Community Group Meeting Suggestions

Here are some ideas for structuring your Community Group meetings.

Inspiration from the IONS Tucson group.

You can use this as inspiration for structuring your local meetings.

The Friday Monthly Meetings are the Heart of IONS Tucson and draw audiences of well over 200 people. Over the years we have moved several times to accommodate the number of people who attend these presentations on the first Friday evening of the month at 6:30pm. At this meeting there are speakers who focus on issues important to IONS: complementary healing modalities; research on the physical responses to music, meditation, homeopathy, issues around and research about water; the exciting field of Consciousness Research; and much more. The speakers are not paid, but they are encouraged to sell their books, DVDs, etc. 

On occasion a panel is created – one of the most successful panels centered on “Dying, Death and the Afterlife” and we found 5 or 6 leaders in different religions in town to talk about how their tradition views these topics. Another was organized around a panel of people of a Certain Age talking about their ongoing search v/v consciousness. If you go to the website at and click on “speakers” you will be able to see the program history. You will notice that a number of speakers have come from the University of Arizona and from the rich diversity of people who live and work in Tucson. On occasion, someone “passing through” on a book tour or on vacation will make time to speak to our group. Speakers are often booked a year in advance.

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Community Discussion Idea from Bob Johnston

Article: Talking To The Dead: Laboratory Investigation of Mediumship by Julie Beischel, Shift Dec 2007-Jan 2008

Introduction: Pharmacologist and toxicologist Julie Beischel, PhD, says in this article "The scientific study of mediumship has grown increasingly sophisticated, and the results potentially more relevant to our understanding of the relationship between mind/consciousness and how the brain works."

Discussion Questions:

  1. Researcher and author Julie Beischel opens the article stating "The survival of consciousness – that is, the continuation of life after death – is a vital issue to many people. Is it to you? Yes. No. Why?
  2. Beischel states "As with the study of any natural phenomenon, bringing mediumship into the regulated environment of the laboratory allows for the controlled and repeated examination of the mediumship process," and she lists three reasons why she believes it important. Let's take a look at those reasons (page 21, 1st column, 2nd paragraph). Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
  3. Beischel goes on to outline the research methods used by the Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential. Starting at the bottom of page 21, 1st column, she outlines a five-step research process. What are your feelings and thoughts about this research methodology?
  4. On page 21, 2nd column, she discusses how sitter-raters, discarnates and mediums are screened, emphasizing "Before participating in formal research each prospective medium is screened over several months using an intensive screening and training procedure." What are your feelings and thoughts about this screening procedure?
  5. On page 22, 2nd column, in the section titled "Pairing and Formatting of Research Readings" she discusses the scenario which she says eliminates fraud, cold-reading, rater bias, experimenter cueing, and perhaps even telepathy between the blinded experimenter and the mediums as plausible explanations for the accuracy and specificity of the information the mediums provide during the readings. Are you confident that these procedures would do all that? Yes. No. Why?
  6. On page 24, 1st column, Beischel describes her scoring methodology and sums up by saying, "This complete scoring system brings clarity, reliability, and validity to the scoring of mediumship readings." Do you agree? Disagree? Why.
  7. In the final section of her paper, Beischel describes what she sees to be coming next, followed by the statement "These and similar questions can be answered only with further investigation." What are your feelings and thoughts about that and the strengths and weaknesses of her whole article?

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Setting a Good Tone for Your Meeting

Our experience is that a healthfully open psycho-spiritual-social climate is requisite for a successful discussion. Accordingly, here are some ideas for etiquette…

  • An Attitude of Receptiveness
    We recognize the importance of accepting healthful constructive feedback about our ideas and opinions (not about one’s personality unless requested) without taking the feedback personally.

  • The Value of Empathy Blended With Candor
    We recognize that but for the luck of the draw, each of us could have been the other soul, and the other us. Recognition of that tends to spawn empathy and delay of judgment until the other’s situation and point of view are more fully understood. Together with this ability to empathize, we often express our convictions to others in a compassionate, candid, and constructive way.

  • An Attitude of Openness
    We are usually sensitive to interpersonal conflict and try to work through issues with an open, empathetic, direct, positive, win-win problem-solving approach, rather than with win-lose approaches, such as denial, suppression, ridicule, shunning, or power plays.

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Share Your Experiences and Ideas

We’d love to hear about your IONS community group meetings. What format do you have for the meetings? What books and speakers are you exploring?  What is working for your group?

We’d also love to see pictures of your events. From time to time we’ll feature groups so we can draw ideas and inspiration from each other. Please contact Andrea Livingston at to share your stories and pictures.

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