What is a ‘Sit-and-Share’ meeting?
‘Sit-and-Share’ peer led meetings are an opportunity for individuals to come together to practice and cultivate calmness of mind and body; and to develop and practice communication skills within a safe and supportive environment.
‘Sit-and-Share’ meetings are open to anyone wishing to live their life mindfully in harmony with the Five Universal Precepts.
Each ‘Sit-and-Share’ meeting is offered by a peer of the group. Ideally, each meeting is led by different peer of the group so that no one becomes ‘the expert’ or ‘the leader.
Each meeting opens with a preamble, read by the peer host that specifies the format of the meeting, including a statement on confidentiality and anonymity. Various formats can be adopted as suggested in the ‘Sit-and-Share’ Starter Pack available for download from www.5th-Precept.org; a common format being as follows:
10-minutes Serenity Breath Meditation
(To calm the breath, relax the body, and quiet the mind. This meditation simply encourages us to be aware of the in-breath, and to be aware of the out-breath; just being with and enjoying the breath. “for the next 10-minutes there is nowhere else to go, and no one special to be”. This period also allows for people arriving late)
10-minutes of Mindful Movement
(Some gentle exercises that help to bring individuals in touch with their body)
5-minutes of Contemplation of a Topic
(A suitable topic chosen by the meetings peer host to encourage self-enquiry and to further encourage the focusing on a single object of meditation, in this case the topic to be contemplated rather than the in and out breath. As one of the underlying imperatives of a ‘Sit-and-Share’ community is to promote ‘harmlessness’ this should be reflected in the choice of topic – see the examples in the ‘Sit-and-Share’ Starter Pack).
30 minutes of Sharing and/or Discussion
(An opportunity for individuals to voluntarily and optionally offer their personal reflections on the topic contemplated. There are no right or wrong answers. Views and opinions are simply views and opinions and not necessarily the truth).
The Closing Meditation
(The closing meditation can be of any length but it is suggested that it’s at least 10 minutes long and no longer than 30 minutes. It may be silent or guided as decided by the meeting’s peer host).
The meeting preamble and format can be changed to suit the group as appropriate but trying not to lose the desired outcomes of offering and partaking in such a meeting. Some potential outcomes are:
- To cultivate ‘harmlessness’ as individuals and within our communities
- To develop and practice ethically-focused mindful meditation; “to calm the breath, relax the body and quite the mind”
- To develop an accepting relationship to our body through mindful movement
- To develop concentration and contemplation skills; and non-judgemental self-reflection
- To develop talking and listening skills
- To cultivate group awareness and identity.
‘Sit-and- Share’ Meditation Meeting Resources
Suggested ‘Example Topics for Sit-and-Share’
Suggested ‘Refuge Recovery’ Guided Meditations
Suggested ‘Readings’ from the essays by Bhikkhu Bodhidhamma in particular – Encouragements Towards Awakening
(Encouragements Towards Awakening in PDF format 14MB)
A directory of international Buddhist Recovery Meetings can be found here..