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View Full Version : What do you prefer in spiritual groups?


Ciqala
08-03-2011, 11:04 PM
I have a calling to start a meditation/spiritual group, and open my house to my community, my first stepping stone to helping people and being of service - yet have no idea where to start :D I seriously feel better attending groups, but my spirit guides and destiny is calling me to start one, and honestly i don't know how.
In my community I have only attended a few other spiritual groups, taken note on what i do and do not like about how they are run.

First of all I disagree with asking money for spiritual growth and learning, so my spiritual events will be free, and I am sure people will respond well to that.

What I know of most people - the beginners - they are looking for structure, someone to tell them what to do. This is one thing i am wary of, because i have nothing to offer, i have little experience teaching, let alone i don't believe i am qualified or significant enough to tell people what to do. I certainly have no confidence, maybe way too humbled for my own good, and i would rather it be a setting where everyone is equal and can learn from each other. Does this put a damper in my plans? Because my vision, is to just open my place to likeminded individuals, and NOT be a leader, to have everyone equal, not have one specific guru preaching about how people are supposed to be spiritual, because i don't believe in there being ONE way, and I absolutely despise all of the spiritual groups i have been to, because that's all you find (some person preaching about how they do it getting all ego based, never allowing anyone else to talk), but instead i hope people would share their experiences, share what they want to learn, be an equal loving space for all to put in input, and i could offer what i know, what i have done to acheive certain spiritual endeavers, but as long as they know there are millions of other ways to do so, but certainly never would i want to teach something with them not agreeing with it, wanting it, or teaching false info or scattered or not all of the things that go along with it. I have millions of lovely simple, basic ideas, if they want, i could hold a native ceremony, because that is one thing i do know about, we could have a group about getting to know our spirit guides one day although i would probably cover many ways, not just one, and other things the other day, or experiment with different ideas to meditate and other things, but i am not all knowledgable, and i am certainly no teacher, so do you think a group that is less structured work out, and go with a flow? Or would it only be open to advanced individuals who can facilitate themselves... because the way i see it, is i want it to be open to all levels, and all beliefs.

I just predict opening the group, and having people stare at me, waiting for me to take control of it all, and me not being able to give them a set structure and it going terrible. But the one thing i do know about people from my little experience from holding workshops, is they LOVE being included, they love sharing their own experiences, and they love it just flowing without strict plans - at times, but i'm worried about those who need guided, strict methods, who need someone to tell them what to do - i don't feel like i can offer that.

And i know i want this group to be spiritual, just a place for spiritual beings to come together, and work on a whole arrangement of different spiritual things, not just one set thing, not just a meditation group, but everything, what they want to work on. Or should my angle on it be more structured?

Anyways, thought it would be helpful if i could get ideas on what everyone here enjoys in groups, and what they feel benefits them, and what they don't like about group atmospheres, thoughts, and ideas, and... trying to figure out how to make all of this come into a plan. I'm sure some of you have attended spiritual workshops and meditation groups at one time or another? Or perhaps some of you lead them? Some thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

pre-dawn
09-03-2011, 01:47 AM
Hi,

the first thing you need to do is to become clear what spiritual means for you. Does it include talking to dead people, sticking pins into little dolls, casting spells over symbols, etc? One cannot be everything for everyone.

Once the big picture is clear you need to think about the meetings and each meeting should have theme. Occasionally you might have an open, no theme meeting but that cannot be the normal working mode. You need to give people a reason to come to the meeting and the reason they come is because they are interested in what you offer.

You will be the leader, teacher, or whatever the people expect you to be. This role does not have to be interpreted and expressed in a classroom or lecture kind of way. The people who will attend do not know where to go with their thoughts and sharing, nor do they know what to do. You need to give direction otherwise the meetings will just fizzle out or will be taken over by someone else.

If you expect people to share more than just mundane and "I am so happy" things then it is imperative that you, as the leader are able to create a safe environment for sharing. It means setting ground rules, after all it is your home, your meeting. One of the rules will have to be confidentiality.
You need to be prepared for shocking things, e.g. one of the people revealing that they murdered their spouse, or that they are a pedophile, and you will have to manage your own emotions as well as the other people's reactions.

Just some of my thoughts for now. There may be a few more.

athribiristan
09-03-2011, 03:52 AM
I would suggest either selecting or agreeing on a topic to discuss at each meeting. This will provide a bit of structure without puting a huge amount of pressure on you. Take a little time to research the topic. Maybe a bible verse or a well kown book or philosopher. Come to the meeting with several good conversation starters; questions or observations that will encourage people to participate. Take note of who attends and what their interests are. Try to find ways to put the spiritual nature of the conversation into a context that is personal for them. Get to know people and find out what other types of meetings they might like to see. Perhaps a guided meditation, that is very simple and low pressure. You can find a lot of examples online and just rip off their script for your meeting.

Merlin6
09-03-2011, 03:53 AM
Hello Ciqala,
Teach what you know, and the best way to find out if you know your subject is to try to teach it to someone else.
Quite some years ago, I felt I was sufficiently versed in metaphysics to be able to teach a small group. The questions I encountered sometimes went way beyond my knowledge base, and I also made the mistake of not having a core body of knowledge on a set of chosen subjects which I could offer to the people I was trying to share with. I tried to cover everything instead of concentrating on an area of knowledge I was more comfortable with.
This forum has such a diverse body of subjects that I can pick and choose a subject in which I have confidence, and then take my time formulating comments which I hope will not only reinforce my own beliefs, but also be of help in sharing with others. If the people reading my comments get something out of them, then that really makes my day. The result was that I think I finished up learning more from them than they learned from me, and that was ok too.
I wish you all the best in your desire to share knowledge. After all, that's what we're all doing here.
Go for it !

Regards
Merlin6

Ciqala
09-03-2011, 06:43 PM
Hi,

the first thing you need to do is to become clear what spiritual means for you. Does it include talking to dead people, sticking pins into little dolls, casting spells over symbols, etc? One cannot be everything for everyone.

Once the big picture is clear you need to think about the meetings and each meeting should have theme. Occasionally you might have an open, no theme meeting but that cannot be the normal working mode. You need to give people a reason to come to the meeting and the reason they come is because they are interested in what you offer.

You will be the leader, teacher, or whatever the people expect you to be. This role does not have to be interpreted and expressed in a classroom or lecture kind of way. The people who will attend do not know where to go with their thoughts and sharing, nor do they know what to do. You need to give direction otherwise the meetings will just fizzle out or will be taken over by someone else.

If you expect people to share more than just mundane and "I am so happy" things then it is imperative that you, as the leader are able to create a safe environment for sharing. It means setting ground rules, after all it is your home, your meeting. One of the rules will have to be confidentiality.
You need to be prepared for shocking things, e.g. one of the people revealing that they murdered their spouse, or that they are a pedophile, and you will have to manage your own emotions as well as the other people's reactions.

Just some of my thoughts for now. There may be a few more.

Thank you, direction, structure and theme and safety/confidentiality. I have had experience fire tending for sweat lodges, where we cleanse and get to know each other beforehand to create a safe atmosphere, and healing circles, which is often where people admit to their shadows during praying healing rounds, and there is always the option for praying silently if they don't feel comfortable with everyone hearing, or knowing it's confidential and meant for the spirits to hear, so i could probably just use that context for all things, the one thing i am good at from experience is dealing with sick individuals and being able to hear anything, but i think it's good to make a spiritual group more positive and based on healing than focusing negatively on sicknesses. Another thought i had, was going to AA, and offering some of the spiritual people i know there a place to engage in spiritual growth and overcome their addictions, and i know a few women there that hold native spiritual women's groups, and in the past they had asked me if i would open my home to them, but i was not ready to. And then i often wonder about my own safety, how to set up ground rules, since it's being held in my house.

I would probably have to write down a lesson plan to stick to, and/or memorize it before hand, or even write up a whole plan of the intentions for the group in order to gain structure.

But as far as someone else taking control, i would enjoy for everyone to be the leaders, take turns in sharing. I often thought of, later down the road, allowing other people to take control of the group, maybe having some speakers, or someone knowledgable lead a workshop of their own, i don't see a problem with that, just as long as they understand it's not for money. Still sort of flying around with multiple ideas, and all these comments are very helpful!

Ciqala
09-03-2011, 06:52 PM
I would suggest either selecting or agreeing on a topic to discuss at each meeting. This will provide a bit of structure without puting a huge amount of pressure on you. Take a little time to research the topic. Maybe a bible verse or a well kown book or philosopher. Come to the meeting with several good conversation starters; questions or observations that will encourage people to participate. Take note of who attends and what their interests are. Try to find ways to put the spiritual nature of the conversation into a context that is personal for them. Get to know people and find out what other types of meetings they might like to see. Perhaps a guided meditation, that is very simple and low pressure. You can find a lot of examples online and just rip off their script for your meeting.

Great idea! Personally when i go to a group i don't enjoy all the talking, but i have noticed the majority of people are highly fond of spiritual discussions and it also creates a pleasant atmosphere, for people to begin to feel more open and get to know each other, and also gives them a chance to talk about their views, and people love that. Perhaps at each group, i will pick some interesting topics as you say before anything else i plan. I agree, most of my planning is going to come after i meet them and get an understanding towards what they want.

Ciqala
09-03-2011, 07:00 PM
Hello Ciqala,
Teach what you know, and the best way to find out if you know your subject is to try to teach it to someone else.
Quite some years ago, I felt I was sufficiently versed in metaphysics to be able to teach a small group. The questions I encountered sometimes went way beyond my knowledge base, and I also made the mistake of not having a core body of knowledge on a set of chosen subjects which I could offer to the people I was trying to share with. I tried to cover everything instead of concentrating on an area of knowledge I was more comfortable with.
This forum has such a diverse body of subjects that I can pick and choose a subject in which I have confidence, and then take my time formulating comments which I hope will not only reinforce my own beliefs, but also be of help in sharing with others. If the people reading my comments get something out of them, then that really makes my day. The result was that I think I finished up learning more from them than they learned from me, and that was ok too.
I wish you all the best in your desire to share knowledge. After all, that's what we're all doing here.
Go for it !

Regards
Merlin6

An amazing point, thank you, i will stick to what i know, though i run into a block when i try to define what i know in simple terms in order to explain what the group is, it's mainly native american culture but with different aspects of many different cultures - so i wonder if i should just stick to one thing, or allow the different branches... maybe just call it new age, i don't think there's a way to label what the teachings are i follow personally. No idea, but i'm sure i'll figure it out, once i really dig into what i can truly share with people.

Enya
09-03-2011, 08:35 PM
I've recently begun teaching again after a break of many years, so here's what little I know:

teach from the heart
teach what you know, but if someone asks a question you don't have an answer for, be honest and say so. tell them you'll try to find out for them or open it up for group discussion.
people need to be included, to feel valued. Discover the strengths and weaknesses of each member and suport them in their growth.
make it clear that each person is valid and opinions are welcomed, but don't allow people to 'drone on' about their favourite topic (usually 'me', lol). be aware that you will sometimes have to step in and divert or lead the subject onto solid ground.
You are there to hold the centre... always remain detached and watchful.
speak only truth - non-truth can be detected
everyone there is a teacher and student
start with the basics, no matter what level others may consider themselves to be at. Everyone always ends up back at the beginning...
have a tea/coffee break, to allow for relaxation. Usually best at the end, so you don't have to compete for their attention

Hope that helps... :)

Ciqala
10-03-2011, 07:43 AM
Thank you Enya, much appreciated! :) And many blessings on your path of teaching.

blackfellawhitefella
10-03-2011, 10:02 PM
I agree, most of my planning is going to come after i meet them and get an understanding towards what they want.


theres the answer to your question

build it , welcome them and imo , allow donations* .... expand as a group or as we say over here ... a mob

each energy creating ... can't get any more fair dinkum than that .




*might be cash , might be a plate of sambos , a pack of teabags even .... a bunch of flowers

nventr
10-03-2011, 10:42 PM
All these answers are great! I have one more comment to add.

Instead of a teacher or leader, consider yourself an advisor, mentor, or facilitator.

pre-dawn
11-03-2011, 03:28 AM
All these answers are great! I have one more comment to add.

Instead of a teacher or leader, consider yourself an advisor, mentor, or facilitator.
IMO this is just playing with words. As an advisor one gives advice from within a particular perspective, as a mentor one mentor's towards a particular goal and as a facilitator one facilitate a specific topic.
All of that includes that there is structure, teaching and leadership. The question is what form this takes, not what but how.

There is no shortage of teachers who refuse to teach or leaders who refuse to lead. We do not need more of them.

sunny shine
11-03-2011, 04:30 AM
I have a calling to start a meditation/spiritual group, and open my house to my community, my first stepping stone to helping people and being of service - yet have no idea where to start :D I seriously feel better attending groups, but my spirit guides and destiny is calling me to start one, and honestly i don't know how.
In my community I have only attended a few other spiritual groups, taken note on what i do and do not like about how they are run.

First of all I disagree with asking money for spiritual growth and learning, so my spiritual events will be free, and I am sure people will respond well to that.

What I know of most people - the beginners - they are looking for structure, someone to tell them what to do. This is one thing i am wary of, because i have nothing to offer, i have little experience teaching, let alone i don't believe i am qualified or significant enough to tell people what to do. I certainly have no confidence, maybe way too humbled for my own good, and i would rather it be a setting where everyone is equal and can learn from each other. Does this put a damper in my plans? Because my vision, is to just open my place to likeminded individuals, and NOT be a leader, to have everyone equal, not have one specific guru preaching about how people are supposed to be spiritual, because i don't believe in there being ONE way, and I absolutely despise all of the spiritual groups i have been to, because that's all you find (some person preaching about how they do it getting all ego based, never allowing anyone else to talk), but instead i hope people would share their experiences, share what they want to learn, be an equal loving space for all to put in input, and i could offer what i know, what i have done to acheive certain spiritual endeavers, but as long as they know there are millions of other ways to do so, but certainly never would i want to teach something with them not agreeing with it, wanting it, or teaching false info or scattered or not all of the things that go along with it. I have millions of lovely simple, basic ideas, if they want, i could hold a native ceremony, because that is one thing i do know about, we could have a group about getting to know our spirit guides one day although i would probably cover many ways, not just one, and other things the other day, or experiment with different ideas to meditate and other things, but i am not all knowledgable, and i am certainly no teacher, so do you think a group that is less structured work out, and go with a flow? Or would it only be open to advanced individuals who can facilitate themselves... because the way i see it, is i want it to be open to all levels, and all beliefs.

I just predict opening the group, and having people stare at me, waiting for me to take control of it all, and me not being able to give them a set structure and it going terrible. But the one thing i do know about people from my little experience from holding workshops, is they LOVE being included, they love sharing their own experiences, and they love it just flowing without strict plans - at times, but i'm worried about those who need guided, strict methods, who need someone to tell them what to do - i don't feel like i can offer that.

And i know i want this group to be spiritual, just a place for spiritual beings to come together, and work on a whole arrangement of different spiritual things, not just one set thing, not just a meditation group, but everything, what they want to work on. Or should my angle on it be more structured?

Anyways, thought it would be helpful if i could get ideas on what everyone here enjoys in groups, and what they feel benefits them, and what they don't like about group atmospheres, thoughts, and ideas, and... trying to figure out how to make all of this come into a plan. I'm sure some of you have attended spiritual workshops and meditation groups at one time or another? Or perhaps some of you lead them? Some thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

I would love to part of this group. are you intending creating any online groups in SF?

athribiristan
11-03-2011, 11:58 AM
Great idea! Personally when i go to a group i don't enjoy all the talking, but i have noticed the majority of people are highly fond of spiritual discussions and it also creates a pleasant atmosphere, for people to begin to feel more open and get to know each other, and also gives them a chance to talk about their views, and people love that. Perhaps at each group, i will pick some interesting topics as you say before anything else i plan. I agree, most of my planning is going to come after i meet them and get an understanding towards what they want.


You should also set up some ground rules prior to your first meeting, so they can be well established when you get started.

Jules
11-03-2011, 12:29 PM
Fantastic advice given to you Ciquala.

On a note of point. Can I suggest you ask for a small donation to cover your costs. Apart from anything else you are doing a job which does require some form of renumeration. Also, although your intentions are fantastic (I'm of the same mind generally) recently I've come to accept that people prefer to pay for a service - no matter how small the donation. It gives them a sense of self. Just my two pennorth.

blackfellawhitefella
11-03-2011, 08:09 PM
yep ... the whole 'payment' paradigm is an 'exploration of consciousness' in itself


from both sides of the coin (excuse that sad pun) :smile:

Internal Queries
11-03-2011, 08:29 PM
don't forget the cookies!

themaster
11-03-2011, 09:03 PM
and honestly i don't know how.Many new age groups use http://meetup.comFirst of all I disagree with asking money for spiritual growth and learning, so my spiritual events will be free, and I am sure people will respond well to that.I like your spirit.. wish my teacher taught for free! :tongue: :D (well, he does but not the super advanced stuff)

However my imagination says..

If your group was quite large.. you might find having them in your home.. messing up your house, clogging up your bathroom :rolleyes: :D would get annoying..

In that case as a long term plan.. you might ask for a donation.. in this way you’re not forcing money.. but you might need some money for a "meeting space" again that's how most groups on meetup.com do it (sometimes) I just predict opening the group, and having people stare at me, waiting for me to take control of it all, and me not being able to give them a set structure and it going terrible. But the one thing i do know about people from my little experience from holding workshops, is they LOVE being included, they love sharing their own experiences, and they love it just flowing without strict plans - at times, but i'm worried about those who need guided, strict methods, who need someone to tell them what to do - i don't feel like i can offer that.The simple answer is don't!

Dude, just let a meetup/get together be a meetup/get together.. stop over-analyzing it.. just take a step.. and see WHAT HAPPENS!

If you philosophize and intellectualize.. you’re going to get your EGO going like all this **** above and it will point out all the limitations and FLAWS as it has been doing in this text.. even my EGO helped you out! See above.. :D

themaster
11-03-2011, 09:04 PM
just a place for spiritual beings to come togetherHey, what happened to equal? :D

Just pointing a limitation in your statement.. :tongue:

For the record or in case you’re not aware.. all beings are spiritual.. even if there atheist, hate the world, hate people who litter.. there still spiritual! (just a reminder!) :smile: Anyways, thought it would be helpful if i could get ideas on what everyone here enjoys in groups, and what they feel benefits them, and what they don't like about group atmospheres, thoughts, and ideas, and... trying to figure out how to make all of this come into a plan. I'm sure some of you have attended spiritual workshops and meditation groups at one time or another? Or perhaps some of you lead them? Some thoughts would be greatly appreciated!Hmm.. I'm going to attend one or more in a few hours.. maybe I should answer after.. but I'll try now..

Let's see in my experience I like "practicality" "tools" real world stuff you can use.. I also have a tendency being all knowing to sometimes dominate groups I'm in (if I'm sharing) with loads of "enlightened" information..

I can't really think of anything I don't like about "spiritual" get togethers.. I hope you can attract what works for you.. and be okay if you attract types that don't work and leave..

I'd say good luck but I might repost after attending some "new age" lectures this evening :hug3: with some more forward thoughts..

Neville
11-03-2011, 09:09 PM
People, I am easily pleased, I prefer there to be people in spiritual groups. there's not much worse than being the only one in a spiritual group, I have a sneaky suspicion I may be stating the obvious here.