Why attend a group like ours

The claimed benefits of mindfulness and meditation

Many health benefits are claimed for mindfulness and meditation.  A typical list is:

  • Reduced stress.
  • Better sleep.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
  • Increased self-awareness.
  • Increased happiness.
  • Increased acceptance.
  • Slowed aging.
  • Benefits to cardiovascular and immune health.

Many health benefits are supported by scientific research but there is still much more research to be done.  As with many other health interventions, some of the claims of benefits have been over-hyped.  Mindfulness and meditation do not render the existing mental health methodologies obsolete.  If you suffer from a mental health condition, you should consult with your doctor to determine if practising mindfulness and meditation are appropriate for you. 

Richmond Mindfulness Meditation Group is neither a therapeutic group nor a stress-reduction group.  Our experience is that many people do enjoy benefits from mindfulness and meditation practices but the benefits that you derive will depend on the work you put into the practice.

 Why attend a mindfulness and meditation group like ours?

There are a number of reasons why most people find attending a mindfulness and meditation group aids their practice:

  1. Regular commitment to practice.  By attending a group you are making a commitment to practice.  Without it you may find that you don’t practice often if at all.  Peer pressure can be a positive thing!
  2. It’s easier to learn or improve in a group context by practising with others than it is as an individual relying on books or DVDs.  Mindfulness and meditation are not intellectual pursuits; they are experiential and can be more easily investigated and understood as part of a practising group.
  3. You benefit from the additional collective energy of mindfulness that a group generates.   This allows your meditation to be deeper and more focused. You are less likely to be distracted in a group context since you have an awareness of other people around you practising.
  4. You learn from and are supported by other people in the group and you in turn help and support others in the group.  This can help you appreciate our shared humanity and become more attuned to the feelings of other people.   You can also make good friends with a shared commitment to practice.
  5. You will be more easily motivated and inspired by sharing the experience of mindfulness and meditation with a group.  This motivation and inspiration will help carry you forward in your personal practice between group sessions.
  6. It’s more fun!  It’s easier for us to lighten up and relax in a supportive group environment where we don’t take ourselves too seriously!

Why our Group’s practice is Buddhist mindfulness and meditation

Secular mindfulness and meditation training (for example, MBCT and MBSR) are derived from Buddhist techniques.   Buddhist techniques are broader and deeper than the secular approach and we believe that they can provide much greater benefits.  In particular, the Buddhist approach has a sophisticated ethical background in kindness and compassion.

We follow the form of the Buddhist-taught techniques but our meetings are not an act of worship and many of our group’s members would not consider themselves as Buddhists.  As the Dalai Lama said, Do not try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.”