I just got back from a seven-day silent meditation retreat in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Alongside the beautiful landscape and delectable homemade food, the most nourishing part of the trip was being part of a community of mindfulness practitioners. Much of my personal mindfulness practice happens solo, so it was a nice change to meditate in a community in Colorado.
I hear similar reports from my mindfulness students in Dallas when they attend Mastermind’s community events. Participants will say things like, “It felt great to meditate in a group of 40 likeminded people!” or “I have a personal practice, but I attend events once every few months to connect with a broader mindful community.”
This anecdotal experience is supported by research – when you want to establish a healthy habit, joining a community of likeminded people increases your level of accountability and helps you get back on track faster when you fall off.
Even Sharon Salzberg, a leading meditation practitioner and teacher for nearly four decades, still texts an accountability group every day to let them know that she did her practice. Community and support make everything better and easier, including mindfulness practice.
Looking to start meditating regularly or further bolster your personal practice? Try out these inspired tips for finding mindfulness in community:
- Attend Local Groups/Centers: Most cities have several options for meditation centers and meditation groups. You can search via Google, Meetup, and by asking around for a referral. Don’t be put off by different labels on the groups. For example, I attend Wednesday night meditation at the Buddhist Center of Dallas. Even though I’m not Buddhist, the practice is identical to mindfulness meditation and highly beneficial.
- Create A Group: If you can’t find a community group that’s convenient for you, consider starting your own! Host a weekly meditation gathering at work – play a short guided meditation in a conference room during lunch. Or, invite people over to your home weekly or monthly for meditation and socializing. Someone can lead the sessions or you can simply use guided meditations from apps or YouTube.
- Recruit an Accountability Buddy: Like Sharon Salzberg, you can find at least one person on the same journey. You can text your accountability buddy daily after your mindfulness practice, and you can also reach out when you are feeling unmotivated. Perhaps you even get together virtually or in person every so often to learn new tools and exchange inspiration.
- Join Social Media Groups: You can find ample Instagram and Facebook accounts and groups that share inspiration and encouragement along the mindfulness journey. Here are some of my favorites.
- Browse Your App: Some mindfulness apps like Simple Habit and Insight Timer have a community section that allows you to connect with other meditators and see stats on who is using the app at the same time you are. Even this simple awareness of connection may shift your experience of practicing.
- Attend Mindfulness Retreats and Events: Consider traveling every so often to connect with a larger group of likeminded people. Community favorites include Wanderlust events and mindful triathlons and the Wisdom 2.0 gatherings nationwide. You can also consider a mindfulness meditation retreat – see this article for more details and suggestions.
Community makes mindfulness more fun and more impactful. How do you share mindfulness with others? Do you already have a group that keeps you accountable and inspired?
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
As Chief Mindfulness Officer of Mastermind Meditation, Dorsey Standish brings research-backed mindfulness and mindful movement to clients throughout the state of Texas. A lifelong learner and scientist, Dorsey has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is enrolled in the UT Dallas Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Master’s Program. After mindfulness transformed her own work, health and relationships, Dorsey left her corporate role at Texas Instruments to share the power of mindfulness with others full-time. Dorsey’s teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend and 10-day silent meditation retreats. Join Dorsey for one of Mastermind’s upcoming applied mindfulness programs at mastermindmeditate.com/programs.