Loneliness is a byproduct of the pandemic. Gone are the days where we can meet friends and talk to the cashier. We start to miss this simple form of human connection we often took for granted.
A yoga class or a meditation session would be a perfect tool to help us release tensions, but too bad many of them are closed at present. Of course, we can do yoga or meditation at our own home, by ourselves. And it feels convenient as it gives us more freedom.
In a lockdown, however, it may be best to combine our need of socialization with our need of self-care. This way, we get the support we need. It is easier to commit doing something when we’re in the presence of people who are doing the same thing. Relating to a group of people who are committed to self-care reminds us to take care of ourselves.
Thankfully, many meditation centers run their classes online. Most of them are free. It may not be the same as visiting a physical location, but it’s a good substitute. An online meditation group can be a good motivator that will keep us practicing, which in turn, will help us stay calm during this difficult time. Another advantage of attending online classes is there’s no need to travel elsewhere, so we can save money. Online classes are also perfect for those with limited mobility and those who are sick.
Here are some meditation centers you can find on the net.
Plumline offers various kinds of support groups: Just Sitting (for guided meditation); Sit, Learn, and Share (meditation and teaching); and Special Interests (specific teaching and practices, for specific groups). The Plumline carries out the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. The directory lists many sanghas, from Canada to India. Dates and contact emails are available on the site so you don’t miss a meeting. You can even start up your own online sangha after joining some meetings.
Mindful Leader has a program called “Meditate Together” which offers a 24/7 free online meditation class. It is supported by more than 100 volunteers from around the world. You can join for free, but you must be committed to take at least one session per week. It is tough to miss a chance of having a session out of an 24/7 offer. So this is a great thing.
Treeleaf Zendo offers an online practice to those who cannot commute to a Zen center. It’s open for everyone of any backgrounds. They focus on Shikantaza zazen, as instructed by Eihei Dogen, a 13th century Zen master. Jundo Cohen founded Treeleaf in 2006. It has attracted people from 40 countries since.
One Mind Sangha
This organization has a Monday meditation class that’s open to everyone, including those with no meditation experience. There will be a 20 minute meditation, followed by a short talk, and a discussion. The classes are led by experienced teachers and a supportive community. Register to join one of their classes.
This meditation center prides themselves on supporting social issues, such as feminism and racial equality. There’s a regular class set up specifically for POCs. Another one was for those following Buddhist teachings. Head to their Calendar and click on one of the set dates. No registration is necessary.
It is important to take care of our well-being during this pandemic. Meditation helps release anxiety and helps us build an inner strength. A meditation group reminds us that we’re not alone; we’re in this together.