Residential Week 2: Perception
Group Objective: To explore the power of perception and introduce clients to the possibility that most of life is perspective.
Key Teaching Points: Introducing clients to the possibility that they have the ability to change their perception and therefore change their life. The group is intended to provide tools to help clients shift the deeply held beliefs that impact their wellbeing and lead to addictive tendencies.
Materials Needed: Chair and various other items, copies of handout (one per person).
Reading from Conscious Recovery: All spiritual power is based on a shift in perception, and the fundamental insight that ultimate reality, the invisible, is more powerful than relative, or visible, reality. As we grow in awareness, we develop the ability to shift how we interpret the circumstances of life and what we call reality. Our powers of perception get clearer. How much of life is perception? All of it. We each see the world through our own lens. Multiple people in the same situation will each have a different experience of it, based on the lens through which they see it. It’s not that one person sees the truth and the others are wrong. It’s that our perception colors our experience. As our understanding of this increases, our suffering diminishes. If we live as if there is a reality out there, a truth that’s external to our perception, if we’re holding on to the idea that things are happening to us, we will suffer. Suffering comes from living in duality, in the idea of a separate self, in a belief in “us” and “everyone and everything else.” From this perspective, we continue to plant the seeds of separation.
Here’s a simple way to view this: Let’s say it’s 75 degrees and sunny outside. Many people will experience that as “good weather,” as “a beautiful day.” Conversely, we tend to judge cold and wet weather as “bad weather” or “a miserable day.” What happens when we shift our perception and see sun and rain as equally suitable? A sleet storm and a cloudless sky as equally beautiful? From that modification in perception, our experience also shifts. Rather than fighting against the rain, we could appreciate its moisture. Rather than complaining about the cold, we could feel the bite, welcome the iciness, and see what is there for us to experience. In that way, we can empower ourselves to create a life filled with awe and curiosity, regardless of outer circumstances.
Residential: Week 2 Group Outline Perception
(10 minutes) Meditation
(10 minutes) Check-in: Everyone says their name, and one thing about perception. (For example: “How much of life is perspective?”)
Review Shared Agreements
One Person Speaks at a Time
Share the Air
Feedback Upon Request
Introduction of Topic: You can say that all conflict is a result of misperception. It boils down to “I create the meaning in my life.” (Car window analogy)
(10 minutes) Group Process (Brief Discussion): Share a time when you had a particular perspective about someone that later turned out to be incorrect. What happened and how did that feel?
(15 minutes) Group Activity-Circle of Honor: Ask participants to make a circle, standing in order of newest people to elder members. Honor each group by stating that each person has a different point of view based on how long they have been in the program.
Place a chair with multiple items on it in the center of the circle. (That you prepared before group started.) Ask people to describe it from their
different perspectives, starting with the person who has the most obstructed view.
Teaching Point: Every perspective is valid. Every viewing point is incomplete. Ask clients to use this as a metaphor and have a brief discussion regarding the different factors that create our point of view. (Age, race, gender, family history, etc.)
Brief Discussion: What are the different ways we can know what’s in the chair? (Change your position in the circle, move the chair, ask someone else who has a better view.)
(Remain standing) Ask them to shift to a new place so they can get a new perspective Now, ask clients to come up with some ideas about how they might begin to shift their perspectives. (One way is to question those perspectives…this can lead into the next process)
(20 minutes) Group Activity: Living in the Question. Read handout out loud and discuss. (Either as a group or in smaller groups).
(15 minutes) Group Process: (Dyads)
Important: Demonstrate this in the middle of the room with a volunteer so they can see what the process “looks like.”
Have people choose a question, or create an open-ended question for the group. (What is addiction? or What is recovery? for example) Set timer for 3 minutes, and have person A ask person B the same question for the three minutes. (Person A answers with one-word or one-sentence answers…person B simply repeats the same question for the three minutes). Switch roles and repeat. (With a different question).
(10 minutes) Closing Process