When I was contemplating what I wanted to convey on the subject of
holding meetings, I realized that a lot of the savvy that goes into
being a good group leader cannot be fully covered in any
informational book, no matter how detailed, because people are
infinitely various and each person will present unique and sometimes
novel problems and challenges. The suggestions that follow are an
attempt to regularize some of the more common challenges and come up
with pointers that more than one or two of you may find useful.
People are creatures of habit and it will take them a while to get
used to setting aside the time for your meetings so that they will
be free to attend. For the first month, expect people to find it a
little difficult to remember just when you do meet. Consequently, if
you are only willing to hold a month or six weeks of meetings you
will probably not build up a group of people that is committed to
meeting and working together on spiritual questions, unless the
group has a strong affinity, as sometimes does happen quite rapidly.
Once you have made the commitment to have a group and have decided
on the day and time, whether it is weekly, monthly or fortnightly,
pay close attention to your stability. If you see something coming
up in the future that you absolutely cannot avoid, get a substitute
to hold the meeting for you if at all possible. Just one week of
being without a meeting can throw people off.
They stop coming and
perhaps never get the habit again once you are back. Remember that
they are not in the business of serving you by accommodating unusual
schedules that you might find convenient. You are offering a service
to others and hopefully you will want to do so at others’
convenience. This is not to say that you must hold meetings on a
Saturday night because a member asks you to do so. If that is your
night to spend personal time alone or to celebrate or coze with
friends or family, honor yourself enough to keep private time
But, once having chosen the time convenient to you, make it
as convenient as possible to everyone by being there dependably at
every meeting. You will note that I have little advice about the
frequency with which you wish to hold your group meetings. I have
never found any virtue in a particular periodicity. Weekly meetings
are probably more grateful to those who come chiefly for inspiration
A longer time apart means more time to prepare
programs and less time to develop a feeling of community, so
channeling groups that are placing an emphasis on study can meet
with any periodicity with good results. The first person to consult
is, of course, yourself. You’re helping far more if you offer
fortnightly meetings for years than if you choose a rigorous
schedule in a burst of energy, then burn out.
Your program format is entirely up to you. I would suggest that you
carefully consider the benefits of evening meetings since more
people can come then than at any other time. You would be frustrated
if you attempted to keep the social processes out of your group.
Expect social time before and after each meeting. Do not frustrate
yourself by hoping that people will come on time, start on time or
leave as soon as the study or meditation is at an end.
Part of the
process of seeking the Creator is talking with other people who are
doing the same thing. Your best bet is to listen carefully during
social times for opportunities to use the time for study. With a
little direction a maundering conversation can be turned into a
lively discussion. Sharpen your ears and your vocabulary and
cultivate the flexibility that it takes to use interesting concepts
within an aimless conversation as the starting point for a far more
intentionally vectored discussion.
Don’t expect people, by and large, to be able to sit longer than
ninety minutes. Most people need to stretch after about 45 minutes
to an hour. Sometimes this is quite impossible as one is right in
the middle of meditation or a speaker’s finest words at that point.
However, scheduling material upon which one has to concentrate to
last longer than an hour and a half at a sitting is not wise.
Possible, often done, and sometimes unavoidable, but not wise.
the program’s main content is done, try to build in a
question-and-answer period. If your group is studying with speakers,
ask the speaker to open his speech to questions and answers within
the 60 to 90-minute period. If it is a meditation with channeling,
encourage your contact to open the meeting to questions.
of learning almost always involves questions and answers. Learning
by rote works well if you have an audience completely under your
control and are absolutely sure of what you are saying. If, instead,
you feel that what you know is true for yourself but not necessarily
so for others and if you wish to give others the free will to search
as intensely as you have, you will encourage questions and
discrimination in your students and discourage rote learning. If
people do not know why they are thinking, saying or doing something
it will all get mixed up anyway when the student attempts to put it
to the test, so try not to be intolerant of others’ confusion but,
rather, support and nurture creative confusion and questioning.
If you are having people in your home especially, but even if you
are meeting in a public place, you as leader are responsible for
refreshments. You may want to take up a collection in order to pay
for them. Some study groups charge admission to cover the same
costs. I strongly suggest that you offer only beverages before a
Coffee and colas with caffeine are considered helpful for
those involved in channeling sessions, since there are some
indications that caffeine aids the telepathic process. Afterwards,
your hospitality may be as generous as you wish. However, before a
quiet, sedentary activity such as sitting in a meeting it is foolish
to load people’s stomachs up with food, and, heaven forbid, liquor.
Both make people feel logy and drowsy, a consciousness antithetical
to the questioning process.
Before you begin to have meetings, do some thinking about how you
feel about hospitality. Face the responsibilities of what you will
require of yourself in order not to feel guilty about offering
domestic courtesy and be sure that you can satisfy yourself. I would
suggest that you encourage people to help themselves even if it is
your own kitchen. Put things out where people can find them fairly
easily and let people serve themselves. You will be far more helpful
to your students sitting and talking with them than you will be
serving them drinks.
You need to be right there listening as much as possible because you
are in a position to note, to some degree, the dynamics of the
group. You will be hearing things that bring a group together and
things that drive a group apart. If you notice that new people are
feeling ignored and being left out you can make sure more than
anyone else there that the person is brought into the conversation.
If you hear joking and kidding you can encourage that and help the
group to feel more cohesive and tied together in an enjoyable way.
Take this side of being a leader quite seriously. It is most
important to people who are finding your group and coming for the
first time. It is the community as well as the channeling experience
that people want when they come to you. It is human nature to want
to belong and many people who are a wakening to what may be called a
cosmic awareness feel distinctly odd.
Your group is one place where
an “oddball” with a questing mind and heart can come and not feel
very odd, since everyone else in the group is in the same boat. Try
to use your personal assets—sexuality, intelligence and
personality—to make your group members feel comfortable and at home.
Yes, I included sexuality: we all have it and we’re all pretty aware
of it. I don’t mean, ladies and gentlemen, that you should flirt
with others and be anything but chaste with one another as a general
rule. What I mean is that you may smile warmly at someone and
position yourself in a vulnerable and open way, perhaps moving
slightly past the usual boundary of social space for a moment or so
for the sake of making someone feel like a more intimate friend to
This is a sexual tactic oftentimes. However, it can be useful
to you as a leader in making people feel more comfortable. You are
acting in an impersonal role as a group leader and you may look upon
all of your assets as being impersonally appropriate as long as you
are not charming people with mixed motives. Charm them; make them
feel comfortable; but do it without attachment to any outcome, for
you do not want to manipulate people. You only want to make it
possible for them to feel comfortable.
Almost everyone is shy in a
new environment, and some people remain shy always. There will be
more shy people coming to your meditation group or study group than
you will meet in the general run of social intercourse since
contemplative, thoughtful people are also often introverted. Expect
and be ready for this challenge. If you yourself are shy, as am I,
start saying to yourself, “Love the one you’re with.” It’ll help.
If you have meditation students that are learning how to channel
from you, try not to yield to the temptation to use your public
meetings as teaching meetings for your students. Let the content of
the meetings be devoted entirely towards contacts which are intended
to inspire those who have come to hear the channeling.
process is time-consuming and much too wasteful of your other
students’ time to be acceptable for the public meetings. It is also
more difficult for new channels to exercise their instruments in
front of a larger group of people than they have been used to in the
intensive teaching sessions. It is better not to put a new
instrument through that until the instrument says to you, “It is
time for me to channel in a public meeting.”
Here is a list of don’ts for you with a few comments.
Don’t throw your weight around. You have developed opinions on
everything that you have thought about or at least you are in the
process of doing so and can talk about that. Because you are the
leader of a group, your students may be hanging on your words. You
may find the experience a bit heady and start offering your opinions
on everything from the right recipe for Boston clam chowder to the
validity of the Shroud of Turin with the same careless grace that
you offer your opinion on how to aid one in deepening the meditative
Don’t do that. The temptation is great. But that is exactly what it
is: temptation. As a channel you are the ideal of yourself. You tune
yourself to a state that you probably do not enjoy as a private
person. When you come out of meditation and are not channeling you
and I are as much bozos as anyone in this world. Our opinions matter
no more than anyone else’s, and someone else may have a better
recipe for clam chowder! Don’t misuse your influence.
Don’t assume that people know anything. We turned the lights out at
a very large public meeting years ago and settled down into the
muscular silence of eighty seeking people. Into the thick velvet
dark came a tentative masculine voice inquiring, “What happens when
the lights go out?” We hadn’t told this new student what to expect!
Talk to your students before their first meeting about how your
group meditates, about what channeling sounds like, what
conditioning sounds like, what aids there are to meditation and so
forth. Be sure that you have explored with the student the basic
reasons that brought him or her to the meeting. Don’t wait for
confidences. Be bold and say “What brings you here tonight?” The
sentence or paragraph answering that question will enable you to
follow through with the information that that particular student
needs for orientation to your particular meeting. No two meetings
are alike. No two students are alike.
Don’t take the formation of the circle lightly. Don’t leave your own
circle, and plainly tell anyone else who does so that it is
undesirable. Circles that are restless and broken make it very
difficult for good channeling to happen because the energy of the
group is too unreliable. The energy can be rather low and still be
excellent for channeling if it is stable throughout the meeting.
Don’t lock your door during a meeting unless you want to make it
impossible for late-comers to enter. Nothing is more distracting
than a doorbell or knock in the middle of a profound silence or a
quiet inspirational channeling. Unplug the telephone also.
Whatever you do to tune the group, don’t let it be a spoken
relaxation session unless you know each student well enough safely
to predict that no one has the slightest probability of going into
trance. I have had that happen to me on a couple of occasions.
spontaneously, and there is nothing that you can do about that. The
other time it was my fault. I did not realize how very susceptible
one of my students was to the deeper levels of concentration and
effectively hypnotized him into a trance state. All I was doing was
telling people to relax their heads, their necks and so forth,
moving down to the toes little by little.
Everyone else had a very
good meditation. But for Charlie it was excruciating. This excellent
channel has not used his gift since the time that he had so much
trouble getting back into his body as a result of my relaxation
Along the same lines it is well for you to call out the name of
anyone who does not begin to move after a meditation. If anyone in
the circle is sitting absolutely still, leave the lights off and be
sure that the person is responding to his or her name before you
illuminate the room. It is physically painful to someone in a trance
and out of the body to come back into the body as quickly as one
must do when the turned-on light triggers the reflex that pulls the
consciousness back into the body.
Don’t expect your students to attend meetings regularly in perpetuo.
Some will stay a month, some a year; many curiosity-seekers leave
after their first meeting never to return and a tiny few will
eventually offer to join your work, becoming colleagues and
associates. Know that a student will have an internal rhythm and
needs to come and go in freedom. Avoid in every possible way making
people feel guilty about missing a meeting, and don’t assume
students are ill because they miss a meditation. Your serene refusal
to be egoically involved in who comes to meetings makes it possible
for old-timers to dip back into the old group when the desire
Don’t get upset if a batch of new people suddenly falls in love,
messily, with each other. The experience of opening the heart chakra
to unconditional love is powerful, and if it happens to several
people at once they may well believe that the whole world is full of
wonderful, adorable people, especially the other students so
similarly enthused. Counsel caution; keep and honor any confidences
and trust that time will sort out the lovebirds into metaphysically
and socially appropriate pairings, plus “leftovers,” single people
who are quite benefited from exposure to universal love, and usually
more fit than before for a deep relationship.
Don’t assume that you will remember anything. This last may be my
private taboo, based upon my “spaciness.” I make absentminded
professors look smart. However, it may well be that to some degree
we all have faulty memory. Get new students’ addresses and phone
numbers as soon as you can remember to do so. We use a Guest Book.
There may be some reason that you want to call someone up on the
phone. You will have a precious hard time doing so without a
complete list of your members.
Try to record all of your channelings or your speaker’s talks if you
have any thought at all of keeping an archive of what you have done
in this endeavor, or if you contemplate publishing your material. I
found out years ago that no matter how obvious it may be to you that
this particular session is not going to be worth recording, it will
be that session that you did not record that you will wish that you
Write down all the things that are borrowed from you, assuming that
you are holding the meetings in your home and that your library is
open for browsing. It is almost impossible to remember to whom you
have lent books or other materials or when you lent them. If it is
all written down at the time a book is taken it is much easier to
retrieve the volumes that you have spent some resources to collect.
There are some do’s to meetings as well, in my opinion.
Do try to keep it light. There is nothing more serious than the
search for truth and yet there is a tremendous amount of humor
involved in the nature and details of our quests. Much about the
human condition is quite ridiculous and to put on the cloak of
unflappable dignity is to leave a good deal of human nature quite
uncovered. If you feel that the group is getting overly serious, or
if there is some special occasion, by all means have a party in
which no one has to say a single serious thing or listen to serious
words. A silent meditation is almost always welcome, but in a party
atmosphere it is not always necessary. In a serious-minded group it
is good once in a while to get together just to laugh.
Do stay on good terms with your opposite numbers whether they be
local or far-flung. Try to respect and have fellow feeling for
people who run other groups. If someone is holding a meeting at a
particular time, take pains yourself to choose another time, or talk
to the first group about finding some way to accommodate each other
so that both groups can appeal to the same people. It is a very
large city indeed that has an unlimited supply of metaphysical
Do tell your story. Let people know how you got started in
channeling and how you came to be offering group meetings. Nothing
makes a person feel more at home than the feeling that he knows you.
And nothing makes a person feel closer to you than knowing your
story. In this particular application it is not egoistic to talk
about yourself but a necessary part of being a good leader.
Note: anything can be overdone!
And, finally, do talk a lot about the concept of being a light
group. There are a lot of people all over the world who share the
concept of generating more and more light on planet Earth and who
see that planetary generation of love, compassion and peace as being
the most important work that we can do.
You, as a group leader, need
to make people aware that you do not function alone but that there
is a large network of light groups in the community of metaphysical
seekers, all of whom are dedicated to the same propagation of
planetary light to offer to the Creator on behalf of Earth. When Don
Elkins, my beloved companion and fellow worker, was alive, he used
to “joke” a lot about saving the planet.
Don always thought big, and
I believe that he affected more people personally than almost anyone
else I have ever met by his thoughts, his vision and his very being.
It may seem like impossible, idealistic thinking to talk about
generating enough light to create a different Earth. But that is the
direction in which light groups tend to move.
The more deeply one
thinks about the reasons for banding together in groups, the more
one realizes that the formation of any group that is positive in
polarity is based upon the theory that we all are one and that
together we are more powerful and able to aid others than we are
separately. This makes other light groups most precious to us.
Above all, see yourself as ministering to people seeking truth. Your
group is most likely made up of people who would go to some church,
be it Christian or non-Christian, if only they could deal with the
doctrines and dogmas of orthodox religion. Your group is
functionally a kind of church, which is a good thing if you can
respect the concept of group worship without insisting that to a
general reverence be added specific detailed beliefs which your
people are not able to accommodate.
Respect your group as if you
were a priest and they were your congregation. You are in the role
of teacher to earnest pilgrims seeking the truth. You are ill-suited
to lead them. Everyone is. Don’t let that stop you from trying but
rather keep a merry heart, a light touch and a warm smile as well.
Balance every instinct towards compassion with a careful examination
of the direction of conversation so that you do not offer sympathy
when it would be more instructive and helpful to put things in
perspective for a student.
Always err on the side of compassion, but
let your experience guide you and when you feel that a person is too
close to his problem, do not be afraid to use your position as
teacher to get the student’s attention and say not,
“I know what is
right,” but rather, “Here is something to think about.”
Good luck with your group! My prayers are with everyone who
undertakes this appreciated and most needed service.
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