Coming in October 2018: Lovingkindness and the Brahma Viharas

The antidote for our difficult times.

Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity
A 6-Week Online Course with Wendy Eisner
October 10-November 17, 2018

live sessions:  Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm

When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that’s wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that’s love.
Between these two my life turns.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj –

Course Registration: $60 for 6 weeks

Join me in October for an exploration of the Buddhist teachings on love.  It is sometimes called “metta” or lovingkindness. In this class, we will thoroughly examine the Brahma Viharas: the teachings that encompass compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Will this course help you to feel better and live more joyfully? I can only tell you the Brahma Viharas continue to be a powerful yet relatively simple teaching for me and are considered some of the most profound of Buddhist practices.

We will be studying both the formal practices, which include the phrases and meditations, and also informal, off-the-cushion practices of lovingkindness, compassion, and so on. I will also encourage you to design your own phrases and meditations that resonate with you on a personal level.

This is not sentimental stuff: we’re going to get down and dirty with the realities of why we are so hard on ourselves and others, why we may not feel that we deserve to be loved, and related issues.  We’re not talking about romantic love, but something inclusive, intuitive, and selfless. Nowadays, we may think this kind of love is in short supply, yet in fact it is boundlessly available; more renewable than solar power!

Take the course at your own pace and on your own schedule. The only scheduled event will be the weekly video dharma talk. The event consists of guided meditations, discussions, and teaching. This will be recorded live, so even if you miss it, you can access it from the website and watch it any time.

Course Registration: $60 for 6 weeks. Registration gives you exclusive access to course materials available on the course website.

In order to enable the online talks and class interaction to remain personal, enjoyable, and give everyone a chance to interact, I’m limiting the number of students to 15.

Please note: in keeping with Tri-State Dharma’s policy, no one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay. Contact Wendy if you are in need of a scholarship. Donations help to make scholarships possible.

Registration gives you exclusive access to course materials available at wendyeisner.com

The course includes:

  1. Access to the course materials (password protected). You can download the syllabus, worksheets, dharma talks, meditations, and readings 24/7.
  2. Live Weekly Dharma talk: with Q&A (1-1.5 hours) will be recorded and accessible any time for all enrolled students.
  3. 1 one-on-one, online or phone conversation with Wendy (if desired).
  4. Weekly worksheets with study guide and links to readings and meditations.
  5. Invitation to join my ongoing online sitting group.
  6. Guided online meditations and meditation instructions (video and text).
  7. Weekly contemplation (text).

Live sessions: Wednesday, 7-8:30 pm on the following dates:

  1. October 10
  2. October 17
  3. October 24
  4. October 31
  5. November 7
  6. November 14

Syllabus: An overview of the topics to be covered

Week 1: Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. W. Shakespeare

It may sound clichéd or trite, but love really IS the answer. Our introduction to the course will explore what the Buddha said about love, why we humans find it so difficult to accept ourselves as capable of love, and how we can approach a relationship with love in a way that feels natural and safe.

Week 2: Metta: If it’s not prayer, what is it?      

True love isn’t about making things different. Practicing metta, or lovingkindness, begins with our ability to love ourselves. Our culture and conditioning may insist that self-love is narcissistic and indulgent, but we will see that we have to be able to love ourselves before we feel safe enough to love others.

Week 3: The Mystery of Compassion: A quivering of the heart

Compassion recognizes another’s suffering along with the desire to alleviate that suffering. Metta practice allows us to move toward the ability to feel this quivering of the heart.  These practices can lead to a change in our behavior even if we think we are just going through the motions. We can begin to cultivate a practice of meditation that will enable us to re-discover our capacity for boundless joy for ourselves and for others.

Week 4: Empathetic Joy: Not a piece of cake

Just as mindfulness and metta practices lead naturally to compassion, we continue to expand our ability to open to other joyful aspects of life. We can now nurture the ability to feel good-will for the good fortune of others. In other words, we learn to recognize our happiness as well as the happiness of others and appreciate and share in that joy and good will. If we don’t begin to understand this somewhat neglected and under-estimated state of happiness, it’s likely the other Brahma Viharas will pass us by!

Week 5: The Elusive Magic of Equanimity

This is what equanimity isn’t: indifference. Instead, this is a quality of spaciousness that ties together the love, compassion, and empathetic joy and makes them manageable. Equanimity is the ability to balance within the emotional rollercoaster of life with ease. It may seem like a difficult quality to cultivate, yet it is also a natural byproduct of meditation.

Week 6: The World Offers Itself to You

The continued practice of the Brahma Viharas can lead us to the recognition that there is no need to divide the world into good and bad, love and hate, praise and blame. A sense of spaciousness opens up when we realize there is no need to give in to our habitual conditioning. Equanimity allows wisdom to combine with the qualities of love and joy we’ve been developing, and we can engage with the world with an understanding mind and a compassionate heart.

This is the antidote for these difficult times.

Interested? Register today!

Questions? Contact me!