Steps to Knowledge study group guidelines

From New Message from God Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Meeting in person

1. PURPOSE - The primary purpose of the group is to help new students establish a regular Steps practice, deepen and strengthen their practice, learn how to apply Knowledge in their daily lives, and then be able to move on to continue the Steps practice on their own.

2. PACE - Since the Steps journey is a very mysterious, individual and organic process, it is essential that each student move at his or her own pace. Sometimes it is necessary to spend more than a day on a particular Step. Attempting to do each Step in sync with another student or with the whole group stifles this process and can constrain the experience of Knowledge. It takes an average of one and a half years to complete Steps to Knowledge once, and a lifetime to learn its lessons, so find your own pace.

3. GROUP IDENTITY - Beware of falling into group identity. The first relationship is to the practice and to Knowledge. A study group should not replace this relationship because the group is not the focus. There may come a point when the group will end as a whole.

4. FACILITATION - One person needs to be recognized by and responsible to the group for the meetings' format and logistics. This keeps the group focused and organized. The role of facilitator should rotate among the members, giving everyone the opportunity to serve. Regardless of the length of time each member has been a Steps student, all are beginning students of Knowledge.

5. COMMITMENT - All new members are asked to make a three-month commitment to be in the Study Group. They should let the facilitator know in advance if they cannot be at a specific meeting. To have a strong and meaningful group, everyone needs to be present. When a student at some point feels it is time to end his or her participation and practice Steps independently, it is encouraged that they state their intention to the group. This demonstrates respect for the group and offers everyone an opportunity to practice Inner Listening, to experience closure and to say farewell.

6. FOCUS - The first job of everyone in the Study Group is to practice the Steps as they are given in Steps to Knowledge. People may come to a group for community and relationship. As important as these social needs are, the main task of everyone present is to follow the practices in Steps. This focus gets lost when personal issues and logistical problems divert or weaken the group's concentration. Economy of speech when sharing is essential. It is important for students to be open, honest and supportive of each other's progress, yet it is more important to create an environment for Knowledge to emerge.

7. INTERPERSONAL ISSUES - Keep interpersonal issues from dominating the Study Group. Personal issues do come up and managing them may be a challenge. When the focus of the group is maintained, however, personal issues can be effectively addressed.

8. FEEDBACK - It can be very tempting for members to give each other feedback or even to attempt to solve each other's problems in the group. When this happens, the Study Group becomes a therapy group, which is not its purpose. Let Steps be the therapist. Everyone is in the group to learn from Steps and to strengthen the ability to see, to know, and to act with wisdom in their daily lives. The facilitator must keep this focus. Learning to share and listen to others without cross-talk or trying to fix or rescue others is an important skill. Let the Teaching do the work.

9. MEETINGS - Regularly scheduled meetings are necessary, at least bi-weekly. Consistency enables students to attend regularly and to make the Study Group a part of their lives. If meetings are less frequent, group participation never becomes strong, and people cannot benefit from the primary purpose of the Study Group.

10. GROUP SIZE - Three to eight members are optimal. Yet, since there are students of Knowledge all over the world who must practice alone, it is of great benefit if even two committed students are able to form a Study Group to support one another’s practice.

11. GUESTS - Often members want to share the study and practice of Steps with others, yet unexpected guests could be inhibiting. Therefore, guest nights can be scheduled upon request, as needed.

12. FORMAT - Staying with a regular format gives everyone certainty about what they are doing and keeps the group from drifting or becoming bogged down in personal or other issues.

Here is a sample agenda
a) Invocation*
b) Meditation – about 20 minutes
c) Steps to Knowledge
Each person chooses the Step which has had the most impact on them since the last meeting. For example, Which Step has challenged you? Clarified something for you? Moved you to act on something? Or in any way stopped you in your tracks and gotten your attention? This should be done without interruption or feedback from others.
d) Read and/or discuss a chapter in one of the Books of Knowledge.
e) Once the group is established, try to schedule a Four-Pillars Practice night.
g) Benediction*

Virtual Meeting

1. PURPOSE - The primary purpose of the group is to help students establish a regular Steps practice, to deepen and strengthen their practice and learn how to apply Knowledge in their daily lives.

2. PACE - Since the Steps journey is a very mysterious, individual and organic process, it is essential that each student move at his or her own pace. Sometimes it is necessary to spend more than a day on a particular Step. Attempting to do each Step in sync with another student or with the whole group stifles this process and can constrain the experience of Knowledge. It takes an average of one and a half years to complete Steps to Knowledge once, and a lifetime to learn its lessons, so find your own pace.

3. GROUP IDENTITY - Beware of falling into group identity. The first relationship is to the practice and to Knowledge. A study group should not replace this relationship because the group is not the focus. There may come a point when the group will end as a whole.

4. FACILITATION - One person will be recognized by and responsible to the group for the meetings' format and agenda (see item 13). This keeps the group focused and organized. The role of facilitator will rotate monthly among the members, giving everyone the opportunity to serve. Regardless of the length of time each member has been a Steps student, all are beginning students of Knowledge.

5. CALL SCHEDULING - A designated person will schedule the phone conference through freeconference.com which provides free phone conferencing services. For simplicity the same person will do the scheduling for each meeting and arrange email notification of time, date, conference phone number and access code to group members.

6. COMMITMENT - All members are asked to make a three-month commitment to be in the Study Group. To have a strong and meaningful group, everyone needs to be present during the conference call. However, if a member finds it impossible to attend a specific meeting, the group should be notified by email or when enough notice is available, during a meeting. When a student at some point feels it is time to end their participation and practice Steps independently, it is encouraged that they state their intention to the group during a conference call. This demonstrates respect for the group and offers everyone an opportunity to practice Inner Listening, to experience closure and to say farewell.

7. FOCUS - The first job of everyone in the Study Group is to practice the Steps as they are given in Steps to Knowledge. People may come to a group for community and relationship. As important as these social needs are, the main task of everyone present is to follow the practices in Steps. This focus gets lost when personal issues and logistical problems divert or weaken the group's concentration. Economy of speech when sharing is essential. It is important for students to be open, honest and supportive of each other's progress, yet it is more important to create an environment for Knowledge to emerge.

8. INTERPERSONAL ISSUES - Keep interpersonal issues from dominating the Study Group. Personal issues do come up and managing them may be a challenge. When the focus of the group is maintained, however, these issues can be effectively addressed.

9. FEEDBACK - It can be very tempting for members to give each other feedback or even attempt to solve each other's problems in the group. When this happens, the Study Group becomes a therapy group, which is not its purpose. Let Steps be the therapist. Everyone is in the group to learn from Steps and to strengthen the ability to see, to know and to act with wisdom in their daily lives. The facilitator must keep this focus. Learning to share and listen to others without cross-talk or trying to fix or rescue others is an important skill. Let the Teaching do the work.

10. MEETINGS - Regularly scheduled meetings are necessary and the group will meet weekly on the established day and time determined by the group. Attending consistency enables students to make the Study Group a part of their lives. This provides strength in Knowledge which people can benefit from and is the primary purpose of the Study Group.

11. GROUP SIZE - Three to eight members are optimal. Yet, since there are students of Knowledge all over the world who must practice alone, it is of great benefit if even two committed students are able to form a Study Group to support one another’s practice.

12. GUESTS – Due to the nature of a group meeting by phone conference, no quests will be allowed.

13. FORMAT/MEETING AGENDA - Staying with a regular format and an established agenda gives everyone certainty about what they are doing and keeps the group from drifting or becoming bogged down in personal or other issues.

Agenda
Total time – approximately 1.5 hours
20 or 30 minute meditation prior to phone conference in preparation
Call in and announce arrival (this can be done up to 10 minutes before start time)
Invocation* (read by facilitator)
Steps to Knowledge
The facilitator for the month will establish the order in which participants share. (Example: East to West, alphabetical, calling on them, etc)
Each person shares the Step which has had the most impact on them since the last meeting. For example: Which Step has challenged you? Clarified something for you? Moved you to act on something? Or in any way has stopped you in your tracks and gotten your attention? This should be done without interruption or feedback from others.
Discuss the assigned reading from the New Message (established at the last meeting by the facilitator for the month).
Once the group is established, try to schedule a Four-Pillars Practice night. (Contact The Society for instructions)
Facilitator to announce next week’s reading for discussion.
Benediction* (read by facilitator)
End call

Possible Invocations & Benedictions

Invocation

“Rahn Ekan Novay Trenansa, Misu Veda Maya Toom. Nasi Novare Coram.” TRANSLATION: “We call upon the power of those who have achieved the state of Knowledge within the world and beyond to assist us in this great mission of bringing the Way of Knowledge into the world. The Presence of the Teachers is with us.” --from Greater Community Services

Benedictions

“Feel the presence of all the Spiritual Families, all the means of God in all worlds, in all places, in all hearts and in all minds. The call of God is Universal. The response is Universal. This is the purpose of life: the call, the response, the expression, the forgiveness, and the return.” “Cay Mavran Tomay Naya Tay. Coma Navran Tay Misu Veda Re Tranan.” TRANSLATION: “Beyond all boundaries of race and tolerance, the Way of Knowledge flows to those who can receive it well.” --from Greater Community Services

“Knowledge is the great endowment. It is within me and you today. Knowledge is calling us and the world is calling us. We must prepare. Knowledge is the bridge to the world and to each other. Let us learn to cross over this bridge. We are not alone, and those who are with us have been with us in the past and are with us now. We need them now. And we must call upon them now. For we have come to serve a greater purpose in all of the humble ways that a greater service must be given. This is the blessing of life. This is the calling of life. This is the requirement of life. And this is the gift of life.” --Prayer at the end of Living The Way of Knowledge

“The presence of Knowledge throughout the Greater Community invigorates and unites all life and gives purpose and meaning beyond the disassociation of ignorance, hatred and contempt. Let me, then, be a recipient of Knowledge. Let me, then, embody Knowledge. Let me, then, learn to be an expression of Knowledge. Let my mind be illuminated. Let my body be invigorated. Let my relationships be balanced and harmonized. And let the way open before me, for I am ready to begin. Nasi Novare Coram" --Prayer from The Meaning of Christmas

See also

Steps to Knowledge, “Concordance” – ‘Prayers and Invocations’ (the index near the end of the document)