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The Essential Teaching Workshop

The Essential Teaching Workshop (ETW)helps you understand your own experience of Christian meditation in the light of a greater tradition as well as through the experience of others with whom you share the journey.

The Essential Teaching Workshop is presented in national communities. If you are interested in participating in an ETW or would like to help in presenting one, please contact your national coordinator. 

Participants in the ETW have found it an inspiring and energizing experience, by encountering the richness of the tradition within a real community. 

It is ideally  a residential weekend experience with presentations on the mystical tradition, the specific roots of this practice of meditation and the stages of the journey.

Participants also learn that one way to deepen their own journey is to share the gift of meditation with others. Different ways of doing this are presented in an interactive and friendly way. Each participants receives a copy of the book Sharing the Gift with its varied resources compiled from many people’s experience of teaching meditation in different contexts. Studying this will enhance a group leader’s  knowledge of the tradition with ‘things new and old’. 

The style of the weekend is relaxed, informative and engaging. Friendships often form during an ETW which enriches the lives of the participants for years to come.   

  • How to help facilitate an ETW

If you would like to help facilitate an ETW locally please contact your national coordinator. It takes time to prepare and spread the word among those who have already started meditating in this tradition. 

By participating in the preparation and presentation of the workshop you will find the support and friendship of the community in new ways. To be part of the leadership team of an ETW is an enriching experience. By sharing the gift, the gift becomes more alive.

With others, you will also understand better what John Main meant when he said ‘meditation creates community’. The ETW is one of the most fruitful and effective ways to see how personal experience and the tradition interweave.

  • The ETW Handbook

This handbook is a detailed guide to all aspects of putting on an ETW including planning, preparing and presentation. The materials referred in the book may be downloaded below.

  • Downloads

Below you will find digital downloadable versions of all resources and appendices listed in the book, Essential Teaching Weekend. 

Appendix 1

1.1 Timetable

The Timetable should be included in the Liturgy Booklet that each participant will receive. Additional copies of the Timetable will be needed for placing at various locations at the venue as may be helpful. 

1.2 Budget

Ideally, the Budget should cover all the costs and even provide a small profit for the community.

1.3 Notice

Prepare a Notice to be given to all group leaders to share with their groups. Suggest that group leaders discuss the Notice individually with members of their group who they think are ready to participate in an ETW.

1.4 Invitation Letter

The Invitation Letter should be adapted depending on whether it is planned to follow Alternative 1 or Alternative 2 for the Workshop on Practice Talks on Saturday afternoon.

1.5 Enrollment Form

After the Enrollment Forms are returned, a Participants List should be prepared. The list should include the contact details, dietary requirements and other relevant information for each participant.

1.6 Final Letter

Final letter to be sent to participants.

1.7 Reflection Sheet

A copy of the Reflection Sheet is needed for each participant.

1.8 Evaluation Sheet

Appendix 2

2. Liturgy Booklet 

Prepare and print the Liturgy Booklet for each participant.  In addition, a copy of the Gospel of the Sunday will be needed for each participant. If the Gospel reading is long, choose a short passage from it. Each participant will need also a copy of the Notes on Lectio Divina.

Appendix 3

3. Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is reading with the eye of your heart and listening with the ear of your heart. Prepare for lectio in a similar way to how you prepare for your practice of meditation.

Appendix 4

4.1 Tradition Timeline

The Timeline is made of several A4 sheets of paper taped together to form one long sheet. The years 250, 500, 750, 1000, 1250, 1500, 1750, 1900, 2000 and the current year are written along the sheet to form the Timeline.

4.2 Timeline Cards

Each card has a quote from a significant mystic or contemplative teacher from the time of Jesus over the centuries to the present day. It is best if the cards are printed on thick colored paper or cardboard.

Appendix 5

5.1 From Cassian to Main

5.2 History of the Tradition

Appendix 6

6. The Essential Teaching

Appendix 7

7.1 Stages of the Journey

7.2 The Spiritual Journey

Appendix 8

8. Ox Herder Pictures

Appendix 9

9. Reading List

  • Additional Resources
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