It’s a big thing to go from being a participant to being a trainer. A lot like being always a member of the audience and then for the first time going backstage, I suppose. Anyway, last week, after a mere 23 years as program participant, I co-facilitated my first weekend program, “Accessing Inner Guidance,” up at The Monroe Institute.
First I have to say, “thank you, God!,” for co-trainer Bob Holbrook. Bob has been a trainer for a long while. He encouraged me from the time I first suggested the idea, through various pre-production jitters, through minor screw-ups in the course of the program, to its successful conclusion. He let me develop my ideas for various exercises, encouraged me to try anything I wanted to try, and reassured me that this or that experiment would not be “a bridge too far.” And for those of you who haven’t had a course with Bob, ask anyone who has had: He is organized, calm, funny, accessible, with tons of practical experience and helpful suggestions.
I think, too – and Bob agrees – that we had beginner’s luck in our 17 participants. They represented a wide range of experience not only in terms of accessing guidance but life experience. And most delightful, they bonded as a group, amazingly quickly. That suited me just fine, because, as I told them, I am not much into competition; I prefer a task-force approach, in which people concentrate on helping each other as much as themselves. When it comes to psychic matters, this approach works very well, because as you know psychic matters depend upon that very openness and connection.
I did a couple of things I have not seen in other TMI programs, and they worked great. For one thing, in debriefs, everybody participated, if only to say “nothing to report.” We’d start from one end of the semicircle and work our way to the other, and, just as I had always thought, this had a couple of advantages.
First, it brought out the people who otherwise wouldn’t have talked, which in turn automatically balanced things out. When you let people decide if they are going to say something or not, in effect you force them to either volunteer or remain silent. This often results in a few people doing the majority of the talking and most people saying little or nothing. But if everyone is expected to participate, in order as we go around the room, what happens is that the less assertive participants discover that what they have to say is of more interest to the others – and often of more importance – than they themselves would have suspected.
The second advantage is that extensive sharing of experience has the side-effect of making what happened more real for everybody. Volunteering what happened to you may still leave you wondering how much you made it up. But when you hear more than a dozen other people reporting experiences, it makes it all seem more real, even if they themselves are no more certain of what went on than you are yourself.
Another thing we did was alternate between individual exercises done in CHEC units and group sessions done in the white room, and a couple of sessions in which participants paired off. (The paired exercise had the unintended consequence of giving me the experience of herding cats, as I tried to discover where various pairs had wandered off to! :-))
I think that worked well, too, because the individual CHEC unit experience has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it gives you an intense and private experience. On the other hand, that can tend to distance you from the group energy a bit, and, again, can make you wonder how much of what is going on is real. Alternating CHEC unit sessions with group experiences tends to integrate the group a little more, I think, and tends to remind participants that access to guidance need not be limited to times when you can be alone, or in the dark, or listening to SAM or Hemi-Sync.
There’s more that I could say, but this is what I can say now, and I didn’t want too much time to go by before my “after-action” report. In the past week, I reviewed my notes for talks and exercises. Hopefully our next go-round in August will go as well as this one did. Hard to imagine it going any better!
Ah, beginner’s luck! I always say, it’s better to be lucky than good.