Welcome to Practicing Compassion. This site is the on-line program of study and practice for participants in Cultivating Compassion Training (CCT) with Certified CCT Teacher Dawa Gail Lorien, PhD.
CCT™ is an 8-week program, developed at Stanford University, with insights and techniques from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. The course integrates evidence-based meditation techniques, interactive discussions, and lectures as well as real-world exercises to put learning into practice.
Here you will find information on CCT, course outline including weekly readings and references, as well as password protected guided meditations and exercises.
Compassion is a process that unfolds in response to suffering. It begins with the recognition of suffering, which gives rise to thoughts and feelings of empathy and concern. This, in turn, motivates action to relieve that suffering.
Humans have a natural capacity for compassion. However, everyday stress, social pressures and life experiences can make it difficult to fully express this capacity. Each of us can choose to nurture and grow the compassionate instinct, like a plant that is carefully cultivated from a seed. This process requires patience, steady care, proper tools, and a supportive environment.
The process of cultivating compassion involves training our own minds, developing specific skills in how we relate to others, and ourselves and intentionally choosing compassionate thoughts and actions. In CCT, the training process includes:
- Daily meditation practices to develop loving kindness, empathy, and compassion for oneself and others
- A two-hour weekly class that includes lecture, discussion, and in-class partner and small-group listening and communication exercises
- Real-world “homework” assignments to practice compassionate thoughts and action.
Cultivating Compassion goes beyond feeling more empathy and concern for others. It develops the strength to be with suffering, the courage to take compassionate action, and the resilience to prevent compassion fatigue. The benefits are profound and numerous, not the least of which is happiness — a sense of joy that can also be infectious to your partner, family members, friends, even co-workers. Developing the qualities of strength, courage, and resilience in the face of suffering can support a wide range of goals — from improving personal and work relationships to making a positive difference in the world.
Science of Compassion Research on the benefits of practicing compassion for ourselves and others is accruing every day. Studies suggest that compassion is trainable. CCT was developed by neuroscientists, psychologists and contemplative scholars at Stanford University headed by Thupten Jinpa, PhD, scholar and personal translator of HH Dalai Lama. Research has shown that this compassion course (CCT) increases compassion and self-compassion, decreases overwhelm, stress, and anxiety, and increases mental and physical health, feelings of connection, and overall well being.
Who: CCT is designed to support anyone who wants to cultivate compassion for themselves and for others and is offered in a secular context, People working in a wide range of professions and life contexts can benefit from this program. A crucial key to developing compassion in your life is integrating the practices into daily life and taking on compassion as a daily practice. No previous meditation experience is necessary. Those familiar with mediation and contemplative compassion practices will find their practice refreshed.
Why Practice Compassion? Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Erika Rosenberg, PhD, Philipe Goldin, PhD, and Geshe Thupten Jinpa, PhD are the interviewees, and appear in that order