Some people might be surprised to hear that Effingham, IL has its own thriving meditation and spiritual discussion group. It didn’t happen overnight (although it feels that way to those of us who have been a part of it from the beginning). It began when a friend of mine requested that I lead a meditation in her basement. Our intent was to offer a sort of “beginner’s class” to some of her close friends. She trusted my experience and leadership abilities, I was empowered by her faith in me, and so it began!
Now, only 6 months later we have an online following nearing 100 and anywhere from 10-20 practitioners who meet weekly for an hour. During that time we practice sitting meditation followed by spiritual discussion. We meet in various locations: my friend’s basement, Helen Matthes Library, The Zone (a gym downtown where I teach yoga and practice Reiki) and most recently a local park. We are not an exclusive group, in fact we are quite the opposite. We welcome people of all backgrounds to join us!
Coordinating and facilitating this group is a passion project of mine. To share a bit of my background, I spent 2 years in the Teach for America program teaching elementary special education in Baton Rouge, LA. I had a very difficult time my first year and ended up drinking heavily and feeling depressed and anxious most of the time. Then, I found an English speaking Sangha at a Buddhist temple and things finally turned around for me. Simply sitting in silence for 30 minutes a week seemed to improve my mood and anxiety. That is when I began practicing more regularly and it eventually lead me Yoga and Reiki. In essence, meditation changed my life. I still struggle with anxiety, but I feel I now have what I refer to as a “spiritual toolbox” that helps me handle my stress in a healthy way.
Each week at Meditation Group I share some of my toolbox and encourage others to share what works for them. I always feel like I learn something new from my fellow practitioners. I also get a sense that what we are doing is not only helping those who attend, but creating a ripple effect of peace, mindfulness and love throughout our community.
I invite anyone who has ever been interested in meditation to join us. You don’t need to have any prior experience, just an open mind and willing heart. For information join our group on Facebook by following this link.
Peace and Namaste,
Practitioner & Teacher