Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Spiritual Deepening

Grounding Exercise

Videos and Podcasts

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  1. Watch this QuakerSpeak video, Listening Each Other into Wholeness. 4 minutes.

    O talks about being heard in a way that your heart is actually touched. Have you ever felt listened to in this way? What did it feel like?

    How do we speak in a way “that facilitates healing, that facilitates blessing, that facilitates wholeness, that facilitates creative possibility for integration?”

    Original video and discussion questions from A project of Friends Journal. Filmed and edited by Jon Watts.

  2. Watch this QuakerSpeak video, Quakers, Racism, and the Blessed Community, with Vanessa Julye.

    Part of white supremacy culture, Vanessa says, is “its invisibility to European-Americans in this country, because if you don’t see a structure and feel that that is normal, then there’s no need to change it.” What would it take for European-Americans to peel back the veil and what changes would happen if they could see what Vanessa is talking about?


    Queries: From Paul Ricketts' essay "Move in Our Midst" which appeared in the March 2017 issue of Friends Journal. Reprinted/republished with permission. 

    How is God moving in our midst today?

    How do we strike from our feet the fetters of idolatries of racism and white supremacy that bind us?

    How do we keep our activism and work toward justice anchored in our spirituality?  What spiritual tools have been helpful to you in your work toward justice?

    Original video and discussion questions from A project of Friends Journal. Filmed and edited by Jon Watts.

  3. Watch this QuakerSpeak video, The Kingdom of God.

    What’s your idea of the Kingdom of God?

    Do you find either the words “kingdom” or “God” to be troublesome? Why or why not?

    Original video and discussion questions from A project of Friends Journal. Filmed and edited by Jon Watts.

  1. Settle into a comfortable position or find an hour of quiet time in your day and listen to this On Being audio story about the rehumanizing power, transformational potential, and spiritual grounding of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

    Black Lives Matter co-founder and artist Patrisse Cullors presents a luminous vision of the spiritual core of Black Lives Matter and a resilient world in the making. She joins Dr. Robert Ross, a physician and philanthropist on the cutting edge of learning how trauma can be healed in bodies and communities. A cross-generational reflection on evolving social change.

    The Spiritual Work of Black Lives Matter

    As you listen to the conversation, pay attention to how your Inward Teacher may be stirring you to learn, respond, grow, join, transform, reframe, or step into love.  What speaks to you?  

    How might the wisdom of Black Lives Matter teach you as an individual?  What wisdom can the Black Lives Matter movement offer for the transformative work of your spiritual community?

    The speakers raise many issues related to the theme of Beloved Community, ending with the question, Where are you finding your hope?

    Used by Permission of On Being with Krista Tippett,

  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.

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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. 

    Visit the Text 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.


    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.

    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. 


    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.

    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

    Lectio Divina

    Treat the quotation as a holy text and pay attention to how it speaks to you.  Learn more about the Lectio Divina process

    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.

    Writing Prompts

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

    Pair-Share or Triads

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

    Group Discussion

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

    Make it Personal

    Rewrite the quote in your own words or to reflect contemporary society and language.

    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…