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Interfaith Meditation Gatherings: Leading a Meditation

Dear Meditation Leader:

We are delighted that you will be leading an authentic meditation from the religious tradition of your affiliation. The intention of this letter is to awaken some possibilities as you reflect on the particular meditation that most calls deeply to you to offer the interfaith gathering.

While allowing your meditation to be accessible to people of other faiths, we encourage you to bring forward the depth and richness of your religious tradition, because, as you know, the depth of truth is compelling, inspiring, and transforming.

The following is intended as one possible outline for the twenty-five minute meditation from your faith.

  1. A few words of context about meditation within your faith (1 min.)
  2. A few words of context about the specific meditation you will lead (1 min.)
  3. Clarifying any language within the specific meditation (30 sec.)
  4. Attending to a comfortable meditation posture (30 min.)
  5. Offering specific meditation directions (5-10 minutes)
  6. Silent meditation (15 minutes)

What is essential is for participants to be meditating within your faith, rather than listening to a talk about meditation. Also central to this interfaith meditation program is allowing for fifteen minutes of silence, so participants may explore for themselves a meditation of your religious tradition. Some presenters reserve the final fifteen minutes of the twenty-five minute meditation period for this shared silence, punctuated every so often with “reminders” (as the mind has a tendency to wander). Others intersperse the fifteen minutes of silence throughout the twenty-five minute meditation period.

In this spirit, we discourage guiding a meditation for the majority of the twenty-five minutes, and the repetition aloud of prayer/chant for more than a minute, instead encouraging participants to explore the meditation for themselves in silence. Some presenters have invited participants to join in singing a brief song before the meditation, and this can be a welcome experience before meditating.

At the beginning of the program, I offer a ten minute introduction, speaking about the practice of meditation in general and sampling meditations from two faiths during a single program.

In keeping with the program schedule, we will need to adhere to a maximum of twenty-five minutes per tradition, and you may wish to select a meditation of less than twenty-five minutes to welcome the spontaneous, serendipitous, and miraculous.

Above all, we are grateful for your upcoming presence — and for illuminating the depth of your tradition, and your inner path, to the Divine.

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"I've co-led two interfaith meditation events, each time with Jewish and Muslim faith leaders...I connected with the devotion of my colleagues, and the language of their meditations became a portal for me to a place beyond words.” Reverend Randy Lord-Wilkinson, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Maryland; IMI meditation co-leader