Living the Present Moment Study Group

An OpenDreaming Project

By Dr. Joel Ying, MD (created 5/2/11, revised 5/11/11)


Vision: Living the Present Moment


Mission: To promote practical skills of present moment awareness.


Format: Study Group Circle – Meditation and Book Study
Find calendar online:


Focusing on knowledge from books and other sources, the study group format allows us to share practical wisdom of personal experience. To live the present moment requires conscious awareness with both mind and heart. Through meditation, book study, and peer support, we explore the phrase “Living the Present Moment.” While books can provide us with knowledge, the study group format allows us to share practical wisdom of personal experience from the heart in the context of that knowledge.


Adapted from Native American Story: “The longest distance that you will ever travel is from the head to the heart.”


Start your own study groups!
See suggested guidelines below.

Each study group needs a leader to keep the group on track. I suggest attending various circles that use these rules (see below) to gain comfort with leading a group.


Study Group Guidelines


  1. Sit in a circle so we can all see each other.
  2. Group leader invokes, explains, and gently enforces the study group guidelines and explains the format. Group leader encourages everyone to speak. Group leader also keeps time or designates a timekeeper. Group leader orients participants: location of bathrooms, drinking water if available, and if there will be official breaks.
  3. Be responsible for your comfort. Take breaks when then need them.
  4. Turn off cell phones, pagers, and other distractions.


Study Group Guidelines for Sharing

  1. Use “I” language
  2. Share in present time.
    Bring up the past in the context of how it is affecting you in the present.
  3. Avoid advice giving. Use “I” language and share from your personal experience.
  4. Share one at a time
  5. Listen without judgment. Witnessing with an open heart. Everyone deserves to be heard.
  6. Speak your own truth, and respect the truth of others.
  7. Honor confidentiality
  8. Ask before touching physically (honor healthy boundaries)
  9. Ask for what you need.

Guidelines adapted from various circles, special thanks to:

Suzanne Scurlock-Durana’s Healing from the Core Seminar Series

Christina Baldwin’s Calling the Circle

Mindfulness in Medicine Seminar (University of Rochester)


Recommended Books for Study Group:


Calling the Circle by Christina Baldwin

The One Thing Holding You Back by Raphael Cushnir

Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine

Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky

Full Body Presence by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana

Mindsight by Dan Siegel, MD

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


Written by Dr. Joel Ying, MD, 5/2/2011