An Introduction to Self-Compassion

A day long retreat lead by Douglas Pullin, Saturday January 21st, 2017 from 9:30am to 4pm.

"For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one's own feelings and to care for one's own welfare... Caring for others requires caring for oneself."- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama -

"Meditation practice is vital to the awakening of compassion, because it allows us to move beyond concepts and ideas of compassion to the felt-experience. Understanding the philosophy of emptiness or inter-being is not enough. Ideas need to be translated through meditation into the wordless language of feeling in order to loosen those emotional knots that keep us locked in a spasm of negative self-preoccupation"
- Stephen Bachelor in Buddhism Without Beliefs -

Compassion is what happens in us when love connects deeply with suffering. This day long meditation retreat is an opportunity for us to come together to remember and deepen our connection with our inherent capacity to keep our hearts open with the suffering of pain, fear, anger and sorrow.

Compassion is a courageous attitude that stands up to harm to others, and the harm that we inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-denial, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves and others, motivate ourselves with kindness, care for others, and be fully human. Compassion is cultivated through the courage to mindfully be with the direct experience of anguish with an open heart.

Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. And as the Dalai Lama said, self compassion is often where we need to start. First, to have compassion for others we must notice that they are suffering. If we ignore that homeless person on the street, we can't feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others' suffering so that our hearts respond to their pain. When this occurs, we feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that we offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when we feel compassion for another, it means that we realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. "There but for fortune go I." The ultimate expression of compassion is the realization that there is no self or other. There is just us. .

During this day together we will explore the three key components of self-compassion (identified by Dr. Kristin Neff in her book Self Compassion): self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to others, so that we know we aren't alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence during difficult moments in our lives. This loving presence is the foundation for compassionate action that seeks to reduce suffering in the world.
We will do meditation practices that cultivate mindfulness, kindness and a sense of our shared humanity. This day of meditation will include periods of sitting, walking and movement meditation. There will also be a Dharma talk and opportunity for personal sharing.

Cost: $50.00 suggested donation
You will not be turned away due to inability to pay.

Schedule: 9:30 am - 4 PM Saturday 1/21/17

Location: Portland Insight Meditation Center, 6536 SE Duke Street, Portland OR 97206

Registration: You can register online by clicking here

Food: Bring a sack lunch and food items to share

No prior meditation experience required.

Information: Call 503-293-4177 or send e-mail to Doug