Week 1: Introduction to the course and also introduction to settling and focusing the mind
The first class includes an introduction to the course content, instructor, and fellow students. In-class discussion and practice will include: connecting with your intention for taking CCT right now, what is compassion, what does it mean to “train” compassion. We will practice cultivating the skill of focusing the mind through breath focus meditation. This step is considered foundational for all other practices in this program.
Week 2: Loving-kindness and compassion for a loved one
This class is designed to help participants recognize what the experiences of love, kindness, and compassion feel like when they occur for a loved one. The meditation and practical exercises offered in this week aim to help practitioners recognize the physical and physiological signs of the feelings of warmth, tenderness, concern, and compassion towards a loved one.
Week 3: Compassion for oneself
In this class, we turn our attention to developing qualities such as greater self-acceptance, tenderness, nonjudgmental and caring towards oneself. Connecting with one´s own feelings and needs and relating to them with compassion is the basis for developing a compassionate stance toward others.
Week 4: Loving-kindness for oneself
This week we continue to develop the qualities of warmth, appreciation, joy, and gratitude towards oneself. While the previous step focused on self-acceptance, this step focuses on developing appreciation for oneself.
Week 5: Embracing shared common humanity and developing appreciation of others
This week we establish the basis for compassion toward others through two key elements: 1) recognizing our shared common humanity or basic “sameness” and the fundamental shared aspiration for happiness and overcoming suffering, and 2) appreciating the kindness of others and how human beings are deeply interconnected.
Week 6: Cultivating compassion for others
On the basis of the previous week, participants begin to cultivate compassion for all beings by moving from focusing on a loved one to focusing on a neutral person, then on a difficult person, and finally on all beings.
Week 7: Active compassion practice
This class involves explicit evocation of the altruistic wish to do something about others’ suffering. The formal sitting practice known as “giving and taking” or “giving and receiving,” essentially takes the form of a visualization practice where the practitioner imagines taking away the suffering of others and giving them what is beneficial in oneself.
Week 8: Closing and integrated daily compassion cultivation practice
In this final class, the essential elements of the previous classes are combined into an integrated compassion meditation practice that can continue to be done daily by participants who choose to adopt it.