Meditation FAQs

What is meditation?
Insight meditation is a simple technique that’s been practiced around the world for more than 2,500 years. It’s called Vipassana meditation, and it begins by focusing on the breath in order to calm the mind.

I can’t meditate because I can’t turn off my thoughts and have trouble concentrating. Should I try anyway?
Yes. Noticing or being distracted by rambling thoughts is common among meditators. Meditation can actually be beneficial in developing concentration and calming one’s own “monkey mind.”

Do I have to be a member or make an appointment to attend a meeting?
No need to be a member or make an appointment. It is helpful, but not required, if you are planning to attend to let us know on our Meetup site. Meetings are open to all.

What happens at Present Moment Sangha sittings?
Most sittings include a period of group meditation followed by readings, recorded talks and sharing by attendees. Many meetings offer instruction for beginners in how to meditate. The evening begins with a short, optional check-in by attendees. This is followed by a 20 minute sitting meditation, a 15 minutes walking meditation and another 15 to 20 minute sitting meditation. We then offer a short live or recorded Dharma teaching, followed by a group sharing/response. We end with a group recitation of Ghandi’s peace prayer.

Are there meditation apps or courses that supplement my practice?
Yes. There are a wealth of resources available to support your practice outside of attending our meditation meetings. We frequently share ongoing opportunities to participate in full-day mindfulness retreats, as well as multiday or longer-term retreats.

Can’t I just meditate alone? Why join a group?
Individual and group meditation are both beneficial and encouraged. Participants in our sangha are encouraged to have both an individual and a group meditation practice. The group or sangha provides a forum for group meditation, discussion and support in the cultivation of one’s own meditation practice.

Do I need to bring my own meditation cushion? Will any be provided?
If you prefer to use a cushion to sit on the floor, you will need to bring your own.

I can’t sit in the lotus position. Can I still meditate?
There is no prescribed sitting posture other than to be able to be relaxed yet upright. Some people enjoy sitting on the floor on a cushion or on a meditation bench, while others prefer sitting in a chair. We have chairs available for sitting.

I’ve never meditated before. Will I learn how to meditate by coming to the Present Moment Sangha meditation group?
Meditators of all experience levels are welcome. The group leader will be happy to offer guidance on how to get started. Each meditation session often begins with some basic meditation instruction as well. Meeting attendees also share techniques that have worked well for them in their own practice.

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