Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Deepening Your Experience with the Light

Summary
Workshop Number: 
41
Leaders: 
Jerry Knutson
Who may register?: 
Intergenerational (50% high school and young adults, 50% older)
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 
30%
Lecture: 
25%
Discussion: 
5%
Experiential Activities: 
40%
only full time attenders (participants should attend all week)

We plan to experience a greater union with the Spirit in our lives.  We will study the teachings of George Fox, Rex Ambler, Thomas Kelly, Edgar Cayce, and the Bible and strengthen these with guided meditations and worship sharing. We will also learn and daily practice an easy Tai Chi.

Workshop Description

  1. Your expectations and objectives for the week.

Participants will learn about techniques to help them to experience a greater union in their personal mediation practices. in Meeting for Worship and their lives.

  1. A list of the specific areas or topics that you expect to cover. For some workshops this might include things that the workshop will NOT cover.

Please see the Proposed Schedule below.

  1. A rough description of the format. This might include an estimate of the time to be spent in worship (most groups find 20 to 40 minutes daily gives good spiritual grounding), field trips you anticipate, writing activities (poetry, journaling, etc.), or other activities (role play, guided meditation, lecture, interactive exercises, discussion, etc.).

Each day, I will teach techniques that can enhance your experience with the Spirit. Some will be meditation techniques that we will practice, some will be guided meditations (see Proposed Schedule below.) Each day will start with  meeting for worship, which will begin when the first person arrives and end about 15 minutes after the published start time. Friends that want to a longer worship are invited to arrive earlier than the listed start time. In the first half of the class, we will usually learn a technique. We will take a break halfway through the morning and then practice the Tai Ji (a brief, easy movement experience—a type of Tai Chi). In the second half of the class, we will usually practice the new technique.

  1. Specific recommendations for advanced reading, or reading assignments during the Gathering.

I request that the handouts are read prior to the gathering--about 20 pages. Handouts are available electronically for free. A couple extra hard copies will be available at Gathering for $5. Please email me if you need a hard copy at Gathering.

During the gathering, I also ask that you re-read 4.1 before Thursday and 5.1 before Friday.

  1. Specific requests for items to bring to the Gathering, such as artwork or manuscripts in progress.

You might want to bring a comfortable collapsible chair or a yoga mat or sleeping pad if you like to lay down for guided meditations.

Proposed Schedule

Monday

----Introductions  Name, MM, YM, and what you want to get from this workshop?

1.1 Worship Sharing This workshop teaches the Quaker process of worship sharing. In a discussion, often a few talkative people dominate and others don’t get an opportunity to talk. Also a discussion can get moving so fast that there is no time to try to hear the spirit. Worship sharing solves these potential problems. 

1.2 Introduction to Meditation This workshop is based on a very simple meditation technique from the book, The Relaxation Response, by Herbert Benson, M.D.  We will read the handout and then practice the method. (break)

1.3 Tai Ji This is a very simple method of Tai Chi (slow body movement) that can be easily learned and then can be practiced daily after the workshop. This is a much simpler technique than you may have learned elsewhere. 

---Organize small groups and worship share in these small groups—first reintroduce yourselves then worship share on:

1) “What touched me most deeply in today’s workshop? Why?”

2) What is the most important thing that you’d like to take home from today’s workshop?

3) Do you have an experience on the subject that you’d like to share?

  Tuesday

2.1 Experiment with Light Rex Ambler, a British Quaker, uses George Fox's writings to articulate a meditation technique based on the early Friends.  Many Quaker "Light Groups" have formed using his book, Light to Live By; An Exploration in Quaker Spirituality.  After a brief explanation of the method, we will practice it.

---Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups

Wednesday

3.1 A Guided Meditation to Experience God's Love and Grace This meditation is based mostly on the teachings of Edgar Cayce and John van Auken’s Spiritual Breakthrough.  This is combined with Bible passages and quotes from mystics George Fox, Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Julian of Norwich, Evelyn Underhill,  Hildegard of Bingen, Jewish scholars, etc.

---- Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups

Thursday

4.1 The Gathered Meeting We will worship share on the tract "The Gathered Meeting," by Thomas Kelly, a twentieth-century Quaker.

4.2 Obstacles to Reading the Bible and Different Ways to Read the Bible

4.2 Guided Meditation on the Bible In this workshop we will read passages from the Old Testament about meditation and the New Testament  that will help us to unite with God and rejoice in that union.--- Break, Tai Ji, and Worship share in small groups

Friday

5.1 " Friend, Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then…." George Fox wrote a two-page letter to Lady Claypoole addressing the basic technique about what should be going on in the mind of a Quaker.  We will learn about the principles in the letter and then be guided in a meditation based on the letter.

----Evaluations, Break, Tai Ji and worship share in small groups.

Leader Experience

I presented this workshop in 2014, 2015 and 2016. I have also presented workshops on other topics at Gatherings in 2001, 2003 and 2004.  I taught these workshops in many settings in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I  have a Masters of Divinity Degree from Earlham School of Religion (ESR) and many of these workshops I facilitated during Supervised Ministry when working on this degree.