Winter Course: Where Compassion Begins (Actual Dates: TBD)

1/10/2022, 12:00am - 3/31/2022, 12:00am at Online

Announcing a winter course: Where Compassion Begins. The course will start mid January 2022 and end late March. Our text will be the brand new book Where Compassion Begins: Foundational Practices to Enhance Mindfulness, Attention and Listening from the Heart by Jared Seide, Executive Director of the Center for Council. Classes will be held weekly throughout the 10-week course. Days and times of the classes that work for all participants will be determined after participants register. The class will take place online.

The form of council, practiced across many cultures and times, involves sitting in a circle (sometimes called a talking circle) and listening deeply and speaking truthfully from the heart. Jared describes council as “a space in which it feels okay to be vulnerable,” “to imagine the world we want to create and leave behind to the next generations” and “a sturdy container...that has the capacity to hold some very nourishing, often powerful, sometimes tender, moments of transformation.” Council is practiced these days in diverse settings, such as schools, prisons, businesses, and spiritual centers, and is a major component of the Zen Peacemakers tradition.

This class is intended for those who want to make the practice of council part of their Zen/spiritual training and enrich their lives and relationships by taking the wisdom of council into their everyday lives at work and home. I've had the privilege of attending the Council I training with Jared and Anne Seide and sincerely hope that as a result of this GPZC class, some will be moved to sign up for additional training through Center for Council. Whether you've never formally practiced council or have had extensive experience, we hope that these 10 weeks will open up new dimensions and applications as well as diving deeper into the skills and competencies of council practice.

For the first two weeks, we'll cover Part One of Where Compassion Begins. In these two classes, we'll discuss the elements, components and cultural practices of council. We ask that all participants attend these two classes, so that we have a common understanding going forward.

The remaining eight weeks are divided into 4 two-week sections: Physical Awareness, Mental Awareness, Emotional Awareness and Social & Energetic Awareness. For each section, we will have at least two group councils, with different participants facilitating and playing specific roles such as participating witness each time. In addition to the large group councils, participants will be encouraged to explore other council forms explained in the book: council of one (which is similar to journaling), dyadic council, and family. These will be done on your own during the week whenever and with whomever you wish (for example, with a spouse or workgroup).

The class structure will be simple – with just the main text to read – and will immerse us in council practice deeply and richly. It is understood that 10 weeks of class is a fairly substantial commitment. So, while we hope you can attend every class, we are asking you to prioritize attending the first two classes and then as many of the eight remaining classes as you can. Note that simply reading the book on your own will not be the same experience, as we will be doing a lot of practice together (online). If you would like to participate in the class, please purchase the book by early January, so that you will be able to read Part One prior to the start of the class. Please register by Monday, December 27. Cost of the class is $35 per person with scholarships available. If you are able, please consider an additional donation on the GPZC Dana page with the designation "Class scholarship fund."