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Archived CEI

How to Become a Compassionate Citizen

Do you ever feel that life in the city moves so fast that you are always running to catch up? Are there times when you feel overwhelmed by the noise, the crowds and the continuous hustle and bustle? Do you wonder how you, as just one person, can make any kind of difference in these uncertain times?

This course goes to the heart of what it means to live in a modern city and contribute to the greater good. Each of us has the possibility to work with our habits and conditioning to find ways of becoming a truly compassionate citizen.

This course will take you through the steps we need to take to learn how to realise our own potential and be of benefit in our city.


How to Become a Compassionate Citizen

Start date: 26 March 2018

Duration of the course: the course is six sessions long + an introduction

Course fee: $80 USD

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.

Although this course stands alone and is complete in itself, it was designed as the first part of a two-part course. For those people who want to go a bit further, the second course, How to be Compassionate in Urban Society will be available in November.

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.


Topics covered in How to Become a Compassionate Citizen

Getting started with the course

Session 1: City life as an inspiration to become a compassionate citizen

• What we are working with

• Happiness and suffering as part of city life

• Chasing happiness

• How stress works

• The need for a compassionate society


Session 2: Everyone has the raw materials to become a compassionate citizen

• We are all in the same boat

• We have enormous capacity

• We are built to be kind

• Helping others helps you


Session 3: What gets in the way?

• The speed, noise and intensity of city life

• Our wandering mind

• Our old brain habits

• Starring in our own movie


Session 4: What can we do about it?

• How neuroplasticity helps with habits

• Getting down to meditation

• Meditation anytime, anywhere

• The benefits of meditation

• The bridge from meditation to compassion

• The Golden Rule

• A simple exercise that could end your suffering


Session 5: Making compassion our natural response

• An overview of self-compassion

• Practicing kindness in the city

• Loving kindness meditation

• The Kindness Formula

• What scientific research tells us about kindness

• Empathy

• The benefits of forgiveness


Session 6: My compassionate citizen toolkit

• Training our minds

• Scientific research and building our confidence

• Research into the heart brain connection

• Making these techniques part of your life

• An exciting perspective

• Some useful materials

• Some useful resources from Awareness in Action


Participants will learn to:

• understand what is meant by being a compassionate citizen

• explore their potential to develop as one

• investigate their habits that can get in the way

• understand the need for a compassionate society

• experience the importance of meditation and how it is the basis for compassion

• discover some of the current scientific research into meditation and compassion

• connect with the idea of building their own self-compassion as a basis for being a compassionate citizen

• experiment with a range of compassion techniques that will help them develop their own compassionate potential

• build a tool kit that they can immediately apply to their own life in the city


What people have said about the course:

I enjoyed this course very much. It presented a thorough introduction to the skills needed to develop a compassionate mindset to our busy modern lifestyles. Although I had encountered many of these ideas before, the class brought them together in a meaningful way. The weekly exercises have helped move me from basic knowledge and good intentions to daily practice and implementation. I also appreciated being part of an online cohort. I enjoyed the participation of the other students and the support and encouragement from the instructor.

~ Eric Spencer


Thank you so much for this wonderful course. There was a lot of information - I have to go back and read the notes again to let it go deeper. It was a good combination between reflections and practical exercises and very clear. Although I already know a lot of the scientific research you made it very clear and structured it well. I found it very inspiring. Thank you for all the input of my fellow students, too and especially your answers.

~ Christine Brandt-Leeb


One thing that came to me in working through this course is that it is important to always try to step back and see our daily experiences like we are seeing them for the first time.  The daily routine tends to desensitize us.  I have always noticed how much more "awake" I am when traveling to a new city.  Everything is new and unfamiliar, so I am much more aware; my encounters with others more spontaneous.  The city photos and videos in the course and the exercises helped me to see my daily experiences in a fresh way.  This is the first step to employing the meditations and formulas in a spontaneous way as needed.  I would like to try to keep this going every day.

~ Lennine Occhino


This course highlighted a more positive way of living in the city - developing compassion, appreciation, love and forgiveness for other beings. I gradually realised that even the most difficult situations and emotions can be turned into ways of increasing kindness and compassion.  I've adopted many of these practices on a regular basis, and feel I'm definitely developing a more positive and altruistic outlook as a result.

~ Susan Burrows


I very much enjoyed, How to Become a Compassionate Citizen.  Maureen presents the materials with so much warmth and dynamism, she really brings the topic alive. Through personal reflections, state of the art videos and meditation techniques, we discovered the logic and sanity of compassion. I realized the practice of compassion is so vital for everyone, especially in our hectic busy lives. So, I highly recommend this course to everyone, you never knew compassion could be so much fun!

~ Jeroen Slieker, Amsterdam. Netherlands


This course made me realize that everybody, like me, just wants to be happy and everyone, like me does not want to suffer. And therefore, we all have the same right to be happy and to avoid suffering. This was a big change in my perception of others, opening myself to do something for their happiness and do something to prevent their suffering.

Throughout the course, I discovered that the more I did this, and the more I forgot to spoil myself, my own pain and suffering were easing.
I recommend this course for its authenticity, its practical sense and wise, and loving guidance of Maureen. This course embodies qualities of love, compassion and wisdom.

~ Juan Broullhet. Valencia, Spain

Course + coaching session           

This is a chance to discuss the course materials with your instructor and to receive personal guidance on integrating the exercises into your everyday life       $105.00

Special Pricing for Groups! Compassionate Community Group sign up—5 or more people. $45.00 per person in the group.


This is an exciting new way to take this course as a way of deepening work on creating a compassionate community. Each group member will be able to download a manual specifically designed to support taking this course as a group, as well as being part of a specially set-up Facebook Group.

If you are a group, please contact Maureen Cooper for this special pricing opportunity.


What are the special features of this course?

  • The 6 sessions of How to Become a Compassionate Citizen are all online with easily downloadable reflections, exercises and quotes.
  • As long as you have an internet connection you can access the content anywhere and at any time.
  • Lessons will be made available on the Thursday of each week giving you plenty of time to work with each one. 
  • We recommend something between one hour and 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.


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. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a professional educator, senior manager in a non-profit organization, an entrepreneur and as an accomplished practitioner of Buddhist meditation, she leads the in-demand Awareness in Action workshops and training programs all over the United States and Europe.

Her acclaimed book, The Compassionate Mind Guide to Reducing Stress is a groundbreaking 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 insanely fast-paced world.

When she’s able to take a break from rigours of the road, Maureen lives stress-free in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her husband.



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