Modern city life is often fast and crazy, full of stress and seduction. We find ourselves juggling work, friends, family and relationships. We might even wonder: is there any time left for me just to be happy?
This is all intensified during the holidays. Do you find yourself getting lost in all the preparations? So many presents to buy, so much food to organize and prepare—it can be hard to find any time to simply be quiet, let alone develop our capacity for compassion.
This course takes us through four steps to help us assess how we approach the holidays and to ensure that we bring the best of ourselves to the celebrations. When we are able to find some inner peace, and then reach out to others with kindness and appreciation our holiday season in the city can become something truly nourishing.
Participants will have opportunities to share their own challenging areas, and experiment with techniques to work with them. We will also examine the current scientific research into the neurological effects of training in meditation and compassion and look at some remarkable results.
This course aims to provide each participant with a tool kit of methods to apply straight away and so begin to experience the possibilities for peace of mind and compassion within the challenges that the holiday season can bring.
4 Ways to Compassion in the City this Holiday Season
Duration of the course: the course is 4 sessions long
This course is based on a series of highly successful workshops that were held over the course of two years. It is a wonderful development to be able to offer this course as part of the Charter Education Institute’s programme.
In designing this course, the idea was to make it as practical and easy to implement as possible. It is made up of a combination of text, videos, photos, slides and written exercises, with lots of different meditations to try out along the way. All the materials are arranged in four easy-to-follow steps that build on each other to provide a fresh approach to city living.
Topics covered in 4 Ways to Compassion in the City
this Holiday Season
Step 1: Look at your habits
- How the course works
- Sinterklaas festival in Amsterdam
- The habits that we have
- Neuroplasticity and our habits
- Working with our emotions
- Understanding our emotions
- Some emotional habits
- Managing our emotions
- Something to inspire us
Step 2: Try meditation
- Meditation reduces stress and anxiety
- Meditation reduces impulsivity, cravings and addictions
- Meditation increases resilience in hard times
- Meditation increases happiness and optimism
- Why meditate?
- Research into the benefits of meditation
Step 3: Start with compassion
- Making the bridge from meditation to compassion
- Try not to cause harm
- Random acts of kindness
- Enhancing gratitude
- Equanimity and its relationship to compassion
- The things that can block our compassion
- Looking at the benefits of compassion
- Everybody wants to be happy and to avoid pain and suffering
- Seeing people as just like you
- Learning to put yourself in another person’s shoes
- Tonglen meditation: giving and receiving using the breath
- When you think one person cannot make a difference
- The methods that we learnt
- Making these techniques part of your life
- Some resources from Awareness in Action
What people have said about the course
I thought I knew quite a lot about compassion but my understanding of compassion expanded into a new dimension after taking this course. I am now able to see myself, and others in a different way. I'm certainly more confident and relaxed about myself, and more tolerant and accepting of others. The quotes and videos from scientists/academics were quite amazing and thought provoking.
Mary Duffy, Scotland
My day job is both very macho and confrontational. Ding this course showed me how I could use difficult moments to benefit both myself and my customers; very practical and easily applied. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of scientific and spiritual information, which combined beautifully to give you confidence in yourself. The wide range of authoritative advice from different sources was so reassuring. The techniques I learned are so relevant to this time; I just wish they could spread worldwide.
John Bald, Edinburgh
An excellent course - vibrant, relevant, engaging, challenging and extremely worthwhile. I loved how experiential it was and so relevant to one's daily life. I learned a lot about myself, and how I relate to others - often not how I would really wish! It gave many examples and techniques for opening one's heart and mind, and changing one's narrow-minded, judgemental attitudes and perception of others
Susan Burrows, UK
Enrolment and cost
Enrolment for the course is now open.
Course price $25.00
What are the special features of this course?
The four sessions of 4 Ways to Compassion in the City this Holiday Season are all online with easily downloadable reflections, exercises and quotes.
- If you have an internet connection you can access the content anywhere and at any time.
- Lessons will be made available on the Monday of each week giving you plenty of time to work with each one.
- We recommend about one and a half hours on each lesson.
- This is self-paced course, so you can catch up and review past materials at any time.
- You still have access to the course materials even when the course has concluded.
- You can add comments and ask questions as you go through the materials.
- As your facilitator, I will read all your comments and answer your questions and perhaps add some of my own.
Read Maureen's blog post, Making Connections This Holiday Season.
Maureen Cooper: your course facilitator
Maureen Cooper is the founding director of Awareness in Action, an organization dedicated to showing people how to combine well-being and excellence in the work environment, by integrating meditation and compassion as part of their response to everyday situations. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of experience as a professional educator, senior manager in a non-profit organization, an entrepreneur and as an experienced practitioner of Buddhist meditation, she leads workshops and training programs in the UK and Europe.
Her book, The Compassionate Mind Guide to Reducing Stress is a ground-breaking effort that brings together the best of modern science and the wisdom of the world’s ancient contemplative traditions into a practical manual for thriving in today’s fast-paced world. The book shows how each of us develops habits to help us survive, which are often not in our own best interests. Through working with meditation and compassion we can learn to transform these habits into new, healthy ways of working with challenges that we face.
Maureen was born in London, UK but love took her to the Netherlands, where she lives with her partner in Amsterdam.