It’s important that this be a safe place, in which everyone feels accepted, has space for contributing, and feels at ease about participating as you learn about the Course, and in which I will be able to help you learn. To facilitate this, here are a few basic guidelines:
Zoom specific guidelines:
- Our focus will be on studying the Course through the Complete and Annotated Edition of A Course in Miracles and in the context of the Circle of Atonement’s approach of being faithful to what the Course says.
- I strongly encourage you to read the material ahead of time. While it’s not mandatory, it will be vital to your own learning experience and your ability to contribute to the group. Daily work with the Course is a bedrock part of its path. This daily work will give you far more than a once-a-week meeting can.
- We won’t be discussing other spiritual paths and teachings. This is not to imply that they are not valid or worthwhile. It is simply to keep us focused on understanding and applying the teachings of the Course. We will have our hands full with that.
- Although we will be sharing experiences and the application of the Course teachings and practices to our lives, this is not a support group. Our focus will be on the teachings, not on wanting––or offering––help with our personal situations.
- We’re here to learn and, in the process, to treat one another with kindness, respect, and “complete courtesy” (T-3.VIII.6:2), focusing on the holiness, worth, and equality of each and every one of us. Notice any judgments or criticism arising in you and do a practice, reminding yourself of who your brother really is.
- Avoid cross talk, that is:
- Speak to the whole group. Avoid addressing your comments to another person directly or talking with your neighbor.
- When someone is speaking, let the person do so without interrupting, commenting, questioning, correcting, or interjecting your own opinions.
- Monitor yourself; notice any tendency you have to want to give advice, negate the person, put down, or fix the person up. Stop and respond to the temptation by applying a Course practice.
- Please share your thoughts and your own experience, avoiding generalizing statements such as, “We all think...” or, We Course students...” “We” can’t speak for others. Our sharing is meant to be personal not generic; therefore, I encourage you to use “I” rather than “we” or “you” statements.
- In order to stay on topic, please keep your comments, questions, and sharing related to the material we’re discussing.
- If we’re getting off track, I’ll bring us back to the topic at hand. I may also remind us of a guideline as needed.
- In the interests of inclusiveness and equalizing participation, please be attentive to how much airtime you’re taking. If you tend to share often, ask yourself, “What is it for?” Is it to serve your interests or the interests of the whole group? Is it on topic and does it further the purpose of learning?
- Be fully present rather than doing other things during meeting, especially those that may be disruptive. Please turn your cell phones off.
- Please consider any personal information shared here private and confidential. This includes not sharing the link to the recordings of our meetings with anyone outside the group.
- I will start and end on time, and I request that you try to arrive on time to avoid disrupting the group. If you arrive late please join the group quietly. If possible, let me know if you will be arriving late or need to leave early.
- We will have a scheduled break halfway through the meeting. In order to avoid disrupting the meeting, please get your beverage before we start or wait until break time.
Zoom specific guidelines:
- During quiet times, I will mute you to avoid disruptive background noise. Please mute yourself if you come in after the start of the meeting and/or if there’s noise in the background.
- The chat feature will be tuned off. Chatting takes your attention away from the meeting and from what is being said, and it can foster the cross talk we want to avoid. The meeting is meant to offer you a study group experience and a sense of safety and community.
- Please use your video feature, if possible, in order to foster a sense of joining with one another. Please turn off your video feature if you are moving around or if there is other activity in the room.
- Try to treat this online meeting as you would an in-person meeting; for instance, do not text, check emails, talk on the phone, talk to others in the room, or engage in other activities.
- I encourage you to use the “raise hand” feature to get my attention and to avoid two of you trying to talk at the same time.
- I will open the meeting 15 minutes early so there can be a brief period of socializing and getting to know one another before the meeting begins.