Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Spiritual Deepening

Grounding Exercise

Videos and Podcasts

Image credit: pixabay
  1. Originally published by Sixty and Me.

  2. Watch this video, Ram Dass - Consciousness of Aging. 2 hours


    Bobadua and Ram Dass.

  3. Watch this TedX Talk video, We’re Doing Dying All Wrong15 minutes

  4. Watch this video in which an Artist Depicts Aging, Death and Reincarnation Using Face Paint1:15 minutes


    By Emma Allen. Learn more about the artist at

  5. Watch this video, Forget-Me-Not. 7 minutes. 

    The Animation Workshop.

  6. Watch this video, Dependent Origination (a Buddhist perspective on birth and death). One hour.

    Seattle Insight Meditation

  7. Watch this video, Being with Friends, an introduction to Quakerism from Friends Services for the Aging.

    From Friends Services for the Aging.

  8. Watch this TEDx video, How I Made Friends with Reality, by Emily Levine. 

    This talk was presented at an official TED conference.

  9. Watch this video of Tibetan monks using millions of grains of sand to create and then destroy a mandala at Onondaga Community College.

    Originally published by

  1. Listen to this podcast, Healing Circles: Death and Dying Workshop. 2 hours

  2. Listen to this podcast, Death, from Quaker Faith and Podcast. 40 minutes

  3. Listen to this podcast, Gray and Resilient, from 1A PodCast NPR. 48 minutes.

  4. Listen to the On Being Podcast, What Matters in the Endwith Krista Tippett and Atul Gawande. 56 minutes. 

    Copyright The On Being Project.

  5. Listen to both parts of A Conversation on Grief, Death, and Dying (37min and 42 min). As the COVID-19 infection rate continued to climb, and people we care about became ill or lost their lives as a result of the pandemic, FGC decided to talk to three Quaker chaplains about grief, death, and dying.  

  1. How to Use Grounding Quotes

    Here are some suggestions for exploring the introductory essays, texts, and videos in the Grounding section of each topic.  Be creative and consider using different processing techniques over time in order to spark the various learning styles of your participants: discussion, personal reflection, artistic expression, music, worship sharing, creative writing, and deep listening.

  2. Friendly Bible Study

    The Friendly Bible Study process applies to Scripture as well as other materials. This process is good for a group of newcomers and old-timers, allowing participants to speak about what is exciting and what is problematic about the text.

  3. Find the Truth

    Choose one idea or sentence that rings true for you.  Share with a partner an experience you have had that relates to that sentence/idea.

  4. What Do You Notice?

    Shorter variations might be:  What one phrase or idea sticks out for you?  Sit with it for a few minutes and see what rises for you.  Now journal/share with a partner.

  5. Art Response

    Draw or doodle in response to this text.  Allow yourself to be Spirit-led – what color do you want to pick up, and how do you want to use it?  This is not art for to view.  This is exploration and expression.  Alternatively, invite participants to make a visual or 3D response to the text using art materials such as clay or play dough, magazines for collage, paint, mural paper, pipe cleaners, objects from nature (acorns, feathers, grasses, flowers, seeds, bark), or building blocks or Legos. 

  6. Visit the Material in Worship

    Sit in worship with this material.  Let it work on you.  Try not to “think” about it – just let it sit on your lap and soak in.  Now, turn to your partner and share something about your visit with this text.

  7. Journaling

    Write your reaction to the text, how it applies to your life today, what you’re grappling with, or what you’re grateful for.  Use one of the General Questions for Reflection or free-write.  In general, journal writing is kept confidential.

  8. Set it to Music

    If you have a group that is willing to be creative, break into small groups and ask each group to write a tune for the quotation or an excerpt (or assign a different quotation to each group).  Tunes are a great way to “memorize” quotations so that they will stick with you.  Check out Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong for some beautiful examples.

  9. Homework

    Share a quotation, introductory essay, QuakerSpeak video link, or set of quotations with group participants.  In preparation for the next Spiritual Deepening group session, give the participants some “homework” to do.  This could include:

    • reflecting on the text during their daily spiritual practice or during Meeting for Worship
    • journaling about their response to the text
    • rewriting the message in their own words
    • writing a prayer about the topic
    • finding a song, object, or image that represents to them the theme of the message
    • creating a piece of art that illustrates their response

    As part of your next group sessions, invite participants to share or report back on their homework assignment.

  10. Worship Sharing

    Settle into worship and invite participants to speak into the silence and share their thoughts about a query.  Craft a query directly related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.  A more detailed description of worship sharing can be found here

  11. Group Brainstorm

    Ask a question that will elicit one-word answers or short phrases.  On a flipchart paper, record the responses as participants share.  Consider questions such as: What word stands out to me in this text? What feelings arise in my body as I consider this message?  What question do I want to ask Spirit about this message?  Invite participants to comment on what they notice about the brainstorm list.

  12. Writing Prompts

    Invite participants to briefly contemplate the material and then respond to a writing prompt.  Create a prompt specifically related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.

  13. Pair-Share or Triads

    Divide the group into pairs or sets of three to discuss the material.  Return to a large group and share any themes that arose.

  14. Group Discussion

    Ask a question directly related to the text or choose one of the General Questions for Reflection.

  15. Make it Personal

    Rewrite the meaning of the material in your own words or to reflect contemporary society and language.

  16. General Questions for Reflection:

    • How is the Divine/Truth/Love speaking to me through this text?
    • What experience in my life reflects the message of this text?
    • What do I have to learn from this message?
    • What resonates with me in this quotation?
    • What stands out to me in this text?
    • What surprised me about this message?
    • What questions arise about my life as I contemplate this message?
    • What canst thou say?  (What do I have to say in response to this message?)
    • What feelings arise in my body as I consider this message?
    • An image that comes to mind as I listen to this quotation is…
    • Where is the growing edge for me around this issue?
    • If I could rephrase this message in my own words, I would say…
    • This Truth tastes like… (smells like… sounds like… feels like… looks like….)
    • In relation to this topic, I used to be.…., but now I’m ……
    • I’d like to ask Spirit / the Universe / God / the Inward Teacher ……. about this message.
    • The point on my spiritual journey when this idea has been most alive in me was…