All are welcome. Please join us at 9 a.m. in the Fireside Room.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted with soothing, contemplative music. A round oriental carpet rests on a circular table at the center of the room. The table is adorned with a candle, tingshas, meditation bells, and singing bowls. To transition from the noise of everyday life into a meditative silence, everyone quietly takes a seat, gets comfortable and listens to the music.
At 9:00 a.m., the music is turned off. Most participants pick up a singing bowl, a meditation bell, or a tingsha. The bowl users also pick up a wooden mallet that they use to circle the rim of the bowl to make it sing. The sounding of the instruments lasts a minute or two. The participants put the instruments down, and begin a 40-minute period of silence. To signal the end of the silent period, the moderator quietly sounds a bowl, or some chimes, to call everyone back, and then intones, “May the peace we have created here touch the hearts of our greater community and all those who suffer in the world.” The silence continues for a few more minutes, until the moderator invites everyone to sound zer/her/his voice in collective toning. When the vocalization is done, the moderator reads something of general interest, and then opens the floor for those present to share their thoughts. “I statements” (e.g., “I think …” and “I feel …”) are used to create a safe, accepting environment. When the discussion has come to an end, the participants stand, clasp hands, “Om”, and then sing:
Go now in peace. Go now in peace.
May the spirit of love surround you
Everywhere, everywhere you may be.
(Source: Hymn 413 in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal Singing the Living Tradition).
Because the meditation is on a “drop in” basis, the size of the group varies. It is generally not more than 8 to 10 people. Occasionally, it has been as small as 2 or 3. Most of the time, there are at least 5 or 6 people present.
In order to create a welcoming, calm, meditative environment for our many different meditation practices and traditions, please:
- Arrive early enough to settle before meditation begins.
- Settle yourself outside before opening the door, when late. Turn off your phone, stow your gear, take off your coat, etc., so that you can quickly join the group after slowly, quietly closing the door behind you. Make sure the doorstop doesn’t fall down. If someone else is coming, wait and enter together.
- Feel free to take any steps you need to remain settled during meditation. If prolonged noise is required, to minimize distractions, please quietly step outside and reenter when you are ready.
- Use “I statements” (e.g., “I think …” and “I feel …”) when sharing, and refrain from interrupting.
- Follow the church’s Covenant of Right Relations.
- Be as quiet as possible if you have to leave meditation before it ends. It’s certainly acceptable to do that when meditation overlaps with the sanctuary service.
The meditation was crafted by several members of the church in the late 1980s. They visited a number of different meditation groups to observe practices, procedures, and rituals. They returned with that knowledge to create a uniquely Unitarian Universalist meditation experience. It does not adhere to any particular meditation style. Rather, it invites people with different silent meditation practices to comfortably meditate together in a supportive environment. The group is open to people at all levels in their meditation journey, whether that be beginner, intermediate, or advanced. While there is no instruction on how to meditate, nor any type of formal training, the group members are always happy to share their practices and experience.
For more information about the meditation, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.