The facilitation options of a practice, give both facilitations & practitioners a clear sense of the different ways one can fill in the blank of the practice frame. When selecting a practice to facilitate, if the practice's frame includes a blank ("______") there are different ways that blank can be filled in. They include the following potential options:
With the Pick One option, the facilitator of the practice picks a single word or short phrase to fill in the blank for everyone doing the practice.
Example: Say you're facilitating the May Metta Arise practice, whose practice frame is "May ______ Arise." With the Pick One option you'd pick what you want to fill in the blank with, such as "May Loving Awareness Arise" or "May Compassion Arise", and then everyone would practice with that single phrase during the entirety of the practice period.
With the Multiple Choice option the facilitator selects a set number of options that can be used to fill in the blank, whenever it's someone's turn (sequential order), or they feel moved to go (spontaneous order).
Example: Binary Noting is an example of a practice which is defined by having 2 distinct choices each time it's someone's turn, and they are asked to pick between either one or the other. Six Sense Noting is an example of a practice that also uses a Multiple Choice option, but which has 6 distinct possible options (not including the safety release valve), corresponding with each of The Six Senses.
With the Succession option we're working through a particular sequence of items, one after another. It's important in the Succession option to specify either A) what fraction of the time you'll be spending with each item, or B) to specify how you'll be switching from one item to the next.
Example: Let's say you want to move through the 8 stages of meditative absorption, one at a time, in succession. Here, you'd specify that the succession is through the 8 jhanas.
With the Looping option the facilitator selects a succession of words or phrases to cycle through, one after another. This is like the Multiple Choice option, except that instead of picking between a number of options each time, there is a fixed selection that the group loops through in succession.
Example: Let's say you're working with the May Metta Arise practice–"May ______ Arise"–and decide to move in succession through the Four Immeasurables–loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, & equanimity. With each person's turn they would fill in the blank with the next in the series of the four immeasurables: "May Loving-Kindness Arise," "May Compassion Arise," "May Empathetic Joy Arise," "May Equanimity Arise" and so on until the practice is over.
In some practices, it is possible to take one of the previous person's responses, and fold that into your turn, using their previous turn to fill in one of the blanks for your turn. When this is done, it's called the Relay option, as the previous participant is handing off one their turn, and you're incorporating it into yours.
Example: Zen Relay Noting
With the Fixed Category option one can fill in the blank of the practice frame with whatever they like, within that fixed category.
Example: Let's take the Basic Noting practice, Noting Body Sensations as an example. Here, we have a fixed category called Body Sensations, but within that fixed category there are an open-ended number of notes that one could use to describe their physical sensations.
With the Freestyle option whenever it's someone's turn (sequential order), or they feel moved to go (spontaneous order), they can fill in the blank with whatever they choose. There are no limits to what they can say, outside of what's defined in the Practice Frame, Data Compression, and Practice Order of that particular technique.