EWL-3 Getting your group functioning smoothly

1. For your regular meetings, you’ll want a location free of distraction.

  • A private home?
  • TCFM’s “New Classroom,”
    or one of the classrooms in the old building,
    or the Grotto?

2. Your group needs to decide on what format your meetings will have.

In Britain, Lois interviewed Bronwen, who had been part of an EWL group that has met monthly for 10 years. She described that group’s format.
The group begins by doing a check-in (5 minutes each) sharing what has happened in their lives since they met last.
They follow the steps on the recorded meditation which take about ½ hour.
They each separate (go into different rooms or the garden) and reflect for about 20 minutes on what has occurred for them during the previous half hour.
They regather and share for 5 minutes each what has emerged for them, or they can choose to pass.  The process takes about two hours.
They have tea together after the meeting.

Bronwen said the following expectations & understandings keep the group purpose clear and distinguish it from a therapy or support group.

Expectations/Understandings:

  • There needs to be a selection process for group membership
  • People are encouraged to try 4-6 meetings before deciding whether they want to continue
  • When people have made a commitment, the group is closed.  If someone leaves, the group decides whether to replace that person.
  • After the session, people should plan the next session
  • Groups of 5-7 people are optimal (otherwise the meeting would take too long)
  • Group members do not question or comment what others have said; they can ask for clarification if they don’t understand what has been said
  • Personal boundaries need to be clear
  • People should not expect revelations – sometimes ideas, images might emerge days after the session (not every understanding is in the form of words)
  • Rex Ambler focuses on concerns “What are your concerns?”  However, in Bronwen’s group they focus on whatever emerges as important, significant – could be joyous
  • No one is in the lead
  • The Light shows you what to understand and what to take action on; it will not show more than you can deal with

A group that is forming will benefit from discussing what format, expectations & understandings seems right for them. Which of these from Bronwen’s group do you want to adopt? Modify? What would your group add?

3. I think the biggest challenge may be getting a satisfactory set-up with the meditation prompts.

(I have some suggestions, but I don’t have a standard solution that will work for everybody.)

First Principle: It is good to have a recording.

(You can have a group member keep track of the time and read the prompts at the right intervals, but to focus on doing this means that person can’t really open themselves up to the meditation. At least most people can’t.)

Questions related to a recording.

  • Will you use a cassette tape?
  • Or some sort of recording that gets played on:
    A CD player?
    A computer?
    A MP3 music player?

The choices around a recording interact a little with the location you choose to meet in. If you meet in a home, it makes sense to rely on whatever sound system is available there. If you meet at the meetinghouse, you’ll need something portable you can bring.

Your group will need to decide on the length and wording of the meditation they want to use.

(See “technical notes about recordings,” below, if you want to hear more of my suggestions.)

For the EWL launch meetings I’m using a mp3 sound track recorded by Eric Ambler that lasts just under 20 minutes, which I bought from QuakerBooks.org.

On the Charlie Blackfield website there are free, down-loadable mp3 recordings that run from 30 minutes to 40 minutes long.


Technical notes about recordings

For people with cassette recorders,

probably the easiest thing is to make a recording in your voice, using one of the following sets of prompts.

Short Form of the EWL Meditation prompts based on Rex Ambler’s original
  1. Relax body and mind.  Start by making yourself perfectly comfortable and consciously release the tension in each part of your body.  Then relax your mind.  Let yourself become wholly receptive.
  2. In this receptive state of mind, let the real concerns of your life emerge.  Ask yourself, ‘What is really going on in my life?’ but do not try to answer the question.  Let the answer come.
  3. Now focus on one issue that presents itself.  Keep a little distance, so that you can see it clearly.  Let the light show you what is happening.  Ask yourself, ‘What is really going on here?’  Let the answer come.  It may be a phrase or an image that comes, showing you what’s happening.
  4. Now ask yourself, ‘Why is it like that?’  Don’t try to explain it.  Just wait in the light and let the answer come.
  5. When the answer comes, welcome it.  If it is the truth, you will recognize it immediately, even if it seems painful or difficult.  Trust the light.  Submit to it.  It will then begin to heal you.
  6. As you accept what is being revealed to you, you will begin to feel different.  Accepting the truth about yourself is like making peace.  Your body may respond quite noticeably to this change.  This is the beginning of changes that the light may bring about.  It can show you new possibilities for your life.
    (But if none of this happens on this occasion, do not worry.  Notice how far you have got this time and pick it up again another time.)
  7. When you feel ready, open your eyes, stretch and bring the process to an end.
Brief Experiment with Light Prompts
  1. Relax your body and mind.
  2. In this receptive state of mind, let the real concerns of your life emerge.
  3. Now focus on one issue that presents itself.  Ask yourself ‘What is really going on here?’  Let the answer come.
  4. Now ask yourself ‘Why is it like that?’
  5. When the answer comes, welcome it.
  6. As soon as you accept what is being revealed to you, you will begin to feel different.  It’s like making peace.
  7. When you feel ready, open your eyes, stretch your limbs, and bring the meditation to an end.

(There are other prompts for meditations printed in PDF format on the http://www.charlieblackfield.com/light/medits.htm website. You can choose one or modify one to your liking, and then record it in your own voice, tailoring the silences to the total length of time you want it to be. )

If you want to use a recording on a basic CD player, I have CDs available with a 19-minute recording

with prompts very similar to the “Brief…Prompts,” above. (Such a standard CD recording is called an “analog recording.”)

If you want to play a recording on a Computer, or similar digital device that plays “mp3s”,

I have digital CDs available with the 19-minute recording on them. These disks also have recordings focused on groups of people and on the world, and several audio lectures by Rex. These are copies of a package sold by QuakerBooks.org (above), and we would want to reimburse them $12 for any copy I distribute.

What I NOW know about digital recordings

I have recently learned that there is a difference between regular music (and other audio) Compact Disks that have been around for years and some newer recordings called “MP3” which may be recorded on the same kind of silver disk, but need a newer kind of CD player. Only the newer CD players are able to play the CDs that have MP3s burned onto them, in addition to the “regular audio (analog) CDs”. If a CD player can play MP3s, it will likely say so somewhere on the player. If your CD player doesn’t say that, it probably won’t play any of the MP3 EWL meditations mentioned above.

4 Responses to EWL-3 Getting your group functioning smoothly

  1. Jill Pennie February 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    What is EWL? Is it a study group, a worship sharing group, book group, or a social group like the circle 8’s were or….?

    Just wondering….

  2. James Riemermann February 28, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Jill,

    EWL is an acronym Richard is using for Experiments with Light, more detail in the first article in the series here.

    Richard, fyi, with a computer with a CD burner it is not hard to turn MP3 files into a standard audio CD playable on any player. Let me know if you would like to know more about this.

    james

  3. Richard Fuller March 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Thanks, James, your advice about making “regular” audio CDs was very helpful.
    Richard

  4. lois Kreider July 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    I am on vacation at the present time and hope to be back for the July 18 meeting but may not. Still interested.

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