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Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

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Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Albina » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:19 pm

Hi everyone,

I've been trying to figure out a way to connect with local Vedanta folks. It would be great to be able to form a group that meets on a regular basis locally. I'm thinking of watching/listening to Ramji's (and his students) talks together, reading and discussing Shining World satsangs and may be wrapping up with contemplative meditation.

I thought this would be a great place to start:)

If you're interested in meeting locally, please post your city and state (country, if applicable).

I'll start:)

I live in El Dorado Hills, CA (near Sacramento)
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:14 pm

Hi Albina,

I think you might be luckier asking in the facebook group of Friends of James Swartz.

In general, I recommend using social media for Q&A, simply because there are not many people actually out there who know and study Vedanta.

Love,
Georg
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Albina » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:32 pm

Thank you very much for your advice, Georg. I appreciate very much everything you do. It was truly wonderful meeting you in Berkeley.

Love,
Albina
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby eadenshantay » Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:54 pm

Hi Albina,

I started a Vedanta study group in Carbondale, CO. We follow James' book Essence chapter by chapter, often spending two or three sessions on each chapter. We are 10 months in now and just finished chapter 11. We meet the first and third Thursday of every month from noon-1:30. Some leave early as they need to return to work.

I facilitate the group and come prepared with an introduction on the topics at hand and a few questions to contemplate and stimulate discussion. The process has been wonderful and I have learned so much through my preparation and sharing. It also becomes very clear what I don't know which then inspires me to inquire deeper into those topics.

We have 6 committed regulars and another 8-10 that float in and out. I highly recommend this process. It's been absolutely wonderful. I am not sure if we'll cycle back through Essence when we complete or take up Ted's recent book, Self Knowledge, which is my leaning.

I also created a virtual study group on Facebook called Dharma Talk, A Vedanta Study Group for those that can't attend so that they may stay connected. Others not in our vicinity have joined this group just out of interest and there has been a request for a podcast from someone out of state which we don't presently do. I also have an email list because not everyone is on Facebook. I send an email the Monday before each group with a synopsis of what we'll be exploring. I then make postings on FB when I feel inspired.

If you have any thoughts or questions about our process, please share.

Blessings on your inquiry, Eaden
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Mira » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:47 pm

Hi Eaden,

Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like you have a wonderful group. How fortunate for those in the Carbondale area.

I was wondering if a similar idea might work on the forum. Where we all read, say one chapter per month of a SW book, and then on a certain week (or maybe all month long) there would a discussion, where people shared their insights on the chapter or how they are applying the particular teachings to their lives.

I don't know if it will work within the format of a forum. But thought I would put it out there in case you or Stan were interested in leading a discourse like that :D. I'd love to do the Yoga of Love book or perhaps Ted's book since I've not read either one yet.

Cheers! Mira
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:20 pm

Hi Mira,

I love your idea of having a study/discussion group on the forum of the type mentioned by Eaden. (below). I found Eaden`s work in setting up such a group very inspiring and so worthwhile....a real blessing to all the inquirers involved in the group.

I like the idea of monthly intervals re getting together as it gives everyone time for participation. I myself am not always free to involve myself online due to a bout of illnesses and other commitments BUT, within even a busy month, I would find time to be involved in reading, discussing, asking and posing questions and sharing knowledge...or doubts !

I feel confident that if Asked, Arlindo would participate to the degree of his available time. that would be a real asset. If we did Ted`s book, we could ask him for some occasional participation.
If this took off, between Georg and myself, we could ask James and Sundari for some occasional participation. I feel confident having spoken to them concerning the forum, that within time constraints, they would occasionaly participate.

If we proceeded, we could make a new permanent forum section called `Study Group` or something similar. It could run permanently as we cycle through all the books and teachings. Like Eaden, we could make our presence known concerning the study group on facebook and invite participants to join us on the forum.

I have other thoughts about this and they concern Eadens already running study group.
Would it be a good idea to amalgamate and make a larger, more widespread study group ?
Would Eaden even think that it would be a practical or even desirable idea ? It would not be good if we attracted the same participants and `diluted` his study group.

I`m just thinking out loud here. Eadens study group is a great idea to emulate as it would give us some more structure for inquiry, learning and sharing as a community where we all support each other.

Where to start ? I guess first of all...talk to Eaden and get his thoughts about this.
secondly, sound out as to who would be interested. this could be done via the forum and facebook. if not many people express interest, we could just start out anyway and if people like what they see, they will no doubt join in to whatever degree suits them.

I know you`re interested Mira. i`m up for it, so here is the question....

Would anybody like to join our proposed study group ? If so, please let us know and tell us what you would hope to see in the study group. All ideas welcome !
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:32 pm

Hi Eaden,

Having read your recent post, two things you said regarding study groups has struck me.
You said...

I highly recommend this process. It's been absolutely wonderful.

and
If you have any thoughts or questions about our process, please share.


I loved what you shared with us and am inspired and impressed by your devotion. Thank you for all you do.

Eaden, could you please read my post addressed to Mira and give us your thoughts and comments of what was said there ?
We would not want to `cut into` your group but you are more experienced than we are with study groups. Your advive would be gratefully received.

Thanks Eaden, blessings to you.
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Mira » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:33 pm

Hi Stan,
I am also looking forward to Eaden's advice.

In the meantime I had some ideas that I thought I might share:

-Like you, I think the idea of a month for each chapter is good. It will allow the time for serious reflection and curb the rajasic tendencies to skip to the next chapter (these Vedanta texts are such page turners after all :lol:).

-Since we don't know which book we plan to take on, I thought up some generic questions:

-What was the most important teaching(s) of this chapter for you?

-How are the teachings of this chapter relevant in your life?

-How will you apply the teachings of this chapter to your life?

-Can you share your own insights about the teachings in this chapter?

-Do you have any doubts about the teachings in this chapter?

-Was any portion not entirely clear (this would only be to provide feedback to the author for future editions or future books)

-What are some quotes you particularly liked in this chapter? Why?


-I also thought it might be useful to have a little something at the start of the discussion that reminded us to enter into the discussion in the spirit of gratitude, sincerity and non-judgement. Maybe Ramji knows a prayer or chant or invocation that we could have in that section.

-If possible, the author of the book we select might consider giving us specific questions (even one per chapter) that they think would be especially relevant. It would also be useful for the author in case they wanted to add book group questions to the next edition of the book, the questions would have already been vetted by us :D.

-It would be an incredible bonus to have Arlindo or any of the teachers add to the discussion (time and energy permitting, of course).

-Discussing and writing is a great way to deepen assimilation. I also think it will be a great way to get to know other forum members better. I hope others will share their ideas for the book club too.

if not many people express interest, we could just start out anyway and if people like what they see, they will no doubt join in to whatever degree suits them.

Yup, if you build it, they will come (or some such ;))

Thanks again, Stan for all your efforts, especially given your time and health constraints. You are a wonderful moderator :D.
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Postby Rick » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:14 am

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Last edited by Rick on Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Mira » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:56 am

Good suggestions, Rick. I like the idea of adding links etc.. and it would really make it a useful repository of information on a particular topic.

Stan, should we just start with Ted's book? It's likely the book that most people will not yet have read since it's only been out a few months.
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Albina » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:28 am

Dear Eaden, Stan, Mira, and Rick, thank you so much for your effort and participation regarding the study group idea. Online study group/book club sounds wonderful and I'm very interested. Mira, either of the books you offered would be a great choice, in my opinion. I'm very much looking forward to it. Please let me know what I can do to help set it up.
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:43 am

Hi Everybody,

I`ve not replied quickly to what`s been said here as I thought that this `study group` topic could do with some longer exposure.
Not everybody checks in regularly and there is also the possibility of new people showing up.

I think we`ve got some great ideas lined up here and i`ve emailed teacher Arlindo to see if he would participate in the group albeit within his free time constraints. I`ve sent him a link to this forum page so he can see what we`re discussing exactly.
i`ve got my fingers crossed for an ok.

If we study Ted`s `Self Knowledge` book, i`ll be getting in touch with him to see if we can ask him questions regarding points raised in his book.

Taking Ted`s book aside, I think that we could ask James and Sundari an occasional question. It would be great to get their input now and again. I feel sure a really good pertinent question would get a responce. i`ll sound out Sundari first...working on the premise that it`s better to ask Mom first before Pop if you really want something. Ha ha ....

My thinking is that it would be a good idea to get our thoughts together as to which way we want to jump regarding the first topic and then also show the proposal on our facebook page.

There are loads of people that view that page and there`s a good chance that some would like to participate. I think it might be useful to show our forthcoming project there and give it a week or so to see who shows up.

Hopefully , our friend Georg who runs our Facebook site can do the honours with announcing the project. we just need to be clear about the details. Thanks Albina for offering your help in setting things up. let`s see what pans out.

The other thing I wanted to mention is about not wishing to duplicate what Eaden is doing with his project. there`s no point in diluting his efforts by studying the same book at the same time, for instance. If we don`t hear from him in the near future, I will ask him whether our group would impact on his and how we can avoid doing so.

So, ..at the moment, we`re awaiting Arlindo`s reply. perhaps in the meantime we can decide on what book, teaching etc, we want to start with first ? we can take things from there. It`s all up for discussion at this stage so all suggestions are welcome !
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Andrew » Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:58 am

Hi Stan,

Been meaning to reply to this. I think a group study would be really great and look forward to participating.

As for book selection, "Essence" makes the most sense seeing as the forum is principally formatted for its study. In the future, new visitors will find detailed threads on each chapter and sub themes within the chapter which will be like additional satsangs.

However, I am open to whatever and am happy to get and read Ted's book too as I dont have it yet but thought that we may as well utilize the existing forum structure.

Best wishes,

Andrew
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:47 am

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your reply...it`s great to have your participation on the study group.

I see that your choice of topic/teaching is the `Essence` book. that`s ok with me. we have to agree on something and the Essence book is ok with me. we might end up as a minority though. for me, it doesn`t matter one way or the other.

I would like to say something about the connection between the book and how the forum is laid out though.
You said...

As for book selection, "Essence" makes the most sense seeing as the forum is principally formatted for its study


Well, yes and no. the forum is laid out in line with and supporting the `Essence` book and in another way it isn`t.

The Essence of Enlightenment` book is not laid out in accordance with how James interprets or views vedanta. in other words, it`s not `his` teaching. you might have heard him making this point.

The book is laid out in the strict order that vedanta is taught. It is always taught that way and it is never changed. It needs to be taught in a very definite order of logic for it to work it`s magic in removing self Ignorance.

For this reason, Ted`s book, if read straight after James` , seems very familiar but not quite the same.
It uses the same order of teaching. "what do I want?, qualifications, etc. The order does not change and that is why the forum is arranged in the same order. There is only the one order to the layout of James` book, Ted`s book and anybody elses and the order of the forum. The order of the teaching of vedanta.

For that reason, it doesn`t matter if you read James` book first or Ted`s. It`s the same teaching with a slightly different slant. You might call it a satsang about James` book. in that case, James` book would be a satsang on the vedanta teaching.
I really like what you said here ....

In the future, new visitors will find detailed threads on each chapter and sub themes within the chapter which will be like additional satsangs.


It`s amazing how many words are spent on saying you are...whole and complete, limitless, unborn, non-dual awareness/existence. as the great Mahavakya goes..."You are that ! " All the rest is satsang and don`t we just love it ! :-)
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Mira » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:04 am

I'm fine with Essence. The only two SW books I own are HTAE and Panchadasi. So I'm fine with any book really.

I wonder if it's possible to create a poll with the possible books and then people can vote on their choice. I tried to do that but could not find a 'create poll' button on the forum.

Good idea to give this topic more exposure too.

Also, wanted to add my welcome to Albina and thanks for starting this thread in the first place! :D.
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Albina » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:05 am

Thank you for the warm welcome, Mira. Either book sounds good to me. Creating a poll is a great idea. May be it will allow us to finalize our choice. Since we can't create a poll here, perhaps we can use a link for people to take a poll somewhere else,and create a poll at the following website for example http://www.poll-maker.com
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Andrew » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:00 pm

Hi Stan,

Good point. "Essence" is formatted in Vedanta order in James' words. Ted's book is Vedanta order in Ted's words :)

I have no preference. Is there anyone who has read both books and, if so, do they have any thoughts on which they prefer to start with?

Otherwise, given that Stan is "forum boss", he can wield his executive power and flip a coin!

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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:28 am

Good news folks !

Message from Arlindo...

I am in my friend. Very good idea. let's see if we find enough interest out there. Much love


So we`ll have Arlindo`s participation. this is looking good !
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Stan » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:18 am

@ Albina,

Hi Albina, i`d like to give you a big welcome too. :-) thank you for your great suggestion as regards the study group. judging by what Eaden has said, it should be a highly fruitful enterprise and much appreciated.

You may have noticed that we have a poll function operating now. apologies to all for the delay but it took me forever to find it and set it up. I`m not at all knowledgeable about forums and am learning as I go. now if I could just find if we could set up a spell checker .....

@ Andrew...

Otherwise, given that Stan is "forum boss", he can wield his executive power and flip a coin!


Should have no need for the `executive coin` now we`ve got the poll facility.
" forum boss` indeed ! Ha ha ....

@ Mira

Hi Mira, I thought all your suggestions were top notch ! we could even add in links to relevant videos. i`m going to try and see if it`s possible to edit out small sections of the teaching videos and use those to back up points made in the study group.

Thanks again, Stan for all your efforts, especially given your time and health constraints. You are a wonderful moderator :D.


Actually Mira, I think you would make a better moderator than I do but as Ramji would say, appreciation is always appreciated. :-)
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Re: Where Do You Live? Interested in Local Study Groups?

Postby Albina » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:44 am

Thank you Stan for your kindness and for all your input into organizing this group. You're very much appreciated.
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