The CEC is grassroots meditation group that meets weekly in Toronto, with a mission to make meditation and personal growth practices fun and relevant and accessible to all. As part of this mission, they've turned their experience into a wise, irreverent, and thorough guidebook for others looking to create contemplative communities of their own. We highly recommend their guide to anyone forming or running a meetup, and particularly to those who want to try their hand at guiding meditations or spice up their meetups with a range of creative activities that can open up new aspects of exploration.
IMCW's Spiritual Friends groups are one of the biggest inspirations for Mindful Meetups. The SF groups consist of 6-12 meditators who agree to meet together for a minimum of six months; often the groups last years. This format enables deep levels of intimacy, commitment, and trust that can help foster growth. Unlike our meetups, however, the SF groups are not open to new members or occasional drop-ins. You can read their guide to learn more about the approach. If you're interested in creating a group like this, you can note that in your meetup description in the registration form and then contact us when you decide the group is full so we can update your registration accordingly.
IMCW's Mindful Dialogue Process guide is also worth reading regardless of what kind of group you're creating. We recommend explaining these guidelines or others that you develop collaboratively to new members to ensure that your Mindful Communication time is as nourishing as possible.
There are more recorded meditations available now than any person can listen to in a lifetime, and there's a good chance you already have some that you know and love, which you are welcome to play at your Mindful Meetups.
If you are looking for a set of recordings in the style of the popular 8-week mindfulness classes, we recommend Mindfulness Northwest's recordings, which you can find on their website or on Insight Timer (instructions here). They also have written introductions to many of the practices under the "Practice" menu tab.
Paired Meditation Instructions
In paired meditation, person A reads a prompt to person B, and then witnesses with full presence, acceptance, compassion, and non-reactivity as person B senses inside and notes aloud if a thought, feeling, image, or sensation is evoked by the prompt. After noting aloud, person B returns to silence, senses inside again, and then again notes aloud whatever is being evoked by the prompt. After five minutes, a bell rings, both quiet for a few seconds, and then switch roles. We recommend giving each person 2-4 opportunities to speak, for a total of about 20-40 minutes of paired meditation. Insight Timer is an excellent app to manage the timing - you can set it to a 40 minute meditation with 7 interval bells (or 30 minute meditation with 5 interval bells, etc.). Groups can opt to use the basic prompt "What is new arising in you now in this space?" or other preferred prompts. Watch the short videos below to learn more about paired meditation (also called dyad meditation).