How do you choose the right training course?
Phenomenal insight, careful planning and depth of knowledge from the teacher make a great starting point.
Internationally renowned author and teacher, Alexander FIlmer-Lorch, lets us in on how he prepares for a new course and why this might be just what you are looking for.
“Alex Filmer-Lorch is the leading light on meditation. His meditation teachings and training are one of a kind, taught from the strong foundations of Alex’s formidable practice and years dedicated to sharing his wisdom. All those who are lucky enough to learn with him are guaranteed the very best training in meditation there is.” Kat Farrants, founder MFML
Reflections on the Process of my Work as a Mentor and Teacher – by Alexander Filmer-Lorch
“Every day I renew my efforts to work from ‘being’ and ‘allowing’ as opposed to ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’…” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
Most of us are very familiar with the more common Western approach of teaching from a place of knowing, correcting and doing. This, of course, ensures that we are technically versed and proficient teachers who safely work within the current teaching standards.
However, we could benefit from the more all encompassing universal concept of facilitation, which is rooted in the ancient idea of ‘being’ and ‘allowing’, in which the focus does not predominantly lie on the teaching protocol, latest method or teaching methodology, but has the possible inner evolution of the students and participants at the heart of its philosophy.
The very nature of the work I teach, which is solely based on the universal concept of facilitation, is inducing this necessary shift within myself, right from the getgo of each preparation stage of training. I think this is a subject that is rarely talked about and so might be worth sharing.
This blog post is my honest attempt to describe what I experience before, throughout and after teaching a course, from both a personal and universal teaching point of view.
I would like to start with a little bit of background information.
The content of my work, along with what it teaches and how it is structured and designed, is exclusively aimed at those who are genuinely passionate about work with people.
From a universal teaching point of view, this means that we are committed to working along two lines simultaneously: work on oneself and working with others.
Work on oneself focuses on our own inner development or our ‘inner work’, which also includes our self-practice. It ensures that we walk the talk by living what we teach.
Working with others concentrates on the practical application of a variety of very versatile teaching methodologies, dialoguing skills and flexible protocols that provide the participants with practical tools and a creative framework, within which their future students and clients can flourish and grow according to their own individual needs, speed and requirements. Hence…
“The main objective of my work is to inspire people to facilitate and teach from a place of ‘no position’, also known as the point of convergence where conscious actions arise.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
In other words, my aim is to facilitate students to reach a level of expertise where they have not only become technically proficient teachers who can provide a safe practice and are able to consciously hold a space in a dynamic class environment, but that a passion is ignited underneath that stays ‘lit’ for life, guiding them further along their path of enquiry into the mysteries of the work.
So what happens before I start teaching a training course?
Naturally I only want to provide and deliver the best course for my students. Hence, during the three months before the start of teacher training there is a lot of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ taking place, which of course acts on my state of being and my mind. During this time I literally become the ‘doer’ that needs to make sure to ‘know’ all of the ins and outs contained in the training curriculum.
Simultaneously I intensify my efforts on the first line of work, which means that whilst I am working on refining and updating the teaching material of the previous training course, my own ‘inner work’ becomes paramount. After decades of teaching and treating people, I have learnt not ever to rest on my laurels. I know too well that if I don’t put genuine effort into the preparation phase, including work on myself, ‘help’ and ‘grace’ from whatever lies above or in the beyond won’t enter.
In addition, I spend a significant amount of time revising, practising, evaluating and validating the whole material I am intending to teach on the upcoming training course.
This vital part of the preparation stage gives me a clear insight into how much of the work I will be teaching has truly internalised. I consciously challenge myself with the hope of consolidating and integrating those aspects of the teachings that haven’t become second nature yet.
Trust me, even after years of undergoing countless repetitions of this prep phase, I continue to discover in all different aspects of the work universal knowledge and ideas I thought I truly understood. Whilst diving into them again they reveal that there is another deeper layer I had yet to discover.
Without this process, which is known as the process of ‘assimilation’, in which theoretical knowledge or the more superficial understanding of the teachings transforms into deeper understanding and experience, I would only pay lip service to the teachings, as well as undermine my own integrity as a person and professional.
As a consequence, my own inner development would completely stop, putting the very potential for further self-evolution on a complete hold.
“Self-evolution is to go round and round the ever-expanding helix of consciousness.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
Usually three days before a course begins, after having completely immersed myself in the teachings for several months, the teachings start taking their toll.
Their sheer beauty and the overarching exuberance of awe they radiate has finally penetrated into every aspect of whatever I consider myself to be, making me question everything I have put together and worked on throughout these previous weeks, and culminating in a time of intense struggle and friction. The tantalising fact of how small I am in relation to the vast profundity and unfathomable scope of the universal teachings becomes increasingly overwhelming.
Things like how much money people have paid for my course, the amount of time they are happily going to sacrifice to be able to commit to the training, that they deserve only the most cutting-edge and valuable knowledge, and I might not be able to put this across, are some of the many considerations taking place in my mind at that time.
So I always end up with the same daunting questions of how do I possibly ever live up to this amazing work I was privileged to study and practice, and who am I, this Mr Nothingness, attempting to teach that stuff?
Everything seems to magnify and intensify, providing the necessary pressure and heat in which things can change, evolve and ultimately transform.
In my situation an illusion of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ seems to cling to the smaller parts of myself, giving me a comfortable but false sense of security that manifests itself in what appears known; but this has to change and transform. Only then can whatever is meant to happen for each participant throughout the training actually happen.
As many times before, and due to the veil of forgetfulness, I again am made to realise that I won’t find this very familiar and comfortable sense of security whilst embracing the unknown in the upcoming teacher training. Hence, the light of truth emanating through the universal teachings I have been working with for over 30 years keeps acting on me on all levels.
Throughout my years of practice I have come to acknowledge and experience this particular time as an intense process of self-emptying and self-remembering that miraculously shifts me from that illusory sense of security, caused by that deeply ingrained condition of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ that affects most of us, to a place of ‘being’, ‘embracing’ and ‘allowing’.
This gives rise to ‘a place of no position’ in which the teaching unfolds out of itself, choosing to respond to whatever is required at each given moment throughout the course.
So, once I have been spun through this washing machine, I am truly starting to get the message, relieved to surrender to the fact that ‘I’ (my little ‘Me’s’ and subpersonalities) don’t need to ‘know’ or ‘do’. I am finally handing knowing and doing over to the unknown, and trusting that whatever is expected of me during the training will make itself known when the time is right.
Suddenly all friction stops and I experience the gradual emergence of a deep sense of inner stillness and natural centredness.
All that needs to be done is done. I am able to rest in the knowledge that my carefully revised and refined handouts for each subject of the first module are printed out and stapled. I ensure that the flip chart papers for each lecture and the interactive work with the students are prepared, and that the different slide presentations with the newly added exciting material are safely stored on the laptop, as well as on a spare memory stick.
I make sure that all the links to the video library displaying all the different practices taught on the course are checked and that the car is loaded and fully fuelled. Finally the excitement of starting a new course and the joy and anticipation of meeting all these new students are allowed to click in.
“We can’t find the Now in the domain of Time; that’s why we have to look elsewhere.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
We have reached a point in this succession of events where we can finally speak about the meaning of ‘Beginnings’. After the washing machine experience that was followed by the emergence of a deeper sense of self, ‘I’ am now genuinely open to experience the training course as an exhilarating meeting with the unknown, as well as an entirely new beginning.
Based on my personal experience, every new beginning is filled with infinite possibilities that meet me in the form of countless precious seeds, which can either flourish and grow or remain dormant. I am utterly present to the fact that each start of a course gives rise to an occasion when three powerful potentialities meet. The vast potential of the participants as a collective is meeting my potential as a ‘teacher’ (comprising my experience, understanding and actual state of consciousness and being) and igniting an interactive dance within the potential of the ‘space’ (physical, energetic, cosmological and spiritual) in which the new occasion takes place.
Throughout this first meeting a field emerges in which each participant, including myself, as well as the space has the possibility to transform, evolve and grow.
“I experience this work as a gateway to possibilities that lie far beyond the imaginable.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
Whilst sitting in silence for a few minutes in the opening circle, we all experience a new beginning. For some of us this might take place consciously and for others unconsciously – it does not matter which.
I am aware right now that the roles reverse and the students become my teachers, teaching me to listen to what they need as both a collective as well as individuals.
I am also aware of the fact that the participants will explain all new knowledge, new information and new skills they receive using their ‘old knowledge’; that is, they absorb it through what they already know.
This means the teachings are perceived through the ever-present filter of biases, ‘I believes’ and ‘personal philosophies’ we all possess, and so the universal truth transmitted through the teachings will be slightly watered down.
But this does not matter either, because the moment the students start chewing and digesting the material by putting it into action, most of the biases will be neutralised throughout the course of the training.
In my experience, a significant amount of my energy continuously sustains the connection with my centre of gravity that is my deep memory of inner stillness, which has accumulated from decades of stilling practice and meditation, giving rise to a state of ‘being’ that is distinct from everything else.
Learning the hard way, I am always very careful to not get lost within the depth of my own inner stillness, nor in the external happenings. There is a fine line between them. I choose to settle right in the fulcrum, in the middle, where I can behold both the parts and the whole simultaneously.
Additionally, I am very conscious of the fact that the teaching material and the universal ideas can’t be taught through personality.
This kind of knowledge can only be transmitted through our essence. That is, by teaching through essence, which comprises all our talents, creative potential and everything that comes so natural to us, fewer ‘I’s’ and little ‘Me’s’ are involved or stand in the way, preventing us from doing our actual work.
So, whilst interacting with all the lovely students, I keep relaxing into that part of myself that feels simple, honest and genuine, and unlike personality, which by default aims to be in the foreground, does not need to think itself into existence all the time.
The amount of stillness-memory I have been able to accumulate during the years by means of regular practice helps me most of the time to be genuine as I teach, facilitate, interact and answer questions from a ‘place of no position’, which is essentially neutral and unbiased.
The moment a question comes my way I have learned to refrain from answering with a default response.
Through the inner work I know how to distinguish my inner voice from the emerge
nce of my inner faculty of intuition. I stop and listen, and if no intuition through which the required teachings can reveal themselves emerges, I am happy to answer with ‘I honestly don’t know, but why don’t we wait for this knowledge to reveal itself at another time’.
The above are only a few examples out of so many more I could list that illuminate what teaching and facilitating from ‘allowing’ and ‘being’ implies and demands of a teacher.
“Our formless self comprises a depth of stillness that is transcendental.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
So why am I telling you all of this?
It demonstrates how, once they are applied, the two lines of work, work on oneself and working with others, spring into action in a teaching environment. It is obvious that they can’t be separated, and that one without the other would be detrimental to the learning experience of the students.
We are now in the full flow of the training, and the students are getting their heads around ideas like ‘no one way’ and what an amazing potential they have at their disposal when they implement the idea of ‘action through non-reaction’ in a creative teaching environment. They love the stuff about the different brainwaves and enjoy the different stilling practices that give rise to a particular brainwave pattern.
Each of the four two-day modules is based on a particular theme, starting with the concept and exploration of ‘Scale’ and ‘Time’.
At the end students leave with a toolbox full of techniques, and over two hundred pages of handouts, that cover the theory and practice of each subject and lesson taught on the course, which gives them material to teach for many years to come.
However, far more important is that all of them are confident to teach and facilitate classes from their very own creative potential, thoroughly grounded in the universal concept of ‘being’ and ‘allowing’.
At the end of the course I find myself filled with gratitude and love, knowing that the training has left me with lots of impressions, new insights and discoveries of totally new aspects of the work that will take quite some time to be assimilated before I will implement them into one of my upcoming courses or trainings.
Once everybody has left the studio I enter a new beginning that welcomes me with such testimonials as you will find at the end of this article.
So, if you are passionate about working with people, or would like to further your potential for self-evolution and study the ‘inner work’ and stilling practice, the courses, workshops and trainings I feel privileged to teach might just be the perfect fit for you.
“In my work there is no one way that leads to one’s objective.” Alexander Filmer-Lorch
What Former Students Say About The Course
“The course has been an incredible discovery for someone with no true meditation teaching background. A perfect balance of practice and theory has enabled me not only to develop my own meditation practice but provide in-depth knowledge to the background, science, health and social benefits of meditation. I feel humbled to have been taught by someone with such experience and wisdom. Alexander facilitates with such openness that the whole class is made to feel very comfortable. I’ve made close friends who I will continue to learn from and share many more laughs with about life. Thank you FLOW for hosting in your tranquil setting and providing our delicious lunchtime feasts. Looking forward to continuing my journey and being guided by Alexander.” Rachel Davis
“Doing Alexander’s Meditation Teacher Training was one of the best things I have done for a very long time. The course content was rich, covering the subject from every possible angle and very up to date in regard to current scientific research, as well as acknowledging ‘old’ knowledge. Alexander is an inspiring teacher, very firmly grounded in his own practice and vast knowledge, as well as full of light-heartedness and fun – making sure we didn’t take it all too seriously. The way the course was presented made it possible for everybody to gain exactly what they needed from it, from the level they were at in their own meditation experience. I came away with a lot of ideas for my own future teachings.” Maya Morgan (midwife)
“Alex leads by example. His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. He has thoroughly researched, implemented and experienced the processes of meditation from both Eastern and Western perspectives. His ability to communicate his experiences clearly and with passion is admirable. One always leaves his presence refreshed and with a different outlook on life situations. We are very much looking forward to his writings and continuing this journey with his teachings.” Pashenka Gribben and Nick Cervonaro (Yoga teachers)
Join Alexander’s Teacher Training Meditation Course
Find out more about joining Alex’s course here.
EARLY BIRD discount rate running until the end of December 2017.
This rate saves £250 on the full investment for this training course.
For further information visit www.alexanderfilmerlorch.co.uk or contact
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