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Guide: Other People

A Guide to Meditating with, in, or around Other People (in Pairs, Large Groups, and in Public)

"Meditating with, in, or around Other People" can mean that you are meditating: 

(1) in a pair or small group

(2) in a large group

(3) in public

(4) on or inside another person

For a definition of each of these four meanings, see "Others, Meditating with/in."

 This Guide discusses how you can successfully work with each of these four types of meditation with,  around, or in others.

Many of you may have started alone or in meditation classes, and many of you tend to be introverts. If this is you, then you may want to try one or more of these “social” meditations. As you move into a middle stage (see) or end stage (see) of meditation, learning social meditation will become increasingly helpful in your progress.

If you are an extrovert, you already may be engaged in some kind of social meditation, even if you might not define it as such. Check below to see what you are doing, and what more you can do to be a "social meditator."


Simple Pairing: The first, being close to each other while conducting your own, separate meditations, is the simplest type of paired or very small-group meditation. It means, simply, that each of you meditates as you normally would as a separate person if you were alone. It is similar to two people sitting together in a room, each of whom is reading a book, or two people near each other while doing two different exercise regimes.

What is the advantage? You may simply like to be more social, or simply want to share your space with someone else while you meditate. In addition, the needed physical and mental attitudes of good breathing, practical posture, and calm inner attention can be stronger when shared.

Separate Meditations of Same Type: A stronger form of paired or small-group meditation happens when you share the same meditation, but each of you keeps your focus within yourself. Often (though not always) you sit across from each other or relatively close together.

Examples of this are paired or small groups of people using the same object of focus such as awareness of awareness (see), a mantra (see), a force or being, or a prayer (see), for the same goal. If you are working with someone close to you, you may decide, together, on what you will focus.

Meditating upon or within Each Other: This is a much more intimate type of meditation. Ethically–whether you are working with one person or several–you should have permission from each to be in each other’s sphere (see) or space.

This ethical prohibition extends to meditating or concentrating on someone at a distance. In some way or form you should have that person’s permission to enter his or her space. (See “Public Meditation”).

However, with permission given, paired meditations in each other’s space can be very useful. They also are normal in many people’s live: examples in marriage, close friendships, and positive sex (see).

You can conduct such meditation in several ways. To begin, your physical position usually is close to each other. Though it is not required, you may want to be just a few inches from each other. This increases the intermixing of your physical energy fields.

Some meditators touch each other while sitting, lying, or standing, with or without the use of their hands. Some like staring into each other’s eyes; others prefer to keep their eyes closed. Each pair or small group should agree beforehand on the type of touching and eye contact that is used: this is not for particular moral concerns but rather, simply, for choosing what is helpful and what might distract.

Most often, the focal point of the meditation is the same, a point decided upon together. For example, both of you might decide to focus on a point in common between the two of you, such as between your hearts or your heads. Or you might choose one of your hearts, your “third-eye” energy centers, your above-the-head energy centers, or another center (see “Energy Centers”). You also might choose to concentrate, together, in a healing, calming, or relaxation meditation (see each) in one of your bodies or on a specific point of pain (see) or pleasure (see).

You also may engage, if you both agree, in meditation involving deeply rooted emotional feelings, physical feelings that relax and that some might interpret as sensual, or some form of physical sex (see). All such paired meditations can be very powerful, but also have the potential to be highly distracting. For these reasons, all such paired meditations require that both people trust each other, and that they both accept the type and consequences of the meditation.

Distance Meditation: All of these paired or small-group meditations can be done at a distance. You may use voice, visual, or voice-and-visual contact to start and conclude such meditations. It also is possible, instead, to decide beforehand on a time and type of meditation, and then to do it at the agreed upon time. If focusing on each other is part of this, you should, as above, seek or give permission.

Working with a Leader or Master: If you are working with a master meditator (see) or a leader (see) of a small meditation group, then much of what is above may apply to you. You generally should follow the master or leader’s guidance, but to the extent that the meditation is individual, you may allow for variations. However, you should be comfortable with the master or leader’s guidance. Using masters and leaders is like looking for the right doctor, restaurant, or partner: find what works for you, and seek variety, if you like.

Paired Flowing: You may want to try one more type of meditation that is different from the above. This is because it does not involve a fixed focus on one chosen point or method. Instead, it involves a general physical area of focus: for example, the area around both of your heads, above them, or in your hearts. Both of you simply let your awareness flow from thought to feeling to impression, as they occur, within the limits of what you have decided upon. This, too, may be an intimate experience, and usually you will want to talk about it with each other afterward to learn more about what you experienced.

Dangers: Do not be less cautious about focusing on another person’s body than you are your own. In other words, focusing (without a master) on lower energy centers (see) can lead to disturbances in yourself or the other person just as much so in paired meditation as in meditating alone.


Here are several types of general large-group meditation systems. You can practice each by joining in the group intention or goal. Or you can participate in some group meditations by using your own, individually chosen meditation.

1. Meditation on a Leader or Spiritual Being: You may, perhaps without realizing it, be meditating on others. This kind of group meditation may happen to you if you participate in a religious or spiritual event in which you are concentrating on a group leader. You also can concentrate on each other as part of a group meditation. In addition, many spiritual leaders would point out that concentrating at the same time on a spiritual being  or praying to one is another form of group meditation. Examples might include an angel, a saint, a spiritual founder, or some other spiritual being.

2. Group Art Meditations: You may also find yourself in the midst of secular or “non-spiritual” group meditations. They do occur naturally in many contexts. You may attend a sublime, beautiful, and powerful artistic event that deeply moves others there with you. Because it is so good (see “Art”), it can be called a meditative experience. Examples include plays, musical performances, stage and dance performances, art shows, and other fine arts events. The same can happen in activities in which everyone is active, such as dancing to a band or playing in a large or small musical group.

3. Group Nature Meditations: And it also can happen when you are in a pair or a group that, together, experiences the great beauty of nature. Pagan (see), Wiccan (see), and ancient mystery religions create such experiences in groups in the natural world.

4. Group Intellectual Meditations: In addition, you can find group meditation in special intellectual events where awe, beauty, peace, or power are particularly strong for the audience. Examples include poetry or other readings, along with especially powerful intellectual speeches. Even intellectual classes can be meditative when they ask you to slowly, mindfully concentrate on a specific idea or chain of ideas in a mindful and meditative way.

5. Choosing Your Own Meditation in a Group: If you would like to participate in group meditation, simply try meditating in some way (see “Starting Stage”) during one of the above events. Often this can simply be your concentration on the very heart of what is supposed to be special, beautiful, spiritual, or powerful in the event.

PUBLIC MEDITATION (Meditation in Public)

Meditating in public is not only useful but, if you are a highly social person or you are in the middle- or end-stage (see) of meditation, a natural part of your life. If you are someone surrounded constantly by people and want to practice meditation, public meditation may be a necessity. Here are some guidelines:

Meditating Alone in Public: If you are in the general public, few people, if any, will care what is in or on your mind. You can use almost all meditations when you are standing, sitting, walking, or exercising in public.

Meditating While Talking with Others: With practice, you can gradually develop the ability to focus on a meditation point within you, or on your awareness itself, while talking with others. You may seem a little distracted, or perhaps a little intense, to others. But with practice you can learn to slip into meditation as you talk with others. You also can try different forms of meditation to see what works best in each type of social circumstance. Generally, once you find the right type of focus, you will tend to become more able to concentrate on what others are saying, and on what they mean.

Meditating on Others in Public: People learn to wear in public what they choose to be seen in. They also learn to act in public as they want to be understood. Within these limits, you may meditate on how others appear. However, be aware that not everyone is very good at appearing as they want to appear. Also be cautious to follow normal conventions in whom you look at, for how long, and in what way. Not everyone is inviting every look, even though it may seem so. In addition, if you are looking meditatively –as you examine and consider someone’s appearance –you may lose the normal glance that people often give each other, and instead be perceived as staring.

What happens if you want to go deeper than just surface looks in public? Generally it is inappropriate, unethical, and unfair to meditate on a point inside another person or beneath the surface of their clothes without that person’s permission.

You might choose to make an exception to this if the other person is unaware of your focus. However, if you do this, you should be aware that the single most common psychic experience (see) that people report is the feeling that someone is watching them. According to one study, over 70% of people report this experience. Such awareness by others of you looking at them may be particularly intensified if you are actually meditating on or in them. If others feel you concentrating on them, you are violating their personal space.

However, there are four exceptions to this ethical rule of thumb. They are as follows.

Meditating on Memories of Others: You have the ethical right and even, sometimes, the necessity of thinking about and feeling your memories of people and events. Meditating upon your memory of an event or person is even more powerful than simply thinking. To meditate on a memory, you simply focus on the event or person. You can focus on one appearance and then hold that focus. Or you can focus on the beginning of an event and then let it slowly move forward in your awareness, stopping it whenever you wish to get new ideas and feelings from that part of the event. (See “Memory Meditation.”)

Invited Concentration: In situations such as lectures, speeches, and other public appearances involving a leader, an actor or actress, or someone else presenting himself or herself to the public, there is an assumed permission for you to watch, listen to, and think about that person’s words and actions. In such cases, you may meditate upon the person and his or her words and actions. (See also “halo.”)

Broadcasted Thoughts and Feelings: Many individuals broadcast, or throw out from themselves, their thoughts, emotions, or feelings. If you enjoy meditating on what people are thinking or feeling, generally you only need to bring calm and quiet to your own mind and senses and wait to receive the thoughts and feelings around you (see “Psychic Abilities/Connections”). It also is possible, in higher states of meditation, to “read” the general tenor or feel of a large group of people or even of a particular minute, hour, or day by meditating on or above an entire large group or geographical area of people.

Meditation on a Middle Point: If you wish to meditate on a specific person or small group in public, then the space between you and that person or group is considered public space. You can, for example, simply focus on a point equidistant between you and above your heads, your hearts, your “third-eye” energy centers, or other energy centers (see “Energy Centers”).

Dangers: The dangers of meditating in, with, or on others in public are the same as those in working alone in meditation. If you meditate on others’ lower energy centers (see), lower emotions, physical pleasures, power, pain or body parts (see each of these), you can become caught in powerful negative forces yourself.



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Text © 2017-2020 by Richard Jewell

Images © 1994-2018 by Gabriel R. Jewell

First edition: 1 Sept. 2018. Second edition: 1 Sept. 2019. Free Use Policy

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