Group Meditation for the Heartspace

Sharing a mindful exercise with others can be very rewarding! Read more and learn how to connect without words using a new group meditation.
By Leah Hearst, OTR/L
June 21, 2018(Updated: April 5, 2021)

Most of the time our meditation is done in solitude, which is helpful to slow our mind down and focus on less. It also enables us to clear out racing thoughts and allow each moment to pass with a self-awareness. Meditation is one of my personal favorite ways to be alone, because I can come out of the meditation with deeper reflections of myself. I can see my spirit and who I am on a more vulnerable level. Thus we don’t often practice group meditation.

That said, let’s try learning something new- a group meditation. Sharing a mindful exercise with others can be very rewarding! As a society, we are evolving to understand how connected we all are to each other, not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Connect Without Words using Group Meditation

Here’s a short group meditation that will leave you feeling connected to others:

  1. Begin by putting your right hand on your heart. Breathe in for four seconds and out for six seconds. Notice your chest rise and fall, and allow your right shoulder to drop and hang while the elbow gently bends. In other words, truly relax as many muscles as possible.
  2. Form a circle with each person putting their left hand on the upper back of someone else. This is the space between the shoulder blades, what could be considered the back of the heart. This will form a circle of people each with a left hand on the back on the person in front of them.
  3. Begin the mindful deep breathing in Step 1 again. Now when you inhale, visualize vitality and love coming into your heart from your breath. And when you exhale, push that vitality and love through your left hand into the heartspace of the person in front of you. Breathe love into you, and breathe it out to the next person’s heart. Shift your focus towards the hand on your back, and visualize vitality being passed around the circle.

Put Your Mind Into Breathing

Five minutes of silence doing this can be a great way to see people with a more powerful and nonverbal understanding. I’ve had great success with this in corporate wellness seminars or with groups of friends. Let’s jive with a connection to others! As you’ll read next, the results can be amazing.

Group Meditation Reduces Crime

The West seems to be experiencing a spiritual awakening, and a leveling up of consciousness, thanks to a re-energized awareness around psychedelics and meditation for example. Meditation has often been studied over the decades, which is ironic given that it’s been practiced for thousands of years.

A group study done by John S. Hagelin, Maxwell V. Rainforth, et. al. published in Social Indicators Research found that if Washington D.C. hosted a permanent, transcendental, group meditation, the practice would reduce violent crimes by 48% [1]. Some American cities are revisiting the benefits of group meditation.

Chicago, Illinois has introduced the controversial program “Quiet Time” into its public schools. The program enlists the entire student body to be quiet, and practice transcendental meditation for 20 minutes daily. The Chicago Tribune wrote this article about the program.

According to the Chicago Tribune “students trained in transcendental meditation have violent crime arrest rates about 65% to 70% lower than their peers and have reduced blood pressure.”

With tangible benefits like this, shouldn’t we all be using our minds to influence our reality a bit more? Happy (group) meditating!

  1. Hagelin, J. S., Rainforth, M. V., Cavanaugh, K. L., Alexander, C. N., Shatkin, S. F., Davies, J. L., … & Orme-Johnson, D. W. (1999). Effects of group practice of the transcendental meditation program on preventing violent crime in Washington, DC: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June–July 1993. Social Indicators Research47(2), 153-201.
  2. Leone, H. (2019, July 26) What’s wrong with a Chicago public high school teaching transcendental meditation? Plenty, critics claim. Chicago Tribune. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-high-school-quiet-time-meditation-david-lynch-bogan-20190725-72so6zr2gvganb2c54k4eq24zm-story.html

Published by:
Leah Hearst, OTR/L
My name is Leah Hearst, and I am an Occupational Therapist, Vinyasa Yoga Instructor, TRX Personal Trainer, and facilitator for “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction”. I am the founder of “The Wolf of Wellness” and provides concierge therapy and wellness services in San Francisco. Get more great tips and practices on my website.

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