Fortunately, we live in the age of instant communications. We use the Internet for everything from Facebook to Twitter. We tell our friends what books we are reading, what movies we are watching, even what we are having for dinner. Perhaps we can use this same technology for a more spiritual purpose.
I have investigated a number of technologies for creating what I am calling Virtual Meditation Groups. These are groups that meet at regular times with regular members, but meet virtually instead of physically.
In this blog, I will describe what I have learned of the process of setting up a Virtual Meditation Group.
I have looked at a number of technologies including GoToMeeting, MeetingBurner, and others. Google Hangouts looks the most promising to me. Google Hangouts has the following advantages:
- It is widely available, with versions available for most browsers and smart phones.
- It is free.
- It is easy to use.
- It allows each member of the meditation group to see each of the other members of the group.
- It is limited to nine participants at any one time.
- It is not intuitively obvious how to set up.
I will use the following terms:
- Leader: The leader of the meditation group. There can be multiple leaders.
- Member: A member of the meditation group but not a leader.
- Participant: Either a leader or a member.
- Virtual Meditation Group: A specific Virtual Meditation Group led by one or more leaders and including one or more participants.
Step 1: Finding a Group
- Theological Affiliation (if any). For example, my Virtual Meditation Group will have a Christian grounding.
- Group Affiliation (if any). For example, I am an Oblate in the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), so my Virtual Meditation Group will follow the practices outlined by WCCM.
- Meeting Day and Time. Most Meditation Groups meet on a weekly basis at a regular time, and I expect most Virtual Meditation Groups to do the same. Note that the meeting time and date needs to specify a time zone since Virtual Meditation Groups can include members from around the world.
- Membership Requirements. Some Virtual Meditation Groups may choose to restrict membership. For example, some may limit membership to those willing to commit to regular attendance.
- Leader Email. You will need the Leader's email to ask to join the group.
Step 2: Setting up Google Hangouts (All Participants)
Step 3: Finding out about the Virtual Meditation Group (Member)
Step 4: Joining a Virtual Meditation Group (Member)
Step 5: Adding a Member to a Virtual Meditation Group (Leader)
Step 6: Starting a Meditation Group Session (Leader)
Step 7: Joining a Meditation Group Session (Member)
Step 8: Participating in a Meditation Session.
How Did I Do?
Photo by teamaskins.