I'm not sure if I mentioned, a while ago, my intention to start a meditation group in my Los Angeles home. Having sat with the "Laguna sangha" in Laguna Beach for many years now, I'm much aware of the benefits of sitting with a group of fellow-meditators, and the quite different benefits involved; and have been missing that opportunity up here in Los Angeles.
It took me a while to realize that I was perfectly capable of organizing and hosting one myself, and the recent arrival of a "Nextdoor" network in our neighborhood showed me a wonderfully easy way to put the word out. I was both astonished and delighted with the response to my initial post: close to thirty people have written back to express their (often enthusiastic) interest, and I now have an impressive list of potential fellow-meditators.
We had our first session last night. Given the bad weather and the arbitrary date I'd set, realizing that it would not be convenient to everyone, we had a good turnout. I hope that everyone who came was as happy as I was with the evening. It took a little while for everyone to assemble, so we had a late start, but that was okay. It gave us a chance to chat. Then we dove right in.
I'd planned an initial twenty minutes, but we sat for closer to a half hour. With a varied group that consisted of mostly less experienced meditators--some, I think, with little or no previous experience at all--I offered guidance, leading us through a basic breath meditation experience. It felt good to be able to give back something of what I have learned over the years, and the response assured me that the gift was appreciated.
After the sit, we discussed plans for the future, setting dates for the first and third Wednesdays of the month. It's my hope that participants will use the time in between to begin their own daily practice; and that, once we have come to know each other, others will step in with offers to host additional sits in their own homes. That way, the group will not be dependent exclusively on my availability.
All in all, I was thrilled both with my inspiration to get this thing started, and with the enthusiasm of those who have responded. I'm looking forward, now, to a regular Franklin Hill meditation group, and to getting to better know the truly good-hearted people who showed up. In this rather bleak time, it lifts the heart to know that others care about the important things in life.