How to manage the everyday obstacles of our destructive emotions and cultivate a wholesome way of being?
These were the questions that sparked the meeting between H.H. the Dalai Lama with behavioral scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and sociologists, as well as Buddhist monks and scholars, at the VII Mind & Life Dialogue. One of the outcomes of these rich and fruitful discussions was the development of this program.
Cultivating Emotional Balance is a training program designed to increase happiness and well-being within yourself, as well as in relationship to others and the world around you. In particular, it focuses on how our emotions can often become problematic and an obstacle to our own and others’ well-being, and what we can do to transform them into a wellspring of genuine joy and growth.
This course aims at helping you:
- Have your emotions work for you, not against you;
- Have your experience of emotions be constructive, and not destructive;
- Have you and those who know you intimately sense, by end of the course, that you have changed.
Awareness Brings Choice
Our emotions can either greatly help us and be a source of joy, or make us feel and behave in regrettable ways and create profound misery. The problem is, for most of us, emotions are beyond our conscious control – we don’t have a choice, they just happen to us.
The first step towards choice is becoming more aware of and familiar with our emotional experiences. Cultivating Emotional Balance training puts emotional awareness at its core to help participants move closer to a life of choice.
By becoming able to recognize the spark before the flame, we create a distance between stimulus and response, where we can chose if and how we want to emotionally engage.
Emotional balance is just the tip of the iceberg
What’s behind emotional balance? What turns an emotion constructive or destructive? Our emotions are based on the state and characteristics of our mind. A balanced mind will lead to balanced emotions, while an unbalanced mind will lead to unbalanced emotions.
CEB training aims at cultivating and sustaining emotional balance from a solid ground of mental balance, grounded on:
The key components of CEB are:
- Understanding how emotions work, and how they can work for and not against us
- Recognizing and working with emotional triggers
- Deepening awareness and stabilizing attention
- Increasing compassion for the self and others
- Cultivating happiness of being and mental balance
To learn more about Cultivating Emotional Balance:
Cultivating Emotional Balance is an evidence-based curriculum that draws from empirical research on emotion, coupled with contemplative practices that are rooted in Buddhist traditions.
CEB training integrates wisdom traditions, contemplative sciences, modern psychology, and scientific emotion research into a secular platform for human transformation. The CEB curriculum features useful and profound theory and practices from both the modern scientific method and knowledge, including psychology, neuroscience and medicine, as well as from the time-tested contemplative tradition with millennia of experience and refinement of Buddhism.
Cultivating Emotional Balance only takes the core wisdom and practices from these traditions and is not associated with any religion, being a completely secular program open to everyone from any background.
The training will focus on learning the theories and practices of psychology regarding emotional balance, based on Dr. Paul Ekman’s work, and the relevant theories and practices of Buddhism, based on Dr. Alan Wallace’s teachings, particularly focused on the cultivation of attention, insight through the practice of mindfulness, and the qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity (the Four Immeasurables). This course features the complete 42-hour Cultivating Emotional Balance program, detailed below.
- Setting an aspiration
- Introduction to genuine happiness
- The path of genuine happiness: attention, wisdom, and values
- Understanding emotions
- What are emotions?
- What is their function?
- How do they work?
- Trigger, experience, and behavior: building a model for the emotional episode
- Recognizing emotions and facial expressions
- Transforming emotions
- How can emotions become destructive?
- How can we make them more constructive?
- Before the emotion: cultivating mental balance and working with hot triggers
- During the emotion: recognizing (emotional awareness), regaining choice, and transforming
- After the emotion: healing and using destructive emotional episodses for growth and improvement
- Dealing with and helping improve others’ emotional episodes
- The 7 universal emotions:
- Fear & Surprise
- Disgust & Contempt
- Other important emotions (guilt and shame, envy and jealously, …)
- Cultivating attentional balance
- Introduction to attentional balance
- Mindfulness of the present, body, and breath
- Settling the mind in its natural state
- Achieving mental quiescence and tranquility
- Cultivating cognitive balance
- Introduction to cognitive balance
- The importance of a balanced attention for the cultivation of wisdom
- The four applications of mindfulness: body, feelings, mind, and phenomena
- The three marks of existence and the nature of reality: impermanence, emptiness (interdependence), and dissatisfaction
- Cultivating conative balance
- Identifying the true causes of happiness and suffering
- Hedonia and Eudaimonia
- The four immeasurables: Loving-kindness, Compassion, Empathetic-joy and Equanimity
- Bringing genuine happiness to daily life and out into the world
- Shamatha (attention training & mental serenity)
- Mindfulness of breathing
- Settling the mind in its natural state (mindfulness of the mind)
- Awareness of awareness (optional)
- Vipashyana (insight into reality & self)
- The 4 applications of mindfulness (satipatthana):
- Mindfulness of the body
- Mindfulness of feelings
- Mindfulness of the mind
- Mindfulness of phenomena
- The 4 applications of mindfulness (satipatthana):
- The 4 immeasurables (Brahmaviharas)
- Loving-kindness (metta)
- Compassion (karuna)
- Empathetic joy (mudita)
- Equanimity (upekkha)
We desire to make our programs acessible to anyone who might benefit from them, regardless of economic possibilities. For that reason, we offer this training at a generosity-based sliding scale, so you can contribute with the value that is fairest to you and still support our work.
Please choose the pricing option that best fits your situation and availability. If the sliding scale options below are not appropriate for your circumstances at this time, we are also offering full scholarships (see below).
Currency conversions are estimated and for informational purposes only. All final transactions will be made in euros.
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Pay it forward
I am happy to offer a little more and help support the scholarship fund!
I can support at the standard training price!
Sliding scale 1
I can support at the sliding scale level 1!
Sliding scale 2
I can support at the sliding scale level 2!
Access For All (Scholarship Information)
We intend to make these resources available to all who wish to put them into action in their own lives and communities. If none of the options above are suitable for you and you need a partial or full scholarship, please contact us. In your message, include your motivations for attending this training and the reasons for requesting the scholarship.
Included to all participants:
“I didn’t know what to expect in the beginning (of CEB), but every week was full of revelations and clarity. I have definitely taken a wise step towards emotional regulation by attending this program and would recommend it to everyone!”
“The thing I enjoyed most and found really useful was how the course has given me much more clarity about the subjects covered—clearly defining the emotions and the variety of meditation practices. I feel I am beginning to understand more clearly a lot of the practices that I have already had in my life (and will continue to have). The main difference is between recognizing intellectually and experiencing—immeasurably valuable!”
Not at all. This course will guide you through the very first steps of meditation practice, all the way to more advanced and profound practices and meditations.
Not at all. The themes and practices of CEB are universal and are not tied to any particular religion, but are open to all.
We can steadily enhance our capacity for attention, wisdom, and good qualities, by strengthening these mental qualities just as we can our triceps. As with our physique the key is steady practice. Part of CEB training involves learning various forms of meditation that present a systematic path leading to deeper levels of concentration, but begin with the simple exercise of following the breath.
Yes! All those who successfully complete the course will receive a participation and completion certificate by the teacher and Center for Human Flourishing. Presence in 85% of the sessions is necessary.
Yes! All registered participants will be handed a course manual as well as various documents and worksheets which are either needed or improve your experience and outcomes from the course.
Yes! Here is the recommended bibliography:
Paul Ekman, Ekman, Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life. New York: Times Books, 2003.
Paul Ekman & H.H. the Dalai Lama, Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion. New York: Times Books, 2008.
B. Alan Wallace, Genuine Happiness: Meditation as a Path to Fulfillment. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.
B. Alan Wallace, The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind. Foreword by Daniel Goleman. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2006.
B. Alan Wallace, The Four Immeasurables: Cultivating a Boundless Heart. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion, 2004 Publications, 2004.
Daniel Goleman, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama. 2000.
Daniel Goleman, Healing Emotions.
Culadasa (John Yates) & Matthew Immergut & Jeremy Graves, The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. New York: Atria Books, 2015.
At the beginning of the course, you will recieve the Zoom meeting details which you will use to enter every session. The day before each session you will also receive a reminder email with those same details.
Yes, there will be suggested homework, which will consist of either practices to do at home or during the day, exercises, challenges, readings, worksheets, or a combination of them. None are obligatory, but highly recommended for the reasons explained below. We suggest you spare at least 30 minutes per day, but the time that you should spare is ultimately up to you, your possibilities, and your goals.
The intention is not only to review previous sessions and prepare next ones, but more importantly to help you bring and put into practice in your daily life what we learn and discuss in the sessions. This is essential for you to achieve any real, enduring transformation, otherwise the results from the sessions alone will only touch the surface and have no lasting effect.
There will be no scheduled interviews, but occasional short personal interviews may be arranged as needed. Full individual sessions are provided to participants with a 25% discounted price.
The sessions will begin at the scheduled time and there will be no time tolerance. Participants will be able to join the room 10 minutes earlier. If you must arrive late, you are still welcome to join, however we strongly recommend and ask you to make your best effort to be on time as not to lose important bits of the sessions nor disturb the the already ongoing sessions. If you enter late, make sure to join with your microphone turned off, as many times we will be in the middle of practice.
Life happens, we understand! If you must miss a session, then you must miss a session – just try to let us know before if you can. We recommend, however, that you plan ahead and do your best not to miss any sessions, as they are built one upon the other, and the concepts of the previous are essential to understand the ones of the following. So, unless it’s an emergency, be there and be square! (’cause in the camera you’re inside a square.)
There is a possibility for that if everyone agrees at it!
Yes, you can! But we recommend using your desktop or laptop for better performance and experience.
Yes, for sure. Without a good internet connection you won’t be able to benefit from the course at all and you will disturb the others’ experience. We recommend using an ethernet cable if possible.
You should be somewhere quiet and undisturbed, like a quiet room in your home, and with a good internet connection.
Yes! All sessions include a 10 to 20 minute interval.
The online nature of the sessions brings some unique challenges with it. To avoid confusion and improve engagement, we ask you to:
- Keep your microphone off except when you’re actively speaking.
- Always keep your microphone off during practice.
- Raise your hand when you intend to speak and wait for the teacher to call you.
- Keep your speech short and sweet.
- Use the chat to communicate any less relevant for the moment information (such as going to the bathroom, having to leave early, etc.).
- If you have any question or doubt during a more lecture-type part of the session, make a note of it and leave it for the discussion/Q&A.
- Keep your camera on if and when possible (not mandatory).
- Avoid distractions: don’t multitask, don’t be working/browsing on other windows, don’t be on your phone.
If they are not a registered participant, unfortunately not. If you want to take the course together with someone else, you can take advantage of our group discount. If any of you has financial difficulties and needs a scholarship, please contact us.
No. The group discount is only for registrations made together (at the same time).