Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0260, June 13, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

Sunday I viewed the new movie, "The Da Vinci Code." I thought it was a significant and bold movie in many ways. One idea that I left with was the great power that "ideas" have over us. In fact, it became clear to me that in one sense, ideas run our lives, and in another, ideas are our lives. In this week's article, "Who Do You Think You Are," I explain what I mean by this "idea" and its relevance to facilitators and leaders.

Later this week, I'll be attending the International Association of Facilitators Conference in Baltimore, MD. If any of you are attending, I'd love to meet you there in person. Please drop me an email and let me know. News membership converts to Lifetime Membership! I decided this week to convert the "yearly" FacilitatorU membership to a "Lifetime" membership. This means that the same price we previously charged for a one year period now entitles you to the same features and benefits for life. We're doing this to offer access to our materials to a greater number of people worldwide, to simplify administration, and increase value to you.

New 5-day Teleclass: Transforming Conflict in the Workplace. Remove the fear and uncertainty in working with conflict in groups and organizations in this 5-day teleclass series led by a 25-year expert in the fields of facilitation and mediation, Harry Webne-Behrman. See details after the article.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Click here for detail

Click here for details

Click here for details

The Point

Who do you think you are?
Facilitating freedom from the prison of ideas

Self-Mastery Skill

Sunday I viewed the new movie, "The Da Vinci Code." I thought it was a significant and bold movie in many ways. One idea that I left with was the great power that "ideas" have over us. In fact, it became clear to me that in one sense, ideas run our lives, and in another, ideas are our lives. Let me explain.

A new idea can redefine the meaning of something we thought we understood. When meaning changes for us, our choices and actions often change as well. For example, before the heretic Gallileo claimed that it was the Sun and not the Earth that was at the center of our solar system, it was a fact that the Earth was the center of our little universe and that everything else revolved around it. To the average person, this made good sense. After all, our senses tell us that this orb that we stand upon is fixed in space while the sun, the moon, and all the stars seem to move across the sky every day and night. It took a discerning eye, aided by a new instrument, to show us that this model wasn't right at all. This new "idea" changed the way we viewed ourselves and our place in the universe.

Modern psychology and ancient esoteric spirituality confirm for us that while who we think we are seems to be fixed, we know that we are simply collections of ideas...thoughts or perspectives that are repeated so automatically and often that they have come to be seen as fixed and tangible identities (egos). In time, you stop noticing that who you take yourself to be is simply a fleeting perspective, a belief, or idea that you have decided to accept and believe over and over again, more or less unconsciously.

This is why the practice of meditation, the objectification of thought, has been the preferred path to "freedom" for many thousands of years. By "freedom," I mean freedom from attachment to ideas, particularly any idea about who you are, as any such idea is inherently limiting. Once you are free from your attachment to any idea, you are free to choose which if any idea to adopt in any given instance. Living in this manner grants us the freedom to use ideas as tools, a far better alternative to being enslaved by them.


Why meditate
. As facilitators we are often put in the position of selling the value of facilitation to leaders. One of the clearest and most common arguments I've heard about the benefit of facilitation is this: "sometimes we need to slow down now to go fast later." For example, it takes an investment of time and money to lay down a straighter and smoother road which will allow us to radically increase our speed for years into the future. For a team of people, the promise of facilitation is the same.

I've been meditating for nearly half my life. I've found it to be the single most valuable catalyst for my evolution and growth. For me, meditation facilitates my life. The 20-30 minutes I take once or twice a day to apparently "do nothing" comes back ten fold in terms of efficiency, clarity, and effectiveness, and the effects appear to be cumulative over time.

How to meditate.

There are many, many techniques of meditation. Ultimately, they all seek to do the same thing. They offer the the opportunity to objectify your thinking. That is, to bear "witness" to your thoughts. At first glance, this might sound pointless to you. But the process of witnesses or observing your thoughts without analysis does one very important thing. It separates "you" from "them." While at times you may so identify with your thoughts that you can't see the difference between you and them, through regular practice of meditation, you'll recognize that you are not your thoughts, you are something so much more. Here is a simple practice.


Find a relaxing place and body position. It's best to start by sitting upright in a firm but comfortable chair. Begin by taking a slow, deep, cleansing breath through your nose to the count of 10 and then breath out to a count of 10. Do this for several breaths. As you breathe in and out notice any tension in your body. Don't judge, analyze, or try to "do" anything about it. Just notice it dispassionately. Continue by simply noticing your breath. Again, simply observe neutrally without analysis or judgment.

Now begin to watch your thoughts in this fashion. Simply notice them. If you think you aren't thinking, that itself is a thought. Simply notice it and watch it pass. Don't try to do anything about your thoughts. Don't try to force them, stop them, or react to them in any way. Simply watch them like you might watch the grass grow. With little interest or curiosity. Your task is to simply shine the light of your awareness on your thoughts like you might shine a flashlight onto your lawn in the dark. You simply watch your thoughts come and go. Do this for about 10 minutes and repeat daily until you're practicing 20 minutes or more twice a day. Notice the changes that occur in your everyday life.


Your assignment this week is to practice the above meditation exercise, or any meditation exercise of your choice, at least once a day. Write down what you notice that appears to be different in your everyday life. I'd love to hear about your experiences. Just click reply and type them directly into this email.


Meditation: A Simple Eight Point Program for Translating Spiritual
Ideals into Daily Life
by Eknath Easwaran

Schooled in both Eastern and Western traditions, Eknath Easwaran took to the spiritual life amidst a successful career in India as a professor of English literature, writer and lecturer. He came to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959 on the Fulbright exchange program and established the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Northern California in 1961. His 1968 Berkeley class is believed to be the first accredited course in meditation at any Western university. His deep personal experience and his love for his students have made the ancient art of meditation accessible to those who hold jobs and live active lives among friends and family.

Note to Publishers
Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.

We grow by recommendation only when you find our material of use! If you enjoyed this issue, we'd love it if you'd spread the word. Click here to use our interactive form to tell your friends about MFJ, and as a thank you, you will receive our free Facilitator's Self Assessment.

In the Spotlight

FacilitatorU Membership is now a

Lifetime Membership!

Same Fee...Same Resources...Much Greater Value...

Basic = $149 for Lifetime Membership

Click Button to join for life

Premium = $299 for Lifetime Membership

Click Button to Join for Life

Lots of features...Click here for details

Transforming Conflict in the Workplace...

Would you be a more effective facilitator or leader with a more solid base of conflict resolution skills under your belt? 

All organizations and relationships encounter conflict. It's what we do with it that makes all the difference in the world.

Remove the fear and uncertainty in working with conflict in groups and organizations in this 5-day teleclass series: Transforming Conflict in the Workplace, led by a 25-year expert in the fields of facilitation and mediation, Harry Webne-Behrman.

o Did you know that everyone has a unique style and response to conflict? Knowing your styles and response is critical to effective conflict resolution.

o Do you feel comfortable modeling effective conflict resolution skills as a facilitator? This is one of the best ways to prevent conflict from escalating.

o Did you know that 80% of effective conflict management consists of effective interpersonal communication? Knowing how to facilitate this kind of communication is key to mining the positive energy of conflict.

o Do you know what it takes to establish conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations? This knowledge is in growing demand for facilitators, coaches, and consultants.

In this class you will learn conflict resolution skills for facilitative leaders by exploring and evaluating your own styles and personal responses conflict, learning and practicing conflict resolution strategies in the context of group facilitation, and exploring how you can implement conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations.

By the end of the 5 days, you will:

  • Know your own conflict resolution style and response to conflict.
  • Be able to employ effective conflict resolution strategies with any group.
  • Understand how to deal with impasse in groups.
  • Be able to recognize others conflict styles and responses.
    Have more confidence in dealing with conflict in groups and organizations.
  • Know the keys to implementing conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations.
  • And much more..

July 17th-21st, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), one hour each day.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. Dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. Work through a workbook during the 5 days which will step you through key conflict resolution skills and strategies.
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online discussion forum during the course.
4. Access to the instructors via email for specific help.

Course Outline...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Components of a Comprehensive Conflict Resolution Program
- The nine keys to designing and implementing an integrated conflict resolution program in your organization.
- Core strategies for facilitating effective responses to conflict so that all staff are invested in success.

Communication Skills and Strategies * The Heart of Conflict

- The three primary communication styles and their conflict style counterparts.
- Four key communication skills you need to effectively manage conflict.
- How to model these skills at critical points of conflict within groups.

Strategies to Understand and Manage Defensive Behaviors
- Two key strategies to managing your own defensive responses to conflicts that arise.
- Four ways to encourage assertive communication among group members to prevent conflict from escalating.
- Three keys to working with disagreement that will prevent conflict from occurring.

Collaborative Negotiation Strategies
- A six step model to assure the success of any negotiation.
- 10 Strategies for Managing Impasse.
- 8 Special Considerations for Managing Multi-Party Disputes.
- Five types of power essential to identify to facilitate conflict management.

Synthesis * Designing Staff Facilitation/ Mediation Systems to Transform Conflict in the Workplace
- Building the foundation of a staff facilitation program.
- Keys to the design and implementation a collaborative dispute settlement system.
- Key steps to starting your conflict mediation program or reviving a failed one.
- Individual Coaching and Q&A

Free bonuses included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:

RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.

2. Participation on the class listserve to share questions and opportunities with your peers.

3. Access to Harry for virtual coaching on this subject throughout the week.

Our price for this class is only $89. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. Register before July 3rd for $79.

July 17th-21st, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), one hour each day.


Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the phone bridge, listserve, and teleclass workbook.


Click here to register Membership Option

Become a Premium Member of and receive this teleclass and all live and self-guided teleclasses offered by FacilitatorU at half price, in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

One-Day Live Version

Interested in a one-day "live" version of this class offered to your group? Contact us to discuss options.

About Harry Webne-Behrman

Harry Webne-Behrman has served as a facilitator and mediator for over 25 years. Along with his wife, Lisa Webne-Behrman, he is a Senior Partner of Collaborative Initiative, Inc., a private consulting and mediation firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Harry has worked with hundreds of businesses, schools, community groups and public agencies, and he maintains tremendous enthusiasm about the importance of learning to work collaboratively to build positive work environments. Harry also works with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Office of Human Resource Development, coordinating and teaching professional development programs for courses on conflict management, communication skills, facilitation skills, managerial mediation and other areas. He is the author of The Practice of Facilitation (1998), Guardian of the Process (1994), and co-author of the Working It Out Series in peer mediation and conflict resolution education in schools. Most recently, he and Lisa collaborated with Dick Geier to produce Eleanor At Eighty, a facilitator training resource for addressing complex eldercare issues in families.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this training, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case.


©2008. Powered by All Rights Reserved.