Online discussion groups

N.B. The discussion groups will be changing their format from August 2017, though the details are still under discussion. Please contact Robert (at) middlewaysociety.org for more information if you are interested in the discussion group, rather than booking under the present system. 

Online group discussion using Skype video or audio conference allows you to get beyond written text on the internet and engage in direct discussion with others interested in the theory and practice of the Middle Way. This is also the main way we have at present of bringing together members in different parts of the world. Discussion is led by Robert M Ellis, but anybody in the group will be able to share their own thinking and experience in relation to the issues.

There are two ongoing discussion groups: an introductory group and a regulars’ group. There will be a new introductory group starting on Sunday 4th Sept 2016 at 7pm UK time, and alternate Sundays at the same time thereafter. The regulars’ group will continue from Sun 11th Sept 2016 at 7pm UK time, and alternate Sundays at the same time thereafter.

The two groups will be running on alternate Sundays (with some exceptions), so if you join one of these groups you would be meeting for a 1 hour discussion once every two weeks. You do not necessarily have to commit to attending absolutely all the sessions, but it will be helpful if you can have read the chapter or watched the video linked to sessions you have missed before the next session.

The introductory group will be open to anyone interested in exploring Middle Way thinking, regardless of previous experience. This group will be using the introductory videos on Middle Way Philosophy as a stimulus for discussion (starting with video 1), so you will need to have watched the video beforehand and made some notes about your questions or responses to it. The pages with these videos on the website will also have some stimulus questions and recommended reading added.

The regulars’ group will be open to people with some prior experience of the approach – for example, those who attended discussion groups or objectivity training already, or who have been on a society retreat, or who have already read ‘Migglism’ or ‘Truth on the Edge’ and feel comfortable with the approach introduced there. This group will be using sections from Robert’s more detailed ‘Middle Way Philosophy’ series as a study base, starting with the first volume, Middle Way Philosophy 1: The Path of Objectivity, and then moving onto the other volumes.

If you wish to participate in either of these groups, please let Robert know either by submitting the form below, or by emailing him). If you have not used Skype before, please go to www.skype.com and install it on your computer (it’s free). Robert will send you a contact request on Skype that you will need to respond to before the first session. You will need a microphone and speakers (or headphones) and preferably a webcam on your computer or mobile device. Please use headphones if possible, as this helps to cut down background noise (which tends to multiply in multi-point Skype calls). Please be online and on Skype by 7pm to join the discussion, but wait for Robert to connect with you together with the other participants.

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9 thoughts on “Online discussion groups

  1. Re my non-involvement on 17th December’s discussion, I have problems with Skype here, possibly due to my desk-top computer being rather old. I can talk on Skype but the sound is distorted for listeners, and although I’ve got a webcam that works, it doesn’t work with Skype.

    I’ve had several on-line group discussions world-wide using Skype in the past, but my PC doesn’t seem able to keep up with advances in technology, perhaps because of its ‘built-in obsolescence’.

    I would like to join in with discussions, but that may have to wait until I get a new PC or tablet ( which might be “when Nelson gets his eye back” as my mother is fond of saying. I bet that derives from a good way back in time, but my mother is 97).

      1. Hi Robert,
        I didn’t book a slot, because I had already shared a podcast with Barry, secondly, I don’t have the confidence yet, to be able to chat, I am still feeling my way towards answers to the questions you pose. I still think discussion groups are a good plan, I very much enjoyed the discussions that came after the retreats talks, so for now, I will be a listener only.

  2. I really like the idea of discussion groups, though perhaps they are most meaningful if there are a few participants. I have been having issues with Skype but they seem sorted now; I had to reinstall Skype completely because we had updated our operating system to a new version. I find that when sound is distorted, it is often due to a slow connection. It s possible to Skype on a phone, so that might be a possibility for you Peter.

  3. Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for feedback. Norma, I don’t know if you’re assuming that the discussion groups will be recorded, but that needn’t be the case, and we will certainly consult all involved before recording anything. Also, Peter, we could work on audio only if that’s better for you.

    I hope we might get a slightly better showing for the next session arranged for 8th Dec!

  4. Thanks to all who made supportive comments and offered help re Skype.

    I intend to update my ‘hardware’ in the new year. Meanwhile I’ll join discussions using voice only.

    Norma, I’d advise joining live conversations even if you don’t want to talk much or don’t feel confident to do so. These discussions aren’t Brains Trusts, they’re non-competitive, informal, friendly, and it soon becomes apparent that we’re all as unsure of anything as each other, and as we just spin out what’s at the forefront of our dimly lit grey matter (with lots of “Er…s” and “ah…s” and Um…s”) our relationships take on a different, homely characteristic, which can be really nice, and surprisingly productive.

    I’d be a bit disappointed not to hear your voice and sense your presence……:)

    Peter ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Norma, I can relate to the feeling of having a lack of confidence. It is easier to write on the website and comment there because one has the luxury of being able to think things through carefully and then editing if it doesn’t come out quite right.

    I would very much appreciate having you in the discussion, but of course you need to feel comfortable ๐Ÿ™‚ Just know that I am nervous about it too!

  6. Hi,

    I find the idea of this style of communication terrifying! It’s nice to know that others do too – isn’t it strange how we can take comfort from the discomfort of others! As Emilie says it is easier to write on a forum – I don’t even feel comfortable speaking on the phone to close friends and family.

    It looks like I should be able to join in this time, but I will probably end up not saying very much, or on the other extreme I might start gibbering incoherently and butting in at inappropriate moments. I will try to strike a balance between the two :).

    Rich

    1. Thank you all for your encouragement, it does wonders to be aware that we are in same boat, to a greater or lesser degree! I’ll book a slot on 8 December, and enjoy joining in. Preparation before hand will give me a little more confidence to speak.

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