I remember one man who asked if he might come to our meditation group in London. We were all seated in a circle, our eyes closed when, half way through the meditation, we heard him get up, leave the room and walk along the passage. He then came back noisily into the room and said quite loudly that he didn’t know how to open the front door. At this point I got up and quietly led him to the front door, opened it, let him out, then returned to finish the meditation. He was a gentle soul but clearly he found the silence disturbing.
Another friend, suffering from a painful bereavement and weeping constantly, was invited to join our group. I said, ‘You don’t have to say a mantra or even follow the breath; simply immerse yourself in the silence’. There was a very powerful silence that evening. During it she fell into a deep and healing sleep, and awoke refreshed and comforted.
Some meditation groups insist on everyone following the same formula, rather like joining an institution where you have a set of rules and regulations. In our group each individual follows their own form of meditating. Each of us is on our own journey and we follow the route that seems right for us. Just learning to bask in silence is for many a blessing in itself.