October’s Learning Resources
October Theme: Cultivating Self-Compassion
Tend to yourself to better tend to others
Learn to ground yourself in the present moment by gaining full awareness of the experience of 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.
LEARNING RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES ✨
- Discuss: How would you like to feel today? What’s one small step you can take to cultivate this feeling? What do you need right now? What is one healthy thing you can do to support yourself when you are sad or stressed out? What is a new habit you can adopt in helping you feel more joy or calm in your life?
- Read: The Joy of Self-Caring by Cyndi Lee (lionsroar.com)
- Watch: The Wise Heart of Radical Acceptance, with Tara Brach (Tara Brach Youtube channel)
- Namchak Blog: How to Practice Self-Compassion
- Lama Tsomo’s book recommendation: The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker* From Lama Tsomo: “We’re moving indoors and into holiday season, when we’ll gather with family, friends … and perhaps, Sangha. Priya Parker noticed that we might think about the food we’ll serve, and such particulars, but not necessarily how we’ll connect with each other so that it’s meaningful and satisfying. Meaningful and satisfying connection is what we’re about in this Sangha! We’ve given it a lot of thought, and we keep on learning! Which is why many of us are excited about Parker’s book. I’ve heard her talk about challenging gatherings, what went wrong, what went right, and why. She arms us with examples, techniques, and understandings so that we can have great gathering experiences too. And who doesn’t want that?”
- Podcast: How To Stop Living An Artificial Life | Karen Armstrong (Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris, tenpercent.com)
* Namchak Foundation and Lama Tsomo do not receive any monetary or other benefit from the purchase of this book.
MEDITATION INSPIRATION ☸️
Seven-minute Loving Kindness (Metta) Practice: Connect with your own true essence of awareness, love, compassion, and joy in this Loving Kindness meditation with Lama Tsomo. Wish safety, freedom from suffering, and joy for yourself and all sentient beings.
Learning Circle Spotlight ☸️
Kindness to others has been my #1 goal in life. Because of Namchak’s teachings, “self compassion” & “compassion for others” perhaps is a better description, rather than kindness.
I’ve come to realize that my silent negative criticism of myself and others is not kind nor is it practicing compassion. So I am living on a different path. I am Walking the Path to find better health, happiness, peace, hope and especially freedom from negativity & unhealthy habits. I am walking one step at a time.
There is much to explore through silent meditation and through socializing. I note that a habit is very hard to stop. But awareness is fantastic and I’m again back on The Path with more self compassion than ever.
I’m grateful for my three very different learning circles. I feel I’ve made friends for life.
I’m grateful for Khenpo & Lama Tsomo’s teachings. They practice compassion & wisdom that I very much appreciate.
Namchak is helping me Walk the Path in ways that I never dreamed were possible.
Thank you to all who are a part of Namchak!
One Community Activities
💫 Opening, Community Commitments, Check-Ins (15-20 min)
- Invite a moment of silence and give rise to Bodhicitta.
- Read Community Commitments.
- Check-in question: Which, if any, of Lama Tsomo’s books have you read either individually or with your Learning Circle? In what ways have these books helped you either with your own practice or understanding more about Tibetan Buddhism?
🌎 Watch Video of Jetsunma's Dharma Talk on Easing Anxiety (1 hr 15 min)
• This video includes the entire Book Launch with Lama Tsomo in addition to questions from the community.
• Lama Tsomo is an American lama, author, and co-founder of the Namchak Retreat Ranch. Born into a Midwestern Jewish household, she followed a path of spiritual inquiry and study that ultimately led to her ordination as one of the few American lamas in Tibetan Buddhism. After a decade of practice, she became fluent in Tibetan and now teaches students in the U.S. and abroad. She is particularly passionate about reaching young people and supporting those working for positive social change. Fascinated by science from an early age, Lama Tsomo often weaves research findings into her candid and humorous teachings. She holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Jungian studies. She is the author of Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?, the Ancient Wisdom For Our Times series, an exploration of Tibetan Buddhism meditation that includes: Why Bother? An Introduction; Wisdom & Compassion (Starting with Yourself); and book three of the series, Deepening Wisdom, Deepening Connection just released this October 2022. Along with the Namchak Community, she created Taking a Breath: A Meditation and Reflection Journal, a hands-on guide for developing and improving meditation practice.
🗣️ Discussion (15 min)
🙏 Dedicate the merit (1 min)
may suffering be transformed into peace.
Practicing Inclusion + Nonviolent Communication
Treating people of all backgrounds and identities with fairness and respect is an ongoing journey for most of us, including our team at Namchak. We share our experience with the practice of nonviolent communication, which teaches us how to listen deeply to our own needs as well as those of others, helping us connect to our innate compassion.
Our personal practice isn’t just for our own benefit but for others, too. We dive into the meaning of work, consider our gifts, and examine work as an environment to practice being in community and contributing to the greater good.
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.
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?”