Cultivating a Courageous Heart – A four-week course exploring the practices of Loving Kindness
Cultivating a Courageous Heart – A four-week course exploring the practices of Loving Kindness, facilitated by Mary O’Callaghan. This course will take place on Thursdays, 7.30 pm to 9.00 pm, from the 12th of January to the 2nd of February. The fee is €150.
Emotions are the stuff of life. At times they can be the source of tremendous joy and connection while at other times they can be the source of misery and disconnection. Emotions tend to come and go unbidden. While we have no choice around what emotions arise, we do have a choice around how we respond to them. Having this choice is especially important when destructive emotions arise as they exert a powerful pull on our nervous system and we can easily spiral into negative reactivity.
Responding to our emotions, particularly destructive ones, with care and sensitivity is an art that can be cultivated and it takes courage. The courage in the heat of the moment to: pause and reflect; to challenge our own views (if appropriate); to act or to refrain from acting; to speak or to stay silent and to recognise our vulnerabilities and our strengths in any moment.
The age-old practices of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity can offer us clear and courageous pathways to creatively explore ways of liberating our hearts from destructive reactivity. The cultivation of these practices offers us over time wise lenses through which we can more creatively exert choices around how we respond to our emotions, thereby liberating ourselves from more compulsive reactivity. These practices also give us ways to acknowledge, nourish and support the yearnings of our hearts for genuine connection to both ourselves and those around us. What better way to start the New Year?
The practices I will be offering will draw on Buddhist psychology, western psychology and neuroscience. The course will be a combination of talks, meditation instructions, group discussion and home practices.
Loving Kindness instructions were first offered by the Buddha as an antidote to anxiety. There are many proven benefits to a sincere practice including:
- significant reduction in self-critical mind states
- overall positive benefits on how we relate to ourselves and others
- improved quality of sleep
When our heart is imbued with loving kindness the heart is at ease and restlessness and worry can more easily subside.