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Local Groups: Silent or Discussion

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:10 pm
by JohnJ

Does anyone have any experience to share with local group meetings in either the recommended silent format or in a discussion format.

As one who's been the organizer of a few peer social/support groups in the gay community, I'm aware of how quickly the big egos can take over when a group of people get together.

I have found that I've been able to talk about TPON in a limited way in a small therapy group for gay men which I attend, but I worry about bringing in too much spiritual stuff in that setting.

Maybe the silent format is the best and then maybe you can grab coffee afterwards for a little friendly discussion. Now it's sounding a bit like an AA meeting :wink:

Any input would be helpful.

Also, I live near Boston. Is anyone aware of anything going on around here?


-- John

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:32 pm
by heidi
Hi John - I just did a little search and
UMass Boston does The Power of Now Brown Bag Luncheon - Discussion Series Fridays 12:00 - 1:00 with Maggie Cahill ... vices.html

and this woman does a silent group in Newton (found this at the tolle site)
Nancy Lopin (617) 964-6249 Newton Massachusetts United States


Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:43 pm
by JohnJ
Thanks Heidi,

I work just a couple subway stops away from Umass Boston. I'm sure I can arrange to do a long lunch break and get over there one of these weeks. I'll check it out.

I was aware of the search tool on Eckhart's site and I have sent an email to Nancy. I'm wondering if folks on this list have any experience with the "silent" format and consider this a useful way to practice. I understand that it's probably a different experience for different folks, but just looking for people's experience.

-- John

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:50 pm
by summer
Hi John,
I was in a group for a little over a year. The over all theme was quiet, but not total silence.
As everyone arrived there would be some casual talking. And then the meeting would begin, with us all closing our eyes and being still for about 15 mins.
Then we would listen to one of Eckhart's tapes for about half an hour.

The energy was very special, and although none of us were speaking, there was definately a lot being shared.

Usually someone would speak about something related to the tape, and we would talk for a while. And then come back into silence for about 5 mins, before the meeting ended.

These were very special sharings, and I would have to say that something was often lost, when people would start speaking about their lives and their problems. But then, we are social beings, and total silence would not satisfy a desire to share with others who may be on a similar journey to us.

I hope this helps a little.

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:41 pm
by JohnJ
Thank you summer,

I get your point about it being hard to maintain total silence. Sounds like you got to a nice balance. I'm recalling what Eckhart wrote about it being important to have at least one person who is firmly established in presence, or the meeting can become about egos colliding.

I'm able to achieve a pretty stable state of presence when alone or when an Eckhart audio/video is playing. I'm also maybe a bit spoiled by having enjoyed satsang with some great teachers. I can see where it might, however, be a little challenge for me to let go and allow a group meeting to do whatever it does.

-- John

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:15 pm
by AndyD
I've been attending a group for nearly a year. The basic format is that as people come in, some will have a casual chat others will say hello then sit quietly. This is followed by 10 mins meditation, about an hour of video then 20 mins of meditation. At the end some people will chat (but very rarely about what they have just seen), some will sit quietly, while others will leave quietly.

When I first started the group I would be one of the casual chatters-now I'm one of the quiet ones as I do observe the ego involvement (of others and myself) when engaged in chatter. Of course there are varying levels of ego involvement -some people engage full on gossip mode while others talk with incredable presence. Strangely (or maybe not) there are some sessions where the presence feels incredably strong and at the end of the second meditation not one person moves or says a thing for several minutes before getting up and leaving quietly.

The person in the group that I believe is the most present is also my Alexander Technique instructor so we spend about an hour before my session discussing Tolle type teachings in relation to what is happening in my life. This is done with a great deal of presence (whenever possible and if its not then we accept that :wink: ) and has been incredably beneficial. I'm not sure this would work as part of the group meeting though as you need some strong presence as in that I mentioned in the last paragraph.