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Whole-Hearted Living: Training for the Mind

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Lessons

Lesson 1: Why Whole-Hearted Living is Important

Length: 9 minutesComplexity: Easy

This course, “Whole-Hearted Living,” might seem like a touchy-feely topic, and lots of people will be tempted to dismiss it. But this is a huge mistake, one that I made for years. Let’s look at why this is an extremely important course.

Lesson 2: The Struggle is the Path

Length: 10 minutesComplexity: Standard

When we start with mindfulness, we find that there are things we struggle with. And in our daily lives, it can feel like we’re really not making progress. These areas of struggle are actually the perfect areas to work on, because they are rich fields of exploration … they can be our teachers.

Lesson 3: Holding Things Lightly

Length: 15 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, we contemplate a slogan, “Regard everything as a dream,” and see how it can help us regard everything more lightly.

Lesson 4: Compassion Meditation

Length: 24 minutesComplexity: Easy

In this lesson, we look at what compassion is, how to explore it, and I share a compassion meditation that you should do regularly during this course.

Lesson 5: Loving Kindness Meditation

In the last lesson, we talked about compassion, or a wish for someone’s suffering to end. In this lesson, we’ll talk about a different side to this, which we’ll call kindness, or even “loving kindness”,” to show the warmth that’s contained in this kindness.

Lesson 6: On Joy

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Easy

The Joy we’re going to talk about in this lesson isn’t the feeling of excited happiness you feel when something good is happening to you, like when you’re in love or outside on a sunny spring day … instead, in this lesson, Joy refers to the feeling of unselfish, sympathetic happiness for someone else’s happiness.

Lesson 7: On Equanimity

Length: 30 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, we’re going to wrap up our discussion of the Four Great Virtues in Buddhism … we’ve already covered three of them: Compassion, Loving Kindness, and Joy. The last is Equanimity. It’s about letting go of attachments, and opening up to everything.

Bonus Lesson 7b: Healthy, Fit & Productive

Length: 17 minutesComplexity: Easy

In this lesson, I’d like to talk about how to use what we’re learning in this course to benefit some key areas of your life. After all, many of you want to be more productive, fitter, healthier, and happier … not just meditate all day on compassion. So let’s look at how to apply the lessons we’re learning to some of these key areas of our lives.

Lesson 8: A Vow to Help All Beings

Length: 13 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, we’ll talk about a vow that Buddhists take, called the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows, and why one part of those vows are something you should consider. Now you might ask, “Why the heck should I care about a Buddhist vow, and why would I even consider making that vow myself?” The answer is because it will help free you from attachments.

Lesson 9: See Everything as a Teacher

Length: 14 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, I’m going to explore the idea that “everything that comes to you is an opportunity for truth.” Another way of looking at this is: everything is a teacher. Everything has a lesson for you, if you’re willing to see it.

Lesson 10: Radical Self-Acceptance

Length: 30 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, we’re going to talk about the Trance of Unworthiness, a concept I learned from the excellent book, “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.

Lesson 11: Acceptance of Everything

Length: 18 minutesComplexity: Standard

In the last lesson, we talked about Radical Acceptance of yourself, including the parts you don’t like, and waking up from the Trance of Unworthiness. This lesson, we’ll expand this Radical Acceptance to other people, and in fact everything.

Lesson 12: The Practice of Getting Bigger

Length: 13 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this lesson, we’ll talk about cultivating a spaciousness in your mind, as you meditate … seeing that actually, you have the ability to hold a lot in your mind, not just one emotion or story, but a bigger space.

Lesson 13: Root of Happiness

Length: 24 minutesComplexity: Standard

When we practiced the loving kindness meditation, we wished for others to experience happiness and the root of happiness … but what is the root of happiness? We’ve touched on it before, in small doses, but in this lesson we’ll explore it further.

Lesson 14: Putting It All Together

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Standard

In this course, we explored suffering and the cause of suffering — attachments — from all kinds of angles. In the end, from all these various angles, what we’ve been cultivating is a flexible mind.