by Geri Loizzo
There’s a reason why I’m so excited about our upcoming Meditation Teacher Training in Compassion (view announcement page). Though we benefit greatly from Mindfulness as the way of personal freedom, or the vehicle for not getting caught up in the stresses of everyday life, it is compassion practice that takes us back to Mindfulness’ ethical roots. Historical Buddha, after all, declared that every mind is noble regardless of race, class or gender. In that sense, his remarkable insights, the four noble truths, were radically compassionate at their very core.
Compassion Training is a treasure of practices that have the potential to soften the heart, protect from stress, and bring us closer to our fellow human beings in an ever-widening circle of kin. They are a social gift that keeps on giving.
As a co-leader in the Radical Compassion Project at Nalanda Institute, I’m eager to apply these teachings to my practice, on the cushion and off, to find ways to dismantle my own unconscious bias and to keep recognizing my placeholder in current day systems of oppression.
But there’s another reason that excites me, and that is the chance to reunite with our incredible partners, The Path and Pure Yoga. The combination of vibrant community, learning rigor, and spacious, comfortable surroundings, has made our Meditation Teacher Trainings particularly joyful and edifying.
This Compassion Training round, which begins March 10th, encompasses three full afternoon retreats and 10 Wednesday evening classes. Participants will experience a learning environment that allows for strengthening personal practice as well as gaining teaching confidence in a supportive and nurturing environment. The community we build together is life-changing. The skills and methods we hone are profound.
If you want happiness for others, practice compassion. If you want happiness for yourself, practice compassion.
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The first learning step we take in compassion begins with relationships. Much of the source of our everyday stress comes from our relationships. The view from the Nalanda tradition is that all of our relationships hold the potential to cause suffering. From our close companions to strangers, to enemies, our reactions to people can shape our development as human beings. His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, “If you want happiness for others, practice compassion. If you want happiness for yourself, practice compassion.” So, the first step of compassion is to contemplate the equality of all beings. This radical act of equanimity allows us to see each person in our lives as our teacher, showing us how to let go of fearful clinging, increase our awareness, and build muscles of acceptance, tolerance, and peace.
And that’s only the beginning. The trajectory of this training continues with nurturing self-inquiry, building pro-social skills, and stretching the bounds of limiting narratives to prepare us to engage more fully in the world. I am deeply honored to be a humble guide in this Meditation Teacher Training in Compassion along with Joe Loizzo and the remarkable Megan Mook.
What’s not to love about compassion?
Editors note: This training begins March 10th. Find out more about this season’s offering of Meditation Teacher Training in Compassion and apply today. Or see an overview of our Meditation Teacher Training programs.