The process of leading other people - in anything - is at best double edged. First of all, people are not robots and second, each person has a slightly different meaning for the words they use. This ambiguity becomes amplified when you start to train your staff.
I sent the following question out to some of the most able Enlightenment Intensive leaders I know of and they responded with wonderful guidance. First, here was my question:
Subject: The Delicate process of being a Senior Monitor
In preparing myself as E.I. Facilitator and re-working my web site, a delicate issue came up. The process of correcting technique errors for me a complex process. Perhaps I am just afraid of it? I don't see any pat answers here. I placed the following on my web site - under E.I. and under E.I. Support People.
If you have experienced monitors that understand "tracking," they are called "Senior Monitors." To "track" a participant, you need to know in detail how the enlightenment technique is done, and how to correct technique errors. Before lunch on the first day of an Intensive, the senior monitors will decide who will be in charge of tracking which participants. A good senior monitor is not afraid of invading the privacy of the dyad. The key is to squarely face, with gentle and natural movements, the contact with each and every participant you suggest a technique improvement to. Needless to say, this is extremely difficult. It usually requires many hours of practice and training. Don't get personally involved in your desire to be a Senior Monitor. It is up to the facilitator to decide if you are up to the job.
Each facilitator is different in how they want to run their Intensive, respect this difference. It allows us as a group to go beyond the mental process of running an Intensive. It must be done from the heart. For me (Bill Savoie) I prefer to correct participants' techniques in the lecture period. It can be very damaging to be singled out, it often re-stimulates participants feelings of being attacked and they feel the need to defend themselves and explain their intentions. That in it self changes their direction from abandon search for personal truth, to a "reasonable" search for justice.
If a correction to the technique is called for, say a person is trip-laying. I usually approach the person between dyads with a gentle interaction. Of course one can not use "rules" because truth must be served without compromise. By that I mean one must do the right thing in that moment. Some acts need to be corrected immediately. But as a Monitor or Facilitator recognize that people are very open to your suggestions, which is understandable but unfortunate. To reach the truth, they must do it alone. To "follow" your guidance can often get in the way of their own Enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a rational indirect experience. Sorry, you can't help that much! (We do love your willingness to try - but see the bigger picture and don't. (To help your feelings: just surrender to love - and be open to what you least expect: amazement))
Please, I ask for your best guess on this.
What do you think 1) about the truth of what I present. 2) any misunderstanding I may harbor about participant interactions. I know that Edrid can do things that I can not. In the past as a participant I have had great problems with monitors, so is it just me? Where do you stand on this tough issue? I suspect that people are all over the map on this issue -and that each one is "right on". It may be more heart than head, and more personal than what can be contained in a "rule." It may be wrong for me to do what Edrid does easily. I may just have to live with that.
Osha Reader replied with
"I usually don't divide up participants, on the principle that many heads are better than one in knowing what kind of guidance might help a given participant. I like giving the participants the opportunity to work with any staff person who can be helpful to them. This also covers everyone when staff members are on breaks.
I agree that harsh or aggressive monitoring is counterproductive. Some masters fall into this, especially in their first few Intensives, when they are maybe doubting their own ability to lead the Intensive or fearful of losing control of the group. I agree that the best monitoring is done with sensitivity and from the heart. There's no need to be pushy. It just makes people defensive.
My personal guideline is to break into a dyad for major errors only, like trip-laying, speaking out of turn, intruding uninvited into a partner's physical space, etc. I think things that could damage other participants need to be stopped gently but firmly, and immediately, without getting plugged into our own cases. In the case of trip-laying, which can quickly destroy an Intensive, I break in and stop it as soon as I'm aware it's happening by simply saying to the trip layer, "Speak only about yourself" or "Communicate without referring to your partner." That usually takes care of it. I'm also careful to make it clear in the talks what trip-laying is and why people have to be protected from it. My personal style is to touch the partner I'm correcting and make direct eye contact with them, then wait to make sure they understand, rather than throwing commands at them. I've never had this arouse resistance in people.
I always tell people that they are the only ones who can feel their way through their personal obstacles to enlightenment. They are responsible for making their best effort, and in the end, enlightenment is through the grace of God." (In our job as facilitators and monitors) "we do need to maintain an environment of order and safety so that their chances are maximized. I think the important thing is to cut into a dyad without hesitation if one participant is saying or doing something that could damage another. Otherwise, it can usually be discussed individually in the break or addressed to the group before the start of the next dyad or in the lecture."
Osha, I find your answers very helpful. I think I need to be more active in guidance, although all the Intensives so far have been a great success. I am always looking for a better Intensive. I love your gentle way which is so natural. I think your words will help more than just me. Love to you and yours.. Bill Savoie
Jake Chapman provided the following answer;
Monday, March 16, 1998 4:22 AM (Jake is in England)
"Bill, As you say there is scope for a lot of difference in the way that people monitor and run EIs. Over the years I have learned that it is important to make immediate corrections for clear rule violations - and trip laying is the number one rule. So as soon as a person refers to any other participant I or a monitor interrupt the dyad and correct it. We will also interrupt for touching, referring to what the partner has recently communicated, listening partner not paying attention or responding in any way, or breaking the dyad by, for example. walking around instead of sitting in place. People do feel confronted by these immediate corrections - but it is their mind that is confronted and the real person actually feels safer because they know the environment is being policed and the rules enforced. I also ask my monitors to make sure to speak individually to all the new participants by dinner on day 1. This is to make contact, offer reassurance and correct the grossest technique errors (and there are usually more than one). By the same time on day 2 I require all participants to have been spoken to and all technique errors corrected by these one-to-one interviews. Again when people see it happening to everyone they do not feel singled out but instead feel supported.
Of course I also correct technique errors in lectures. But here there is a serious problem. Some people talk too much, some people are shy and contemplate too much. How can you give corrections to these people at the same time? Also some of the weird additions people make to the technique are so unique that they are never discovered outside the personal interview.
Finally I do not have senior monitors. All my monitors are engaged with the participants. The group is usually 20-24 participants and for this I have two monitors and a cook and we operate as a team - but with my role as being that of Master. It works.
Hope this is of some use, Jake"
Thank you, Jake, for your help. Your experience shines a light on how one can approach this. I think you have a very valid approach. You get around the process of single acts by having many of them. That diffuses the toxic embarrassment, and at the same time cleans up everyone together. I would love to see one of your Intensives when it is in the third day. That is when you can really tell if the cook has the right amount of salt - the air gets thick with sweet truth and shared dignity. I want to share this kind of information, so I took the liberty of sending it out to others..
Thanks.. Love to you and yours.. Bill Savoie
As any of you who read these web pages know - I have great respect and admiration for Edrid. His answer was short and sweet;
Just do what works. For some, hands off. For others, hands on. Edrid
Lawrence Noyes is a wonderful expert on Enlightenment Intensives - having taught many facilitators including myself. His reply is;
Senior Monitoring is a powerful spiritual practice. It calls upon the
monitor to find the place of love and contact mixed with correct direction and guidance, applied to a wide variation of people and situations. I respect anybody who has taken on that job. Just like the master does, a Senior Monitor has to come to terms with the paradox of giving all-channel support combined with non-attachment. Because with enlightenment, the participants have to do it alone, and they can't do it alone.
There are many different styles of monitoring I have seen be effective, there does not seem to be one fixed way to be. An active style can be effective but runs the risk of over-monitoring. A non-interventionist style can also be effective but there is the risk of under-monitoring. Welcome to life. Some of the problem is not enough EIs are given. People have limited opportunity to get experience and balance their training with reality, eventually developing their own true way. For example, there is a big difference in working with newcomers and working with experienced people. There is an art to trying to align with the masters style, which vary quite a bit around the world.
I agree that one potential problem area is breaking into a dyad. If it's
not done well, the person can feel violated. Then they don't hear the correction even if it's right. But when it is done well, it works. There is a way to do it when the universe is calling for it to be done. I don't always achieve it but if one really decides to learn from the mistakes and improve, there is progress.
There is one aspect to all this I've noticed, that is seldom discussed: a
monitoring mistake sometimes makes a positive difference. Sometimes it jolts people out of their fixidity. Somehow the contact gets through anyway. Sometimes it's like some weird karmic thing that has to happen in the grand unfoldment, as if the monitor is unknowingly filling some unconscious demand on the participant's part. These so-called wrong things seem to be part of the fabric of what has to happen. I'm not promoting them, this is just an observation.
I think in probably every EI there is a combination of things that were
done well and things that were not done well, but the EI marches on anyway. I think this is a microcosm of the human condition, and a deeper expression of our real love.
The best Senior Monitoring I personally ever got in dyads was just love and contact from the monitors. I felt them being there for me. Outside dyads, it was their genuinely receiving what I had to share with them that really helped, more than their advice. I also got important advice from masters at crucial times when I went up and asked for it. But there are usually some people who really need more personal guidance, sometimes right when they are working in dyads. These folks don't ask for help. They tend to spin their wheels in a kind of parallel universe as the EI takes off around them. They need to be supported on breaks. Yes, in some of these cases, active monitoring just bounces right off of them and they go home never to be seen again. But sometimes you can help such a person get on track and they go on to like EIs. So I would say that with monitoring, if we settle stylistically into one extreme or the other, problems develop.
Appropriateness in all the situations is harder, but we seem to keep
asking it of each other that we get there.
Lawrence, your words heal my soul. I love the way you say certain things. I would like to add your comments to my web page if that is OK. I think others can benefit. The reason - I think - this subject is so hard - is because it is beyond the mind. It requires spiritual awareness and sensitivity that really confuses the mind. It is a high spiritual calling to meet. To me your words also ring true when it comes to new and old timers. The old timer needs more responsibility and less guidance, they often hide in the process rather than having a higher intention. They get farther from beginners mind and they get too comfortable. All channels without attachment. Wow.. To be a senior monitor is really an extension of the direction of the Intensive - into service to others. Love without requirements. One hand clapping.
Thank you .. Lawrence... From Bill Savoie
Yesterday, April 5, 1998, I finished leading my fourth Intensive. It was a wonderful and completely satisfying experience. I found that I was able to give "tough love" rather than always being soft and squeezable. It was the most loving thing to do for the person's path to truth. It also had to be done for all of the other participants. Someone was taking twice as much time as their partner in Osha's modified cycle change-over system. I was gentle but firm and I cut into the dyad. I expected a warrior reaction and I faced it down with gentle but tough love. I had to act several times, keeping track of time spend for several dyads. It was a second day offense, so there was adequate time for self-correction. Correction required my interaction. Without correction, the reality of shared love might not have surfaced as strongly as it did. I know it was a successful Intensive because everyone was having powerful experiences and the last day the room just bubbled with joy and love.
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