The Compassion Based Living Course (CBLC) is a weekly mindfulness course for those who have already attended the Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC). It consists of 8 sessions, over an eight-week course. This secular course draws on insights and practices from neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and Mahayana Buddhism. The course starts with building self-compassion into a basic mindfulness practice. Through compassionate imagery and mindful self-compassion, we cultivate positive emotions as a way of building up an inner resource, from which we can approach the difficulties that are part of daily life. We then approach the self-critic: that persistent inner voice that is harsh and condemning, and always finding fault in what we do. What would it be like to cultivate an inner voice that is kind and supportive, and to live life from this place, rather than from a place of destructive self-criticism?
Over the journey we move from self-compassion towards compassion for others, exploring practices which help us find balance and perspective beyond our narrow preferences, generating love and friendliness to our inner and outer worlds, responding appropriately to pain and suffering while also appreciating the good things in our lives, integrating compassion into all that we do. As there is a strong emphasis on the experiential nature of the course, there are home practice suggestions between the sessions that include regular compassion practice and daily life exercises.
The weekly themes are:
• Session 1 – Why practice compassion? Because we suffer
• Session 2 – The Compassionate Mess
• Session 3 – It’s not our fault: an evolutionary perspective
• Session 4 – Creating conditions of safeness
• Session 5 – Befriending the self-critic
• Session 6 – Finding the compassionate friend within
• Session 7 – The Four Immeasurable Qualities
• Session 8 – Widening the circle of compassion