This course is suitable for people who have done an 8-week Mindfulness course, have maintained some form of regular practice and would like to explore and deepen Mindfulness and Heartfulness more. It offers practical ways of deepening mindfulness skills with compassion.
The course is designed to alleviate suffering, one’s own and that of others, and to enhance physical, psychological and social well-being by offering a science-based training in self-compassion, building on mindfulness skills. Many of us tend to overlook ourselves while trying to be compassionate. The focus in this course is to develop a kinder and warmer relationship with ourselves, to find a healthy balance between caring for others and caring for ourselves and to find ease with life’s inevitable pain and dis-ease.
More specific aims are:
Acknowledging pain and suffering as part of human life
Understanding that our brain has evolved to help survive, and that the imperfect design is not our fault
Gaining insight into the three basic emotion regulation and motivation systems
Understanding how influences from outside and also from inside, such as the ‘inner critic’ can easily cause imbalances.
Learning practices in self-compassion, such as soothing breathing, kindness meditation, compassionate imagery, compassionately dealing with inner difficulties, and cultivating ways of support through the ‘inner helper’ and appreciating and ‘taking in the good’.
Cultivating a sense of common humanity.
Integrating what has been learned in daily life.
The course format was developed by Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster and draws on the work of Paul Gilbert, Tara Brach, Christopher Germer, Rick Hanson and others. Many of the practices are based on traditional Buddhist meditation practices which focus on the cultivation of compassion.
The course runs over 8 weeks with a two and a half hour class each week, and may include one silent practice day. In the group sessions you are introduced to the practices and exercises. We then explore our experiences and reflect on them and put them within the context of neuroscience and some basic psychological principles.
Going through the course can be challenging at times and it is important that you are willing and ready to explore difficulties and personal patterns at your own pace within the safety of the group. The process of beginning to notice our own struggles is the gateway to compassion, and self-compassion leads to extending compassion to others. By doing the practices we can build our resources which leads to greater appreciation of our life and the hard wiring of happiness.
You will receive a comprehensive workbook and a range of audio recordings in mp3 format. It is important to allow 45 – 60 minutes per day for the practice at home, in order to get the most benefit from doing the course and so that the practices can become embedded in your daily life.