Heart Wide Open: The Art and Science of Cultivating Compassion (May 1–28)

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Heart Wide Open: The Art and Science of Cultivating Compassion

With our hearts closed against suffering, we are only half open to life. Allowing ourselves to connect emotionally to others means being open to all emotions, even the uncomfortable ones.

Despite all that, compassion is not a "downer." Compassion is not only inherent to who we are as human beings, but is necessary for our well-being. Compassion is part of our evolutionary heritage. Capuchin moneys, chimps, elephants, and even rats and mice have been shown to demonstrate concern for their companions. And research demonstrates that the reward centers in our brains light up when we experience compassion.

Compassion isn't just about helping others. It helps us, too. Compassionate individuals are able to show care, kindness, and support for themselves, too, so that they are more emotionally robust than people who have lower levels of compassion. Compassion helps insulate us from anxiety and depression, improves our overall health, and makes us more popular with others.

The Buddhist tradition offers us tools for cultivating compassion. On this 28-day online meditation course we'll be exploring a five-part meditation practice specifically designed to help us strengthen our innate capacity for compassion. Not only will we cultivate compassion through meditation, but through practicing it in our daily lives.


In this 28-day event you’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize, without judgment, the ways in which we inadvertently cause ourselves suffering.
  • Cultivate empathy, kindness, and compassion for yourself and others
  • Distinguish “wallowing” from genuine compassion
  • Let go of resentment — without suppressing it
  • Acknowledge suffering without being overwhelmed by it.
  • Avoid creating unnecessary suffering for yourself by reacting to pain
  • Embrace perspectives that help you develop emotional resilience
  • Bring compassion into your everyday activities

Course Format

Signing up for this event gives you access to:

  • 28 daily emails containing practice suggestions and reflections
  • Access to six guided meditations, from 7 to 27 minutes in length
  • Support in a friendly and welcoming online community

This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

What other participants have said

  • “I’m really finding the course excellent. Thank you so much for it, Bodhipaksa, and for all your supporting work, Mark.” Sioned W.
  • “This course has shown me although it is important to show compassion to others; you have to look after yourself as well.” Jemma G.
  • “I’m really inspired by the emails that I receive everyday. There’s lots of change happening in my life!” Fiona B.
  • “I was amazed how quickly I was able to shift to a state of acknowledging my emotion and observing the emotion of the other parties involved, working to repair the practical situation, and then caring for my distress afterward by doing something that nurtures me.” Erin V.

About the instructor

BodhipaksaBodhipaksa has been practicing Buddhist meditation for over 30 years, and teaching for around 25 years. He formerly taught meditation in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Montana, and for several years ran a thriving retreat center in the Scottish Highlands. He is the author of more than a dozen books and audiobooks, and has been published in six languages. In 2001 he founded Wildmind, an online meditation center. He has been a member of the Triratna Buddhist order since 1993. He is originally from Scotland, but now lives in New Hampshire. He has two children.

Scholarships are available

A limited number of scholarships are available for those who would like to participate but are unable to make a donation. If you would like to take advantage of one of these scholarships, please write to us: mark@wildmind.org.

Questions, comments, problems?

Email mark@wildmind.org

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