To sit in the group and be still. Be silent together and withdraw into yourself. Isn't that a big contradiction? Why should I meditate in a group when I can do it alone at home? One does not exclude the other - both complement each other. To keep silent when you're alone with yourself - at home you don't meet anyone but yourself is more the rule. In groups, on the other hand, the need to communicate increases, and language developed out of precisely this need. We talk to each other, we exchange experiences about each other and with each other. It is particularly against it to remain silent, to be able to calmly contemplate, although we are surrounded by a group of people. But if there is a consensus within this group to concentrate and not to talk, the silence has a different effect than the quiet times alone at home.
When everyone is meditating, the individuals tend to stay focused, even if their backs are starting to hurt, and apparent boredom is gripping their minds - a unit of time to meditate can be more intense and often better maintained within a group than if I allow myself distraction alone at home. In addition, meditations in silence also work differently than guided short meditations. When I can stand being still for a long period of time, with nothing to distract me, no one speaking to me, and no music to distract my mind - that's when I meet myself. Memories come up or tasks ahead and it takes work to push away those own inner distractions, just being focused on the breath and yes - just meditating - nothing else. No more, no less.
And feeling safe within a group where every single person is doing that for exactly the same amount of time - meditating - increases the intensity from my experience. Of course, wheezing, coughing, sighing or just breathing next to me, behind me or in front of me could distract me, even upset me. But always becoming calm, letting go of what I hear, listening, not thinking about it, coming back to myself is an ever-growing balancing exercise. I can meditate alone, and some may find it easier than in a group. However, the risk of distraction is very great if I then allow myself to break off the meditation unit because something about sitting and being silent doesn't suit me at the moment. The group often tends to pull back to focus: Why am I sitting here? What am I doing right now? Ah yes, breathe. The others stay calm too, so I try to do the same. And as a whole, the time that I take out of the seemingly always busy everyday life, that I take for myself, is also a clear one to keep in the group. I don't like to disturb, so I leave on time or dial in online in good time. If I only have an appointment with myself anyway, I tend to allow delays or shortening of the duration. The discipline of meditating safely at certain fixed times is often much more difficult to maintain alone. It's just like doing sports alone or in a group or making music - practicing alone and playing together. Both complement each other. I practice etudes on my instrument alone and then all the musicians play the sonata together. Just as the sound of many instruments creates a carpet of sound, the calmness of the group spreads out in the room and the focus on the moment is noticeably intense. I can only tell from my own experience and feelings. In conversation with others or from books, I then learn about their experiences. And that's why I invite you to meditate and draw together.