on a date, maybe get some meditation mojo rising and increase your pulling power!

Of course, when we’re in a  group of people who are all optimising their heart states and their neurochemical profiles, we find that we are all contributing to a smooth and harmonious heart field that we are all a party too. This has a calming and soothing effect on each other’s brains. There is then a feedback loop that calms the heart states of each participant even more, and that then adds further juice to the meditative effect and activates even more release of yummy neurochemicals like serotonin, oxcytocin, and dopamine (the bliss chemical named after the sanskrit word for bliss).

In addition, there is also a strong scientific argument for their being a field of consciousness that is even more subtle than the electromagnetic field. Now this is more speculative, but when you’ve spent the last decade of your live becoming familiar with this field, it imbues you with a certain confidence that this theoretical field truly does exist. If that is the case, then if the laws of field theory also apply to this consciousness field, then by individually putting ourselves into a more expansive state of consciousness, then we are collectively enhancing our ability to access this field when we meditate together.

Another very noticeable and tangible phenomena is when there are advanced meditators in the room. When I do advanced mantra courses, the power of the regular meditators is noticeable – as you practice more, the power of your field effect increases. When they start using more powerful mantras the group meditation we have on the second session of the course is really very powerful. Indeed, in the interests of full disclosure, I no longer notice the effect of group meditations, even when there are 35 people in attendance. But if there are 10 advanced meditators in the room, I really notice it and absolutely love the juiciness of it!

It’s the same when people have done retreats. It kicks up their state of consciousness and imbues them with more power. And when peeps do the The Veda Course, the power of people’s field effect goes up exponentially. Interestingly, I recently completed a very advanced course called the Siddhis, and although there were only three of them on the course, the group meditation we shared during the course was as powerful as a group meds I have done with three hundred people! That’s how much we can scale up our personal power and by doing so, have a hugely positive influence on all he people around us

So if you want more juiciness in your meditations, here are our top tips for achieving more from your daily practise:

 

  1. Attend group meds regularly. Not only will they keep you on track, you will learn more about the subtleties of meditation and tricks for integration and further personal development. The extra depth from the group effect will put wind in your sails for a few days at least. There are 24 a month of these now, so no excuses not to attend some from time to time! Feel free to pop your name down for a group meditation anytime here.
  2. When meditating every day, do the best you can to set up a non-stimulated, non-rushed approach to your meditation. That means; no staring at phones before your morning med; giving yourself a bit of space around the meditation so you’re not sweating about time; psychologically preparing yourself to let go of your cares and nonchalantly surrendering to whatever is about to come.
  3. Attend a retreat and learn the technique of rounding which will allow you to self generate the same sort of power as a group meditation, in the comfort of your very own home!

 

The Luxury Trap

India Farming

For most of human history, we spent our days hunting and gathering food, wherever we could find them. If a particular area was lacking in nutrient rich supplies, or if it was being made use of by another band whom we didn’t want to war with, then we would simply wander somewhere else and make hay wherever the nutritional sun shone.

About 10,000 years ago, our ancestors stumbled across the seemingly genius idea of domesticating animals and cultivating easy to grow foodstuffs so that we could experience plentiful supplies of essential foodstuffs without having to wander the savannah.

Climatic conditions at the time were ripe for this sort of development, and the Middle East began the trend by domesticating goats and cultivating wheat. Peas and lentils followed in the Levant, and later olives, horses and grapevines added a little variety to our newly sedentary lives. Meanwhile in Central America there were simultaneous movements towards the cultivation of maize, beans, potatoes and llamas and in the Far East, it was rice, millet and pigs.

The immediate effects of their work were greater overall supplies of food. However, the work was hard, and so these newly formed communities took advantage of the surplus food supplies by having more children who could share the load and work the farms. (more…)

She’s Leaving Home

pepper recording 2

For me, both musically, and lyrically, this is the unsung hero of Sgt Pepper. My 17 year old self felt close to tears when hearing this song. I remember poignantly listening to this track in my old bedroom, feeling every breath of the young girl who felt the need to leave her parents and abscond with her heart.

Inspired by a front page story of a girl gone missing, the song begins with a beautiful intro of a harp, and then some of George Martin’s trademark strings kicks in before Paul sets the scene with the tale of a young girl (whom we now know is called Melanie) creeps downstairs while her parents are sleeping, and leaves a note that ‘she hopes will say more’. The girl is obviously very upset to be taking this pathway, but equally obviously, doesn’t feel she has any choice but to leave the people she has felt so trapped by. (more…)

How To Stop Fixating On Negative Thoughts

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One of the things that has struck me most forcefully since I’ve been teaching is the strongly ingrained tendency by most humans to fixate on the negative.

Even when something is pretty bloody good, whether it be a relationship, a career, an event, or even our meditation practice, our prosecuting mind kicks in and we put so much of our attention on the stuff we find dissatisfying.

We also tend to fixate on the flaws and weaknesses that we ourselves possess, to the exclusion of so much that may be positive. (more…)

Make hay when the sun shines

Will Willaims retreat winter seasonal affective disorder

 

It’s easy to forget the cares of the world when the sun is shining and the world feels so much brighter, especially in the UK where the weather seems to play such an important role in our individual and cultural psyche.

 

The bounty of barbecues, beaches, festivals and chillouts in the park make for a golden time when life can feel so special.

We have noticed in recent years that everyone seems much happier with their lot over the summer, and then before you know it, autumn has arrived and with it, a slight sense of impending gloom and anxiety about the road ahead. For those with a history of depression, anxiety or Season Affective Disorder, it can feel like you’re fast approaching a season when life often proves tough.

 

So with that in mind, I have decided to pen this post in the hope of inspiring any interested readers into taking affirmative action now, so that the forthcoming winter can have more smiles than groans. (more…)

This entry was posted in Mind.

Cognitive Dissonance

Denial cognitive dissonance trump

This month I wanted to talk about cognitive dissonance, one of my favourite observations from the field of psychology. Cognitive dissonance is the state of discomfort one feels when there is a conflict between the belief or paradigm one holds, and the actions, behaviours or evidence that one is confronted with.

This discomfort induces the person with dissonance to adopt strategies that reduce the discomfort being felt. The person feels compelled to mislead themselves, or others, in order to justify their position. It will also likely lead to them avoiding situations where a dissonant situation may arise. According to its original proponent, Festinger; ‘It leads to activity oriented toward dissonance reduction just as hunger leads toward activity oriented toward hunger reduction.’

Although most of us haven’t heard of cognitive dissonance, we are all hugely familiar with the patterns of behaviour it is describing. (more…)

This entry was posted in Mind.

To Tweet or to transcend, that is the question

 

twitter tweet transcend social media

One of people’s biggest concerns coming into meditation is ‘how will I find time for 30-40 minutes of meditation a day? It’s a good question, and one that implies an even more fundamental question, which is ‘what am I doing with my time each day, and can I my optimally allocate my time to achieve my life objectives?’

This musing was triggered by the recent research suggesting that the average person spends 40 minutes a day on social media. Obviously, the distribution of time allocated varies a lot from person to person. If there is a fairly normal distribution, it is amazing to think that for every person who spends barely any time on social media, there may be another who spends a whopping 80 minutes on there! Perhaps we should call it anti-social media! (more…)

SAD: Navigating Through the Winter Blues

It’s known throughout the world that the British like to talk about the weather. The weather in Britain is the cause of grand disappointments, high drama and short bursts of sunny exuberance. But it’s the dreary, drizzly and grey skied that most defines the national mood, and when combined with short days this monotonous gloominess can have a real and damaging impact on people’s state of mind.

This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and is thought to affect one in ten people in northern Europe. While the cold is certainly unlikely to help, it appears that the real trigger is a lack of light. In the winter many people find themselves going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark, and experiencing very little natural light, a situation exacerbated when dark clouds are a permanent fixture. (more…)

This entry was posted in Mind.

12 Tips for Surviving Christmas [Part Three]

tips for surviving christmas

Ninth Day of Christmas- Concentration

We all know how important it is to beat that particularly successful family member (let’s face it, it’s usually Dad) in board games. They sailed through to victory in Risk, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit throughout your entire childhood and this needs to be avenged. You can achieve this through top-notch performance that will leave observers in silent awe. “What excellent Monopoly strategy”, they will say breathlessly. “Wait until you see them with a Cluedo board”, others will reply. By taking up the practise of meditation you’ll be hearing praise like this constantly, and this year, finally, could be YOUR YEAR. (more…)

12 Tips For Surviving Christmas [Part Two]

surviving christmas

Fifth Day of Christmas – Sleep

Christmas is too exciting for sleep! And you have to practice to stay up and see Santa. Sure, you may be thirty two years old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get caught up in the spirit of the thing. Except, if you think about it, you do have a week ahead of you so using meditation to help you get as much shut-eye as possible is really a very good idea. (more…)