The Center for Human Flourishing
is an organization founded and run by Filipe Gonçalves Rocha for the promotion of human well-being and genuine happiness, from the individual level to human societies at larger and even global scales, including their relationship with the planet and other living beings.
This project was born form a deeply thought and long matured desire to help bring about a positive transformation to individual persons, small communites, societies, and ultimately the planet. In a world filled with so much unnecessary wrong and suffering, and with such a great potential for good, beauty, and flourishing, we intend to be a strong one among the many forces that are making a positive change in people’s lives and in the world.
Every day we see friends, family, colleagues, and strangers (and ourselves) suffering or being chained by our own and others’ afflicitons, unbalances, and disruptive emotions, not to speak of whole communities and even humanity as a whole living under limitations or oppressions originated by unbalanced minds and their destructive tendencies. We see that the root of all these problems, small to large, trivial to unprecedented, lies in the human mind and in its state of balance. And we understand that their solutions and the path to a better and happier life and world are in the study, understanding, transformation and improvement of our minds and ourselves. So, we made it our mission to help make this possible and real to any and all those that we can reach, to bring you training, education, guidance and resources that will inspire you and support you on your path of growth, flourishing and genuine happiness.
Wise and happy people will make a wiser and happier world.
And to us, every single life we help turn better is a true joy and a realization of our purpose.
At its core, the mission of the Center for Human Flourishing is to help everyone at our reach grow, develop, and transform into the best version of themselves, to overcome and leave behind the fetters and imbalances that hold us back and to achieve and realize our unique potential as human beings, in this way greatly reducing human suffering and actualizing genuine happiness. This is what Human Flourishing is about.
We believe that every person cares to be happy and free from suffering.
Our mission is to be a force and a helping hand in that direction.
Happiness and Mental Balance
If we want to be able to promote well-being and human flourishing, we need to understand what are its true causes. Although external and material conditions certainly play a vital role, we believe that the root of genuine happiness (and suffering) is in the mind. A more balanced mind – a mind with good values, wisdom, and a refined awareness – is more prone to constructive emotions and a spring of genuine happiness and well-being; while a more unbalanced mind – one with misleading values, delusion, and a scattered awareness – is more prone to destructive emotions and a source of turmoil and suffering. Therefore, we can identify mental balance as the root of either happiness or suffering, and this makes it our mission to promote and help cultivate mental balance to its best.
A force for good
We can understand mental balance as a spectrum, ranging from the extreme of the heavily unbalanced state of mental disorders, to exceptional mental balance and prime human flourishing, what Aristotle called Eudaimonia – the happiness of a good spirit.
Most of us find ourselves in the middle of the spectrum, between the two extremes: with a balanced enough mind to function properly, live and survive, but still very prone to destructive emotions, delusion, and unnecessary suffering.
Wherever each person finds him or herself along this spectrum, our aspiration is to be a force and a helping hand in the direction of balance, happiness and flourishing. We aim to be the pink arrow.
So how do we strive to fulfill our mission and help cultivate and spread mental balance?
Trainings, courses, workshops, and retreats
Free education, resources, guidance, and inspiration
What do we teach, and where does it come from?
Our teachings, resources, and inspiration do not necessarily have a single source or origin. Instead, we take them from any source as long as they prove to be useful (and not harmful) to well-being and flourishing. At the same time, we try to extract only the core wisdom and practices while leaving aside the traditions and beliefs often associated with each of these cultures, in this way maintaining a pratical and genuine body of education, resources, and inspiration open and useful to anyone from any background.
Our teachings come from a true encounter between modern science and the contemplative traditions, featuring from the most recent discovery in neuroscience to age-old practices and pieces of wisdom. We take inspiration from West and East, relying on one hand on the fields of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, sociology, biology, and physics, and on the other on the core wisdom and practices of time-tested contemplative traditions, in particular, but not exclusively, Buddhism.
About our founder
Filipe Gonçalves Rocha is the founder and main teacher, trainer, and author of the Center for Human Flourishing. He is a teacher, trainer, and author in the fields of mental and emotional balance, emotional intelligence, awareness, and regulation, meditation and contemplative practices, mental health, happiness and well-being, and personal growth and transformation. He is currently a 6th and final year medical student at the Abel Salazar Institute for Biomedical Sciences – University of Porto (ICBAS-UP), having begun his course in 2015, and he is also a voluntary paramedic at the Portuguese Red Cross.
What kind of organization are we?
One question you might have is whether we are a registered non-profit. Although we see great value in non-profits, we don’t believe that to be the best model for our organization. We want to be able to truly invest our time and effort into this project, as well as to make it grow, each time reaching more people and providing better and more inspiring content. In order to attain these goals, we need both to be able to make this our dedicated job, and to have resources to invest in the project. And for that, we need profit! We see profit not as a goal in itself, but as a means to better achieve our purpose of promoting human well-being and flourishing! This also frees us from the burden of the time and resource consuming donation-gathering camapigns of organizations that rely mostly on them, which gives us more time to focus on actually delivering good and useful content to you!
So why do you accept donations?
Although we are not a registered non-profit, we are certainly also not a “for-profit” business. Our main purpose is still to make flourishing and well-being accessible to everyone, and because of that we are committed to making valuable and extensive education and resources available for free on our website. We are only able to do this with the support of our donors’ trust and generosity. Besides, we also try to make accessible to all even our paid programs, by offering them at special lower costs to those with proven economic difficulties. Again, this is only possible thanks to the donations we receive. At last, we see donations as a means for those who believe in our project and want to contribute to its sustainability and growth, to do so in a easy and confortable but nonetheless meaningful way.
If you have the desire and the possibility, please consider becoming a donor!
Where can you find us?
We do most of our interaction with our users around the whole world online, making use of the internet’s benefits to overcome physical barriers and be able to reach virtually anyone located anywhere.
We are physically sediated in Porto, Portugal, a welcoming city with a beautiful landscape planted on the margins of the Douro river and next to the (sometimes too) refreshing sea. Portugal and in particular Porto is where we make most of our physical in-person trainings, courses, workshops and retreats. However, we also occasionally hold these programs in various locations around the globe, providing unique opportunities for people from those locations to attend them presentially, and we plan on making these more regular as we grow.
If you would like to request a training in your area, or just ask any other question, feel free to contact us.