Apart from deepening the practice of mindfulness and practical guidelines and exercises for compassion training, the following topics are addressed:
- The acknowledgement of pain and suffering as part of human life and insight into how our brains evolved to help us survive.
- Understanding the three basic emotion regulation systems: the threat system, focussed on safety and self-protection; the drive system, focussed on acquiring satisfaction, resources and rewards; and the soothing system, focussed on ‘safeness’, contentment and social bonding.
- How the three systems can get out of balance by influences from outside, but also from inside, for instance through shame, self-attack and an inner bully.
- Common humanity: sensing our shared human condition; and what we did not choose is not our fault.
- How imagery can influence the emotion regulation systems and imagination exercises can help restore the balance by strengthening our soothing systems and help to cultivate an inner helper.
- Exercises how to compassionately motivate ourselves, pay attention, sense, think, reason, speak and act.
- Exercises that help us discover what contributes to happiness, joy and gratitude.
- Becoming familiar with the Four Friends for Life (loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity) and discovering which of the four, as an inner attitude to be practised, is the best helper in a given situation.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.