Production manual and
code of conduct
3. Code of conduct
4. Venue setup
5. Facilitators manual
6.The Seven Questions
7.The Seven Progressions
Suffering Anonymous is a response to the world of 2008 and is designed for you.
The possibility of all people being contribution with each other is behind Suffering Anonymous which is
composed solely of these documents and the suffering anonymous web site.
The mission of Suffering Anonymous is to dispel needless human suffering.
The vision of Suffering Anonymous is of a ready and welcoming resource available to all people in every
place free of cost, stigma or affiliations. Suffering Anonymous is delivered for people who are suffering
unnecessarily by the very same people as leaders and participants.
Suffering Anonymous is not affiliated with any other program or organization and is not designed as a
12 step program nor is Suffering Anonymous affiliated with any religion or creed. All are welcome who
abide by the code of conduct.
All the materials of Suffering Anonymous are in the public domain and may be used in any way for any
purpose they are based on the works of great thinkers, doers and quot;be-ersquot; such a Carol Dweck, Peter
Block and Werner Earhard. All of the source material is also commonly available in different forms from
Suffering Anonymous gatherings are the only mechanism by which Suffering Anonymous can have an
effect and anyone is welcome to attend the gatherings as often as they like and gatherings may be run
anywhere with people from any walk of life.
The philosophy of Suffering Anonymous is that some suffering is needless, that this suffering occurs in
language and that people can assist each other, using simple tools, to dispel their needless suffering
and that this is a beneficial thing for the world. Further Suffering Anonymous is founded on the idea
that there is truth and power in simplicity (as opposed to the simplistic).
3. Code of conduct
a. The code of conduct is to be applied with common sense and is designed to serve the gathering
anyone standing on the code to the detriment of the gathering should leave.
b. Suffering anonymous is conducted always face to face in a gathering of no less than 7 people and no
more than can comfortably hear each other speak without amplification. If a gathering is to large then it
must be split into two gatherings or more and those gatherings should find an alternative venue and
c. Participants must respect each other at all times maintaining the confidentiality of the gathering and
there can be no spectators or recording devices of any kind.
d. All work during the gathering is done in language, no deliberate physical contact is permitted and
clothes must be worn at all times also gatherings containing children must include a parent or legal
guardian for each child or be entirely composed of children of similar ages (including the facilitator).
e. Gatherings are attended by invitation only and any member of the gathering may invite attendees
and ANYONE may attend a Suffering Anonymous gathering.
f. No advice is to given during the gathering.
g. Anyone speaking is to be given a full listening and not interrupted unless by the facilitator to keep to
h. A Suffering Anonymous gathering is not to be used for any other purpose such as conducting
business or philanthropic works.
i. A Suffering Anonymous gathering must be conducted with a sense of commitment and urgency and
may not run longer that 1 hour after the gathering is called to begin.
j. A Suffering Anonymous member may not use their attendance at an Suffering anonymous gathering
as proof of anything.
k. A Suffering Anonymous facilitator must be a participant and has no authority other than that granted
unanimously by the gathering to facilitate the gathering according to the facilitators manual. Suffering
Anonymous facilitators and participants may not create additions to the code of conduct and are not
enforcers of the code as it is up to each participant to either abide or leave.
A Suffering Anonymous venue must be chosen with care and must fulfill the following criteria;
-It must be large enough and quiet enough so that the whole gathering may sit in an unbroken
-It must have water available for people to drink.
-It must be private such that the gathering is conducted only it the hearing of the gathering
-It should be free or cost and have warmth, light and welcome.
-It should be able to be used weekly at the same date and time.
-It should have Art present in some way.
-It should have windows if possible that are clear and display a view outside.
5. The Facilitators Manual
This facilitators manuals is for all participants in the gathering and may be used by any participant
provided the timing of the gathering is not interrupted.
As a facilitator you are a part of the gathering and you must generate yourself as neutral positive. Keep
smiling and use an encouraging tone of voice and if someone is disruptive invoke the entire gathering
to stand for them being calm by saying quot;Everyone please stand for (use their first name) being a
contribution to our gatheringquot; and actually stand and have everyone stand. Keep positive and make
no one wrong just remind them of the gathering code of conduct if they break it.
Make sure that The code of conduct is read by everyone (it can be useful to have a copy for everyone
and a copy up on a wall in large print) before you begin the gathering and that people have a chance to
leave if they will not honor the code of conduct. If the gathering is too large then split it and set a date
for a new gathering for those who cannot attend the current one. Appoint another facilitator from your
gathering to lead the new gathering.
If there is something unworkable in you gathering that cannot be overcome before the gathering is due
to start then reschedule the gathering stating clearly what the issue is. Such an issue might be loud
construction work or a power failure or part of the code of conduct being breached anything that will
seriously impact the integrity and workability of the gathering.
The timing of the gathering is crucial up until the completion phase. Are all the steps in the manual are
timed except for the last so make sure you have access to an accurate clock, stopwatch or watch while
The manual is designed to operate minute by minute as a script and each section should be continued
regardless of the state of the room. When there is spare time as facilitator ask for the gathering to
indulge in a period of silence as silence is a powerful ingredient in its own right and completing a
gathering is perfectly appropriate so no more than three periods of silence should be done per
As a facilitator you need to have the facilitators manual pages printed out and in front of you as you
work so that you can read from them as the gathering progresses;
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 1
00 Minutes - Start
Begin the gathering by saying;
quot;Welcome everyone and thankyou for attending. We
begin this Suffering Anonymous gathering now.
The possibility of our gathering is forgiveness and
the gatherings purpose is to
dispel unnecessary suffering.
My name is ______ (Just give your first name), I am
our gatherings facilitator and I am before you as
cause in my own unnecessary suffering.
I ask you all to commit to staying within this
gathering for the next full hour without a break as
the integrity of the gathering is important for us all.
If you cannot commit to this then I invite you to
leave now and please come to the next gathering
Suffering Anonymous gatherings run according to a
predefined script and timing which is an important
to us all so please allow everyone a safe space and
please allow me to move us along to keep to the
One word check in.
quot;Everyone please sit in a circle. Make it is as tight as
possible so we can all see and hear each other.quot;
quot;Now each of us in turn will say a single word that
represents us and who we are being right now.
There is no wrong answer. also please rate the value
you will be causing in this gathering on a scale of
zero to 7, 7 being best and Zero is a perfect
Say your own word and the number and go quickly
around the circle if you run out of time say so and move
03 Minutes - Turn to next Page (2)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 2
03 Minutes - quot;Please everyone now break into groups
of three as fast as you can and please sit tightly
together within a foot or 30 cm of each other.quot;
(as facilitator add you self to any group that needs you or
that you wish to participate in.)
quot;In your groups please discuss;
What commitment do you have that has you show
up here in today's gathering?quot;
04 Minutes - quot;Everyone when I yell SWITCH please
give someone else in your group a chance to speak,
especially if they have not spoken yet. OK SWITCH!quot;
Keep the pace going and kindly decline requests for more
time as a sense of urgency comes from a scarcity of time
and this has the gathering be more powerful.
06 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCHquot;
08 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! When ever I say stop please
quickly stop talking so we can move on with
Now who can share something that struck you from
the conversation in your group?
We do not have time for shyness so go on! :-)quot;
When someone is sharing just nod and say quot;Yesquot; with a
smile do not interrupt unless time runs out in which case
say quot;We have to move on you can co ntinue at the
end if you wishquot;
Take a maximum of five shares as this will yield about
75% of what is in the room and try to balance where the
shares come from in the room so that there is a sense of
If you have spare time then say;
quot;For the next ___ Minutes we will have some
centering silence please either focus on your breath
or a word that inspires you or if you have a religious
tradition focus on a centering prayer by choosing a
love word to bring your thoughts back to the
10 Minutes - Turn to next Page (3)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 3
10 Minutes - quot;OK Please everybody change your
group so that you sit with the people who you know
If there is a group of less than three quickly ask them to
add themselves on to one of the groups of three.
11 Minutes - quot;Now everybody in your groups please
discuss the following question;
What about others being cause in their
own unnecessary suffering could be cured with
forgiveness (being willing to give up suffering by
13 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
15 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
17 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! Now who can share
something that struck you from the conversation in
Take up to 5 reports as before.
20 Minutes - Turn to next Page (4)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 4
20 Minutes - quot;OK Please stay in your groups and
What about you own suffering have you been unable
or unwilling to tell anyone before?quot;
22 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
24 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
26 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! Now who can share
something that struck you from the conversation in
Again Take up to 5 reports
30 Minutes - Turn to next Page (5)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 5
30 Minutes - quot;OK please quickly change groups again
and as soon as you sit please discuss
Where are you powerless to stop yourself causing
your own unnecessary suffering?quot;
32 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
34 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
36 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! Now who can share
something that struck you from the conversation in
Take up to 5 reports as before.
39 Minutes - Turn to next Page (6)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 6
39 Minutes - quot;OK please stay in your groups and
What new possibilities are open to you to live into in
the space of what you saw in the previous
41 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
44 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
47 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! Now who can share
something that struck you from the conversation in
Take up to 5 reports
53 Minutes - Turn to next Page (7)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 7
53 Minutes - quot;OK Please rearrange yourselves into
groups of four which is the symbolic of stabilityquot;
54 Minutes - quot;OK Please discuss the following
Who in your life will you share this gathering with
and who do you know that you want to be in the
room for the next gathering?quot;
56 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot;
58 Minutes - quot;OK SWITCH!quot; (there will be no reports this
60 Minutes - Turn to next Page (8)
Suffering Anonymous Facilitators Manual Page 8
60 Minutes - quot;OK STOP! Please quickly lets arrange
ourselves back into a circle which is inclusive and a
symbol of unity and equality.
Thank you everyone we will now complete the
gathering completion by everybody sharing
something and if you wish to leave just say so and
we will quickly acknowledge you;
You can simply sha what you got.
You can make a declaration of a new future you will
You can acknowledge a gift that someone has been
to you in this gathering
If someone acknowledges you the only response is
thank you I like hearing that!quot;
Allow the gathering to disperse as people feel ready and
acknowledge people as they leave by saying;
quot;Thank you for being the gift you are here with us
7. The seven questions
What commitment do you bring the gathering that has you show up here today?
This question is designed to ground participants in their values and what they have a commitment for
and to it brings relatedness.
What about others being cause in their own unnecessary suffering could be cured with
forgiveness (being willing to give up suffering by being right)?
This question opens the way to the discovery that all unnecessary suffering is self generated and also
that the cure of acceptance and forgiveness are available to us always as gifts.
When we give the gift of forgiveness it is our own suffering in the matter that ends.
What about you own suffering have you been unable or unwilling to tell anyone before?
This is a confronting question that needs to be asked with compassion it is an access to personal power
to be abel to authentically answer this question.
Where are you powerless to stop yourself causing your own unnecessary suffering?
The recognition of our powerlessness in the face of our addiction to suffering is available in this
question if it is authentically answered then something new and marvelous opens up and becomes
What new possibilities are open to you to live into in the space of what you saw in the previous
This question allows for the creation of a new future that can be lived into. One that has the present
way a person is being shift such that the new future will be realised as long as the words given here
are honoured. (If one is a couch potato and one declares a new future of being an Olympic athlete and
then honours ones word then the present will include trips to the gym and a lot of training and that
future of Athlete informs ones being right now. If one decides that training will
involve watching Olympic reruns on TV then one is not honouring ones word and ones present becomes
informed from ones past again and the new declared future will have no existence)
Who in your life will you share this gathering with and who do you know who you want to be in
the room for the next gathering?
Anything declared and that has been got from a Suffering Anonymous gathering has a half life of 12
hours unless it is regenerated and shared with others and any declaration for a new future can only be
fully honoured by having it exist in the listening of others.
What did you get / What gift has someone been to you in this gathering?
The sharing and acknowledging of the gifts people bring is the best possible basis for the building of an
ongoing close community that is empowered to support its participants.
7. The Seven Progressions.
Just as people go through distinct stages in the process of grieving or in the process of obtaining
mastery so to the addition to suffering succumbs to a series of stages that are distinct from each other.
There is a 0 stage and that is resignation which we all dwell in on all the issues we are not at work on
which is useful as it allows us to function in other areas of our life without being completely stopped by
the things we have decided we can do nothing about. For instance if we were not resigned to the idea
that one day we are going to die then we would not be able to face the day. At the same time if we are
to make any progress with tackling some area in which we are suffering then we need to snap
ourselves out of our comfortable trance of resignation and rise into the next progression which is
Skepticism. Skepticism is the first level above resignation and it indicates we care enough to have an
opinion and to be in the inquiry about a topic. Everyone encountering or experimenting with new things
is engaged at some level in skepticism.
The key to finding and dispelling all suffering can be found when our skepticism turns to emotion and
this has a distinct bias as the emotions that keep us in resignation are all unpleasant and even during
the Skeptic progression we are mostly navigating through emotionally troubled waters heading for the
tiny beacon of hope that is the energy source of our skepticism. When someone is on the brink of self
discovery there is nearly always a release of strong emotion and when people irrationally avoid some
area in their conversation and become emotional this is a good sign that they are close to finding
whatever it is in their past that has them be at the effect of a particular piece of their suffering. It is in
the realization of the emotion that one can realize that one has a problem and is suffering
The only way to truly gain power over ones addiction to suffering is ironically to see that one has no
power over it as ones identity. If enough conversation is had to complete the past such that it no longer
triggers the emotions the insight is available that one is doomed to repeat ones past irregardless of the
skill, intelligence, wisdom, faith or incentive one has. Once all hope in the current paradigm is gone the
door way to the next progression is available. One cannot be told this it has to be seen.
When one truly accepts the conditions that make our human identities the way they are framed from
the past we have endured and still carry with us and when ones can see that we are on a cycle of
repetition of the past. There is a place of emptiness which is not to be confused with the lonely feeling
we commonly describe as emptiness. Instead this is a truly empty place within us that is akin to the
darkness before the dawn of a beautiful day it is an empty canvass ripe with the potential for new
possibilities. It is only from this place is the next progression available. This is not a mystical event and
it may be a spiritual one if that is your tradition.
To transcend the identity we complete with the past for ourselves and its addiction to the particular
suffering that had us create ourselves as that identity we must realize a new future and regain
possession of our growth mind from our very young childhood as opposed to our fixed mind (learned in
adulthood). We must also see that who we are is a function of who we say we are and how others listen
to us coupled with the actions we take being consistent with who we say we are. When we say
something new is possible it must be free from the conditions of our identity. If we are mired in
financial problems then it is more of the same to declare that we will have riches. in order to escape the
wheel we must create a new statement of who we are being from the empty place of acceptance that
inspires us and we must share that with our community and then act accordingly in order to transcend
the first four progressions.
Peter Block in his excellent book Community has published a private correspondence from Werner
Erhard that clearly illustrates the method that can be employed to have empowerment operating;
I suggest you make it clear that ir us the future that one lives into that shapes ones being and action
in the present. And, the reason that it appears that it is the past that shapes one's being and and action
in the present is that for most people the past lives in (shapes) their view of the future.
... it's only by completing the past (being complete with the past) such that it no longer shapes one's
being and action in the present that there is room to create a new future (one not shaped by the past -
a future that wasn't going to happen anyhow). Futures not shaped by the past (i.e., a future that
wasn't going to happen anyhow) are constituted in language.
In summary, (1) one gets complete with the past, which takes it out of the future (being complete
with the past is not to forget the past); (2) in the room that is now available in the future when one's
being and action are no longer shaped by the past, one creates a future (a future that moves, touches
and inspires one); (3) that future starts to shape one's being and actions in the present so that they
are consistent with realizing that future.
In addition to the above two more steps are recommended to be able to make the next progression.
One must act in accordance with the new future that one has articulated and one must share that new
touching, moving and inspiring future with others so that they can see it for you and even more
powerfully for themselves.
Simply put the most powerful way to achieve mastery of any new thing is to educate and assist others
in also being able to master that new thing. The progression that allows one to retain the new power
that is gained is contributing to others such that they are also empowered and become masters.
Transcending the short sighted strategies, that inform our behavior from the past, is best achieved
through sharing the technology that has allowed you to achieve your own gains.
7. Facilitation as a possibility
The final progression simply completes the circle. Now that you are adept in contribution the next step
is to build you own circle to call you forth as facilitator. In every realm of people you can imagine there
is unnecessary suffering and therefor the opportunity for the formation of Suffering Anonymous circles
so take what you have learned and begin a new circle and travel between the circle you learned in and
the circles you create. Do not wait for others to do this take action and dispel the needless suffering in
your communities and every area you bring this too will be an area of growth for them and for you this
is the final progression. There is no timing to the progressions and so after experiencing the gathering
three times you may begin your own gathering. Gatherings can be regular or ad hoc the important
thing to know tat it is only in the listening of a well prepared gathering that the progressions can be
made. You may not use the gatherings for direct personal gain and it is appropriate for gatherings to
take on local issues of the wider community and that community could be philanthropic, religious, or
even commercial as long as the gathering is not charged for in any way. As a facilitator you are the
source of the gathering and must be responsible for it being held according to this document you are
bringing for new possible futures for all who attend a gathering so you must also be living into a new
possible future which you have articulated and which you are living into with integrity.
It is humbly requested that you go forth and become a champion of this work of dispelling needless
suffering by creating and participating in Suffering Anonymous gatherings.