Sharing our experiences in small groups fosters a sense of connection and compassion. It helps us understand and appreciate each other as fellow human being on the Subud spiritual path. A well-formed group becomes a sacred space—an opportunity for God’s grace and guidance to be present.
Not everyone feels comfortable sharing his/her own intimate feelings. Inner experiences are hard to put into words and can easily be misunderstood. For true openness to happen, a group has to feel safe, accepting and cohesive. Below are suggestions that are helpful in promoting real sharing.
The following group framework creates the probability that members will feel able and willing to share their experiences. The group should have:
- Around 6 members with a designated coordinator(s)
- A comfortable, private space with members sitting in a circle
- Space and time for every member to speak and share
- A focus on recent, important and personal experience—not opinions
- One person speaking at a time with no distractions, side talk or discussion
- An attitude of respect and courtesy for each other
- Each person taking responsibility for what they say, using “I” statements
- Questions asked to clarify and help understanding—not change the subject
- No pressure or need to provide solutions to problems
- Space and silence for feelings to go deeper
- Members listening from their hearts and not judging, advising or providing answers
- Confidentiality, so that no personal information is discussed outside the group either with outsiders or with group members
- Personal or group testing that arises naturally from the sharing and discussion.
Tasks of the Group Coordinator
In a group, the group coordinator(s) is responsible for:
- Opening the group with some simple guidelines for sharing
- Making sure every member says their name (and possibly their group) at the beginning
- Keeping track of time and letting members know ahead of time when the group will finish
- Setting the tone of the group by being willing to share deeply at the beginning
- Helping the group move ahead if it gets stuck, “heady” or starts discussing superficial topics
- Inviting the silent or shy members to share, and restraining talkative members from taking up too much time
- Being in service to the group: not being dominant, having an agenda or intervening too much
- Staying in touch with her/his inner feelings with a sense of trust and acceptance of whatever happens
- Tolerating and accepting differences of opinion without the need to argue or smooth things over
- Closing the group by summarizing, recapping action items and thanking everyone.