Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0368, Nov 11, 2008
Dear Friends,
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Now that I'm back from my six-month meditation retreat, I'm slowly taking back the helm of FacilitatorU. It's a bit of an adjustment for me as I've moved to live with friends temporarily and discovering what's next for FacilitatorU. I want to thank Neerja and Deepak for their excellent work keeping FacilitatorU rolling along in my absence. I'm eternally grateful for their presence and support.

I felt that this week, I would share a bit of my experience as it relates to group process. While most of my days were taking up going within, every evening we were required to attend a group meeting. These meetings were organic and self-facilitating in large part. And though I did a good job of shutting of my intellect while undergoing this process, upon recent reflection, I realize there were some lessons gleaned around grou
p process that other facilitators and trainers might find useful.

I'm interested in hearing your reactions to these lessons. In some ways, it seems the world hasn't changed a bit in the six months I've been out of it. And in other ways, it appears to have changed a lot. So as we look at what's next for FaciltatorU, I'm keenly interested in any ideas or suggestions you have for our future direction that might better serve you and the field at large.

The week of January 12th my colleagues at the University of Wisconsin and I are offering the increasingly popular Journey of Collaboration and Facilitation workshop in Madison Wisconsin. We only have five spaces left and I would love to meet some of you there in person. The workshop is highly experiential and brings an integral focus to facilitation that we feel is lacking in many trainings of this type.Details, testimonials, and a recorded teleclass explaining this offering can be found here.

Join us this Tuesday, Nov 11, from 12 - 1 pm EST, for a dialogue with Michael Wilkinson. Michael is a Certified Master Facilitator and author of The Secrets of Facilitation and The Secrets to Masterful Meetings. Michael Wilkinson is also the founder and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies.

We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community. Please continue to send the wonderful feedback.




Michael Wilkinson
Click here for details
journey of collaboration

The Point

Is Facilitation Necessary?
How can we grow our trust in the organic intelligence of life?

Group Process Skill

For the past six months, I voluntarily confined myself to an isolated ranch in rural Wolf Creek, Montana. I was part of a spiritual community of 27 trainees, 6 staff, 2 teachers and numerous retreatants who visited periodically. We spent 8-12 hours a day in meditation using a unique technique called Ascension and practiced living the tenants of this simple, yet elegant teaching. A teaching that blends the Eastern teachings of Advaita Vedanta with the mystical traditions of the West.

While most of my days involved going within, we were required every evening to attend a group meeting. These meetings were very organic and self-facilitating in large part. They started at 8:00 pm each evening and went to as late as 3:30 am. Fortunately, this was an exception and we usually got done by midnight or before. Still, they were grueling at times, particularly considering the fact that they occurred every single day.

Though the two teachers were the assumed leaders, it soon became clear that the meetings were ours. They were not formally facilitated. Their stated purpose was not about self-development, personal growth, issue resolution, etc.

The purpose of the group was to "choose" for truth in every moment while expressing verbally or while hearing others' expression. What I mean by "choosing" for truth, in essence, is to choose "Attitudes" or ascendant thoughts instead of following typical thought streams composed of judgment, assessment, or other assundry commentary about the past or future. According to this teaching, this practice, with eyes open or closed, tends to wear down the ego structure that separates us from our natural state.

This approach allowed an organic process to emerge. Every issue that arose seemed to be met by an elegant resolution in short order without anyone directing the process. Of course, the teachers did chime in occasionally as participants themselves to offer teaching, or simple guidance.

By functioning in this way, a field was generated that fully accepted everything that was expressed. Nothing said, positive or negative, seemed to have much staying power. The process had the effect of supporting each participant in shedding their ego self to make room for the organic life force to emerge and fill each individual and the group. Group mind came into full force. On many occasions, many individuals seemed to be experiencing the same or similar themes without prior knowledge or intent.


Three Insights about Facilitation

In light of the above experience, here are some initial thoughts that will impact my practice of facilitation.

  • Truth by its nature is simple. Expressing our simple truth to the best of our ability is curative. Expressing our relative truth allows the wisdom of life to unfold as needed, when needed. We must be willing to jettison the idea of political correctness in service to our personal version of truth, however it looks. If something sounds complicated or doesn't make sense, it's not really true. It's a head trip. How the process unfolds can be extremely complex but always elegant and beyond the mind's ability to anticipate or significantly influence.

  • Trusting in the intelligence of life gives life the space of operate. Any issue in the life of an individual or group will find its own best resolution if those involved express their truth and provide the space and time for the solution to unfold. Any efforts to force, cajole, or manipulate what is, impede the natural flow of life.

  • Presence facilitates flow. The inner space occupied by each participant influences "the field" of the group. Noise in any mind adds noise to the field. Quiet minds clear the field. A clear field makes what's next self-evident and facilitates the flow of the group's work.

So what is this Ascension thing about?

Ascension is an effortless kind of thinking exercise. The central ideas involved are praise, gratitude, and love. When you do this effortless exercise, it causes your mind to choose between whatever it happens to be thinking now, and a powerful thought wrapped around praise, gratitude, or love. Your mind can only do one thing at a time, so it leaves what it is thinking now for the special thought. If your mind chooses praise, gratitude, or love instead of what it was thinking, in time, these become your primary thoughts and life begins to unfold in kind. If you'd like to know more about Ascension, go here or reply to this email with your questions.


This week,
apply at least one of the three insights above to your group work or relationship interactions. Please send us your questions and comments.

This Week's Offer

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This Meeting Sux

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Offer presented on Thank You Page after purchase.

You’ve said it, heard it, thought it, or felt it, perhaps all too often. You may have tried to initiate improvements in meetings but you gave up because it was too much work, or you felt alone in your efforts. Maybe you decided that running meetings is the meeting leader’s responsibility and is not up to you. Or perhaps you were overcome with frustration, and simply unequipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to do anything. Yes, this meeting sux. And, this presents you with an opportunity to transform meetings, and in the process, your group and your life.

But what can you do if you’re not in charge?
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