Last updated on 1st April 2018
A good friend & I have just been sorting out the practical details of running an 8 week course together on "Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing", starting in January. Some aspects still need to be tweaked, but the basic publicity information runs like this:
"If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practise compassion." Dalai Lama
"Wisdom, compassion, & courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men." Confucius
what is this course? This eight week training explores how we can increase our wellbeing & the wellbeing of those around us, by better understanding the core importance of compassionate relationships (with others & with ourselves), wise perspective & emotional intelligence, and tolerance & personal purpose. We’ll look at how we can better identify and live our values, develop and use our strengths, deepen inner balance, and relate to ourselves and others more heartfully. The approaches we use will be based on recent, fascinating scientific studies on the health & wellbeing benefits of closer relationships, a spectrum of meditation practices, skilful emotion regulation, the importance of choice & autonomy, and the overlapping benefits of increasing happiness & personal flourishing.
We’ll look at the work of several key researchers (for example, Diener, Fredrickson, Gilbert, Jeste, Neff, Ryan, Seligman, Sheldon, Singer & Staudinger) as well as how their findings overlap with traditional spiritual teachings from around the world. The great social psychologist Kurt Lewin said “There’s nothing so practical as a good theory” and we’ll use emerging knowledge to develop maps to help us navigate these overlapping territories of compassion, wisdom & wellbeing.
Primarily though this course is practical & experiential. It’s going to be pretty hard work at times. If you enrol, you need to know that the eight week training involves a commitment to about 20 to 40 minutes home practice each day. We’ll look at where we’re starting with widely used scales of different aspects of compassion, wisdom & wellbeing. We’ll track our progress & the changes we experience. The training will involve a variety of meditation practices, individual & pair work, savouring, writing, and exploring new activities & behaviours. It should be deeply interesting, helpful & fun! As a group of fellow adventurers, we’ll be going on a shared journey together.
who is the group for? The group is for anyone who is interested in learning about and nourishing these major ways to increase both our own wellbeing and also the wellbeing of those around us. If you plan to book on the course, it’s important to realise that this will involve a commitment to both the weekly meetings & also to 20 to 40 minutes of daily practical exercises.
who are the trainers? The course will be led by Kirsty MacGregor & Dr James Hawkins. Kirsty & James are old friends. Since the 1970’s they have had many conversations and frequent explorations of the areas we will be covering in the course. Between us we have extensive knowledge of the emerging research on the benefits of developing compassion, discernment & meaning. We both also have decades of personal practice in these areas, and have taught these & related skills both nationally & internationally.
course dates, cost & location: The course runs over eight two-hour sessions from 7.00 to 9.00pm on Thursdays 25th January to 15th March ‘18. Cost is £160 (£140 un/low waged) – 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Edinburgh University linked Global Compassion Initiative. The deposit of £80 is refundable if you cancel at least two weeks before the start of the course. Meetings will take place at the Medical School, 22-23 Teviot Row, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG. For more details & to book, email Dr James Hawkins at jh.edinburgh(at)gmail.com.
(Lots of course material is freely available online - to start, see 'Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing: 1st session'.)