By consensus we agreed that guidance would be useful. A number of our group have some experience, a few dating back several years. A few are daily--or near-daily--meditators. And a few more are beginners. A good mix, then.
I had put out word in advance of my intention to ring the gong promptly at 6:30, and was happy that most managed to arrive a few minutes before and get settled for the 6:30 start. Inevitably, given that this is Los Angeles where traffic is unpredictable at best (and where many have work schedules), there were a few late-comers; and they came in quietly, as forewarned, and managed to find the seats and sitting spaces we had left out for them without any great disturbance.
I was glad to be able to have a prompt start, then, and we all agreed that this was a good precedent for future sits. Guiding the meditation, I started out with a reminder about the disturbances--the external sounds, the physical discomfort, the puppy-dog mind--and how to deal with them by simply bringing the attention back to the breath. Then I led the group into a half-hour breath meditation/body scan, allowing increasing gaps of silence and leaving them, after a twenty-minute introduction, to complete the process on their own.
Our first session, two weeks ago, had been a brief, 20-minute introduction to the process, so now the half-hour proved to be a good step forward, and we agreed that were ready, in our next session two weeks from now, to extend the time to 40 minutes.
For me, as I think it was for everyone, this was a profoundly pleasurable sit. The space in our home is warm and welcoming. With all the art on the wall and our long-time collection of ceramic vessels, the space has a serenity all its own. We are surrounded by the creative passion of so many people, and you can somehow feel that energy when you sit quietly and absorb it.
And then... the fourth wall of our living area consists entirely of sliding glass doors, which open out onto the vista of the city and the Pacific Ocean beyond. It's my belief that our meditation both absorbs that vast extension, and breathes whatever inner peace we generate out into the wide world.
That's my fancy, anyway. I'm so pleased to have been able to get this started, and look forward immensely to consolidating the potential of this wonderful group of like-minded neighbors. Much, much more to come...