When you can’t meditate in a group COVID-19
As a result of the impact COVID-19 is having on meditation groups, the WCCM in the UK leadership team (formally called The Action Group) have and will offer suggestions to help you stay connected with others in your local and wider communities. We will also include any communications from Fr Laurence, the Spiritual Director of WCCM worldwide. The communications are replicated exactly as issued by email and are listed in reverse chronological order.
Keeping in Touch with our Meditation Community in Challenging Times (Julie Roberts - 22 March 2020)
It has been an unprecedented week as the whole country prepares itself for difficult times ahead. In fast changing times we all have to consider new ways of doing things in every aspect of our lives. There is a beautiful letter to us all from Fr Laurence at the end of this email.
At the heart of our meditation community are our group meetings and following on from the email sent out on the 17th March, listing various resources available to everyone, we are writing again to offer some ideas to help groups keep connected.
1) Set up an online group meeting.
An easy way to do this, which we can recommend, is that you join Zoom (the basic version) which offers free online video conferencing. You can get this on your computer by googling Zoom and then following the instructions to join, or do this on any of your mobile devices (iPads tablets, smartphones) by downloading the app. If you are already panicking thinking that this is too techie for you, please be reassured that it is really easy. If you have difficulties no doubt a friend, relative or a group member will be only too happy to help. Once you have accessed Zoom, group members are invited by email to the group meeting at the time of your choice. It is free for 40 minutes then your session will end, but if you need longer you just reconnect for another 40 minutes. Any group members who do not have the internet can join the meeting by phone (0203 481 5240).This is a brilliant way to retain social contact with your group, so we want to encourage all groups to give this a try.
2) Arrange to meditate together, but apart.
Here’s a very simple low tech option being used by one of our oblates in Denmark. Her local meditation group is cancelled, so she is emailing or phoning each member at the normal meditation time to repeat the opening and then closing prayer. And in between the prayers, they each meditate in their own home.
3) Set up a WhatsApp group
Many of you will already have discovered the joys of a WhatsApp group so that you can keep in touch with your friends and family. Simply download the app and then set up a group to which you can invite group meditators. When one person posts a message on the group you can all see it and respond if you want to. Again this is free and enables people to keep in touch as a group between your meetings. Of course, you could use it instead of the phone or email as in 2) above - video calling is also available but limited to 4 people so if you have a very small group it could be used like 1) above.
We don’t want to bombard you, as there are lots of options and you may well have this in hand. But, if you haven’t please try at least one of the above as it will be so appreciated by your group members. Some group leaders are not on email or not so confident, so if you can help please contact them and work together.
And finally a note from the UK office :-
“At very short notice on 18th March the UK office was closed for the foreseeable future. Please be aware that whilst Roisin and Elena are currently able to work from home, any postal mail will not be responded to for some time, probably several months. Consequently please communicate by email to email@example.com and if there are any payments you wish to make, do so using the online donation facility https://www.christianmeditation.org.uk/index.php/become-a-friend-of-wccm/donate and please include a message (provided within the donation facility) saying what it is for.”
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any thoughts or ideas for consideration ...and we will be in touch if we have any more information.
Meanwhile, we send our best wishes to you and your families.
Love and peace
School of Meditation Co-ordinator
WCCM in the UK
On behalf of the Action Group
A Contemplative Path Through The Crisis (Fr Laurence Freeman - 19 March 2020)
Many things, good or bad, nourishing or destructive, true or false can bring us closer together. The global health emergency is doing it by reminding us, as the environmental emergency should, of the reality that we are a single family; we share a beautiful home; our differences are really interesting not threatening; and we need to learn how to share better and to live in a more joyful way. This crisis can bring us together for the sake of goodness, for new depth of wisdom and kindness. It is not all about fear.
The current health crisis is shaking modern lifestyle to its foundations, dramatically and rapidly. But we can all be part of a shared contemplative response that makes a difference to those around us even if we are physically separated. Social distancing can bring us closer together spiritually. We only need to go deeper. To go deeper we need only to be still. Meditation does both.
A Contemplative Path Through The Crisis
To build up our inner strength, separate fear from reality, be hopeful while caring for the needs of others, we will be starting a contemplative programme oriented to the particular needs of this challenging time- and be aware of the bigger picture and the link between this crisis and the other crises of our time.
We begin with a series of Inter-Contemplative Dialogues starting on Saturday March 21st with Alan Wallace, Eva Natanya and myself. The dialogues will take place from 15.00 to 17.00 (France), 08.00 to 10.00 (Mountain Time US) on the following days.
Register here for the first event with Alan Wallace, Eva Natanya and myself.
You can view all other events dates and registration links and the link to the live webcast from this page here.
We also plan to have online a regular evening meditation live from Bonnevaux. More information on this will be released soon. Keep an eye on the WCCM homepage in the coming days.
Finally, we put together a series of resources which we hope can help strengthen our contemplative resilience. You can learn more on the WCCM - A Contemplative Path Through The Crisis page.
Laurence Freeman OSB
Supporting our meditation community through challenging times (Julie Roberts - 17 March 2020)
Across the country we are all making decisions following the stream of announcements about COVID-19. Our policy is to follow the government guidelines and many of you will already have taken the decision to suspend group meetings.
As a meditation community we know that everyone will want to support one another during difficult times in whatever ways they can. Having spent the last few days with Fr Laurence as he travelled around the South West I noticed how keen he was to acknowledge not only the challenges presented by COVID-19 but also the opportunities. He particularly mentioned that in Italy they had noticed everyone slowing down.
When I mentioned this to my neighbour yesterday she said she was thinking about doing some long overdue decluttering and attending to her kitchen cupboards. As meditators we might want to think about our spiritual health. You may well have some books that you will get around to reading. However, we wanted to bring your attention to the resources which you may never have had cause to look at previously, but in the coming weeks might like to check out.
- possibly join an online group. See the UK website under 'how to meditate’ www.christianmeditation.org.uk or go to www.onlinemeditationwccm.org (see note below)
- you might like to start an online course or use the resources on the School of Meditation website www.theschoolofmeditation.org
- keep an eye on the international websites as there may well be new initiatives announced www.wccm.org and www.bonnevauxwccm.org
- if you like social media there are facebook and twitter pages to check out too.
Some members of our community, particularly those who don’t have access to the internet could feel very isolated and they might appreciate a regular phone call. If you can identify those people you may be able to set up a contact rota to help people feel connected.
Meanwhile if you have any other ideas of how we can all help each other, or particular ways you can help, please let a member of the UK Action Group know.
Love and blessings
School of Meditation Co-ordinator
WCCM in the UK
On behalf of the Action Group
Information about online meditation
It is easy to join one of the groups, go to www.onlinemeditationwccm.org where all the groups are listed.
In the UK online meditation groups are held twice a day at 7.30 am and 6pm and on Tuesdays an extra group is held at 8pm.
These groups follow the same format as the physical groups - opening prayer, reading from John Main, 25-30 mins silent meditation and a short 2nd reading.
Once you find the group you would like to join and click Join Group, You will be asked for your email address. This will be forwarded to the group leader who will then be in contact and give you the link to join the group.
During the current situation online groups will be operating as normal and are an excellent way to support your practice and maintain contact with fellow meditators.
If you experience any difficulty or would like further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org