Why I Think Smaller Is BetterApr 14, 2021
I have been teaching presence techniques, meditation and the effectiveness of accelerated transformation in small group settings for over 20 years now.
I want to explain why I think smaller is better.
There is something magical about the small group, ideally eight to twelve people, that promotes community, trust, and vulnerability. It is small enough to get to know one another and powerful enough to create a momentum where all boats rise in the tide.
We learn from each other by sharing our self-observations. It is limited to that so that we do not dive into sharing opinions, preferences, and solutions. We want to keep this group setting as authentic and heart-centered as possible. Confining our comments to that which we have observed within ourselves means that we are vulnerable, honest, and willing to share what our personality may have no interest in divulging.
When we share like this, we learn more about Self-Observation.
If there are large numbers of people, some will get to share and the rest will learn passively from that. With a small group, we are held more accountable by all of us bringing our work to the table.
By baring what we see in ourselves, we serve each other. We learn what is and is not self-observation. This keeps things very real and inspiring.
Mainly, in this school, we do not want to contemplate the meaning of ideas through conjecture or analysis or even personal experience. There are often unconscious motives for sharing one’s knowledge that serve only their ego rather than the group.
We become vulnerable through honesty and humility.
If we share our self-observation with others and not our opinions, we are truly sharing what we have seen of our own inner state in a present moment This is authentic and it ain’t always pretty. However, these are moments of deep self-acceptance that we can all benefit from hearing. They are born of our higher nature that sees within from a new present state. That is all that is needed for our transformation.
This builds trust and trust creates connection.
What I find most disconcerting these days is our lack of deep connection. I have worked in groups and small retreat settings for so long that I know how much I cherish the connection. It is like no other thing I know and it has been life-changing for me, my husband and the many groups with which we have worked in and also facilitated.
What happens as an institution begins to grow? How do we keep this intimacy?
This is what I am confronted with as the Awareness School moves into this next phase of growth. There are new assistant teachers emerging who will be able to handle a wider net of people. We will add more and more small groups and have events to bring them all together. It is exciting to see, but as it happens, I find myself wanting to keep my finger on the pulse.
I want it to grow while at the same time wanting the small group preserved.
For example, my sound mentoring and upcoming certification programs will have to break out into smaller groups as the program grows. I adore one-on-one teaching and have done that as a piano teacher for 30 years. I will continue to work with those who want that one-on-one instruction.
There is one very special event this summer that will stay small for the time being and that is Sound Camp. This will be around 10 people max where we can develop the skills of playing sound bowls, learn first hand about binaural beats, toning, and basic music theory. The importance of the small group here is that each person gets an opportunity for live practicum.
Practicing our craft for a small group helps us ease into the profession. Sound Camp will become one prong of the certification process and will be retroactive for those who have already done it.
Practicum is important for several reasons.
- A budding sound practitioner can try newfound skills in a friendly learning environment.
- There is feedback available.
- We can share notes on what happened in the sound bath.
- Everyone learns firsthand how to use binaural beats responsibly
Perhaps one day when there is a large meditation hall on the retreat property, we may be able to accommodate a larger group with breakouts, but for the time being, we are going to enjoy these small circles where we can all share our hesitations, our process, and our transformation together in a beautifully intimate setting.
I urge anyone interested in this event to apply now.
We are offering small-batch retreats both Sound Camp and Awareness School Meditation retreats throughout the summer rather than having a large gathering. It makes sense for so many reasons, and as the school grows, my aim is to maintain that small group as the nexus point for the greater community.
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