Many of our groups include a special time of sacred sharing. For many of us, this is the time that binds us as a community of love. As our groups increase in size, we need to be especially sensitive to each other. Here are some guidelines for sacred sharing and holy listening:
When you feel moved to share:
- Focus on your spiritual journey. We are a spiritual community, not a therapy or psychological support group.
- Share as briefly as possible, to allow space for others to share as they feel moved. In groups of more than several participants, we have about one minute total for each person during each meeting.
- Risk vulnerability by sharing from the heart (your feelings and your deeper self), rather than from your thinking and small self/ego. Use “I” statements, sharing from your own experience, as it relates to the readings, the lectio. If you share something you learned elsewhere, connect it to what is stirring in you in this moment as you listen to the lectio and other sharings.
- If you share a struggle you are experiencing, focus on where you see the Divine at work with you.
- Cultivate appreciation for diversity and avoid attempts to convince or convert others to your beliefs or practices.
- We are always free to remain silent, offering our listening presence to others.
- Offer attentive presence when someone is sharing and during moments of silence. Embrace the silence. Use the times of silence to experience our connection. These times are precious.
- When somebody has finished speaking, allow a time of silence so that people can absorb what was shared. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least three breaths of silence after a speaker has finished before you start speaking.
- Limit use of the chat feature. When you are chatting, you are not listening to the person who is sharing. In addition, the chat flag is distracting to those who are trying to listen to the person talking.
- Hold in confidence what is shared in each meeting; “what is shared in this meeting stays in this meeting”.
Keep in mind:
- Meditation Chapel is a spiritual community, not a psychological support group or counseling service. People who need help dealing with psychological issues should be encouraged to seek psychological help elsewhere.
- When you first start meditating with us, you might just observe for a few sessions. This will give you time to see how the group dynamics work and better understand the role of attentive listening in the time we call sacred sharing.
- These are guidelines, not rigid rules. Think about them and consider how you can incorporate them into your time of sharing. Be gentle with yourself if you think you have violated these guidelines. Be gentle with others whom you think have violated these guidelines. Meditation Chapel is a laboratory of love and we are all learning how to do this together.
Consider sacred sharing and holy listening as practices to learn from and grow into individually and collectively.
The photo is by GPE/Stephan Bachenhelmer and made available through Creative Commons and Flickr. Some rights may be reserved.