Compassion Training course
Please Note: We have had to amend the times for the Compassion Course on Saturday 24th November- this will now start at 11am and finish at 5pm. This applies only to Saturday.
Our compassion training course, run by the Mindfulness Association, is delivered over four weekends and is a secular training drawn from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and the Evolutionary Psychology model of Prof. Paul Gilbert. We are pleased to announce the new dates for this course for 2012-2013. It is recommended for those who have completed the 8-month mindfulness course or who have equivalent mindfulness training experience. There is a strong focus on self compassion and the use of compassionate imagery.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL NOT BE A SESSION ON FRIDAY EVENING
Each weekend course takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
Module 1: 22nd -23rd September 2012
In the first module we will be exploring self-acceptance in more depth. Before we can practice compassion we need to know what we are going to be compassionate towards; hence the importance of the practice of acceptance in opening up the different levels of our experience. We will be emphasizing two themes: Firstly, the process of acceptance itself which means facing things as they are and dropping into the raw immediacy of our experience – in so doing getting in touch with the reality of who we are. This is the source of being authentic, and it enables us to relate to others with empathy. Secondly, compassion involves the stimulation of positive emotional systems such as kindness and love. It is important that we do not just jump into the pain of our own experience or throw ourselves headlong at the suffering of life unprepared. We need a resource to rely upon. For example, before running a marathon we need to do lots of training to build up our fitness. Compassion is similar. It is important to build up our inner resources before opening ourselves to pain and suffering.
MODULE 2 : 24th-25th November 2012
In the second module we will be looking more closely at the model of Paul Gilbert that draws on both neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. This model is especially useful at identifying the dynamics of self criticism and shame, and clarifying the scientific basis for compassion. According to neuroscience research we have three main emotional systems (threat, drive and soothing) of which the soothing system is the gateway to compassion. What this research reveals is that the capacity for being compassionate is wired into our brain and we are genetically predisposed to giving and receiving compassion. But, given that our default tendencies are threat (avoiding danger) and drive (getting what we need), the stimulation of the soothing system requires training. Compassion does not just happen by itself. The focus of the second module is building up our inner resources of compassion and learning skills for disengaging from aspects of our threat system that do not serve us. The practices will focus on compassionate imagery.
MODULE 3 : 16th-17th February 2013
In the third module we will focus on the Mahayana Buddhist practices of the four limitless contemplations and tonglen (the practice of taking and sending). On the basis of having cultivated compassionate capacity, at least to some extent, we then move on to doing the work of compassion. This is also the point where we move from self compassion towards compassion for others, although in fact we always place self compassion at the heart of our practice because this is what gives us our authenticity and enables us to relate to others with empathy.
MODULE 4 : 4th and 5th May 2013
In the final module we will bring all the threads together. We start with an experiential focus in module one, opening up the ground, then modules two and three are more skills focused, and then the fourth module brings it all back to our moment by moment life experience. It is not enough to learn about compassion or do compassion practices – the crucial thing is to learn how to embody compassion in how we live our lives. In essence, this means remaining in connection with the authentic pain of life, while firmly established in the resources of kindness and love, and living a life that is not wrapped up in selfish concerns. This module will focus on deepening our practice of compassion.
It’s £400 for the year’s course or if paying by instalments, it’s £100 per weekend course. If paying by instalment or for the course in full, we must receive payment a month before the course begins to confirm your place. Places are limited and will be on first-come, first-come basis.
Course leader: From the Mindfulness Association is Kristine Janson.
A booking form for the one-year compassion course is available to be downloaded here http://mindfulnessassociation.net/AboutCompassionTraining.aspx