October’s Learning Resources
October Theme: Self-Compassion
Most likely we have all heard the metaphor of putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. It’s a great metaphor, but how does that look in real life? Perhaps we can begin by getting cozy, of course, and asking ourselves some questions like, “What am I doing to take care of myself?” “How do I feel when I am taking care of myself?” “What are some signals that I need to care for myself better?”
📚Suggested Resources and Activites
- Namchak Blog: Tend to Yourself in Order to Better Tend to OthersLama Tsomo’s recommended book of the month: Real Change by Sharon Salzberg.* From Lama Tsomo, “Sharon is one of the foremost meditation teachers in the U.S., having been among the first to popularize it in the West. In this book she brings out her passion for Engaged Bodhicitta by sharing enlightening conversations with activists.
- Podcast: Self-Compassion with Kristin Neff (Being Well Podcast with Dr. Rick Hanson)Guided Meditation: Ten-minute Boundless Loving Kindness (Metta) with Lama Tsomo
- To Discuss: Check out this list of 25 Questions for Cultivating Self-Compassion from PsychCentral. Here are some of our favorites: How would I like to feel today? What is one thing I can do to cultivate this? What is something healthy I can do to support myself when I am sad or stressed? (psychcentral.com)To Watch: Kristin Neff: The Three Components of Self-Compassion (The Greater Good Science Center YouTube Channel)
- To Read: Resilience: Self-Care for Tough Times by Shauna Shapiro (lionsroar.com)
✨Monthly Learning Circle Spotlight:
This month we would like to introduce you to Colleen, a member of the Missoula Learning Circle and the Manager of Publications at Namchak. This is what Colleen has to say about her Learning Circle:
“Our Learning Circle is a small group and we’re just starting to find our footing, but it has been a regular source of solace and motivation for me as we struggle through challenges of practice and life together. It has been a wonderful experience to read a shared text and digest the information together, hearing others’ perspectives and experiences as it relates to meditation. I’ve found that the Learning Circle is a safe space to discuss my personal obstacles and challenges with my practice. Hearing that others have had similar challenges and talking through ideas for addressing them is so comforting, hopeful, and valuable. This is truly a supportive group with no judgment and I’m able to show up authentically, warts and all. Participating in this group has reinvigorated my personal practice and I feel accountable to them, which inspires me to keep moving forward.”
ONE COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Opening, Community Commitments, Check-Ins (20-25 min):
- Invite a moment of silence and give rise to Bodhicitta.
- Read Community Commitments.
- Check-Ins: How are you doing? How is your practice going? Reflecting on this month’s theme, what is one thing you do to cultivate self-compassion?
Read Article (10 min):
- Read this article aloud with your Learning Circle: Resilience: Self-Care for Tough Times from Lion’s Roar.
Watch Short Video (1:45):
- In this short clip, Kristen Neff talks about The Paradox of Self-Compassion.
Journaling and Discussion (20 min):
Take a few moments for your Circle members to individually reflect/journal about any or all of the following questions. After you finish journaling, you are welcome to move into smaller break-out rooms with your Circle (about 10-15 minutes) and then rejoin to have a full group discussion.
- After reading the article and watching the video, is there anything that stood out to you?
- When you are experiencing suffering, do you go straight into problem-solving mode or do you acknowledge and validate your suffering first?
- Out of the five practices shared in the article, which resonates with you the most? Which do you practice? Which would you like to do more of?
- When you are experiencing suffering, does it connect you to or isolate you from others, and why might this be?
Meditation and Reflection (15 min):
- 10-Minute Boundless Loving Kindness with Lama Tsomo (10 minutes)
- After practicing this meditation, reflect with your Circle on how that experience felt to you. (5 min)
Closing and Dedication of the Merit (1 min):
Through this merit, may all beings awaken and be happy. May all beings everywhere benefit and thrive from these practices. May all beings everywhere experience joy, peace, ease, and compassion for self and others.
Learn to ground yourself in the present moment by gaining full awareness of the experience of being embodied or being connected to your own body. To do this, we start by paying attention to the sensation of breathing, subtle movements in the body, and other somatic experiences as techniques to help bring awareness to our emotional landscape and ease anxiety.
Our Human Nature
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that as human beings we are part of the natural world, intricately connected to all forms of life and to the planet itself.
Taking Action in the World
Expanding from our own communities to the world at large, we consider what matters most to us, the issues that we care about, and how we define ways to help ease the suffering of others and bring happiness. We examine three essential questions: “What do I care most about?” “Who do I care most about?” and “What am I going to do about it?
There is no going it alone. We live our lives with others, part of interconnected communities, known as “Sangha” in Tibetan Buddhist practice. We explore the ways we can cultivate awareness within ourselves and grow as we engage with those around us, ultimately living happier and more meaningful lives and contributing to the same for others.