WHO IS THIS COURSE DESIGNED FOR?
People in various leadership roles within social-change organizations who want to train oneself to awaken and serve others. You may:
- Work or lead an NGO and a need a break for reflection on the nature of life and society so that you can return to work rejuvenated.
- Work in non-profit organisations and other social change organisations and feel the need for more self-cultivation and deep reflection on social issues.
- Work for social change and want to gain more unconditional trust in the universe, reduce self-centredness and freely dance with life.
- Want to become a mindful facilitator, helping people to empower themselves
- Want to positively change society and yourself simultaneously for personal growth and a more sustainable, socially just future.
In other words, if you are seriously committed to core values of wisdom, compassion, contentedness, non-violence, and humility, this program can enhance you with knowledge, skills and cultivation of the heart.
At the end of the program we expect our participants to be trained as follows:
- Reduced self-centeredness, gained more unconditional confidence & ability to do good without needing recognition
- More courageous, gentle and able to dance with the rhythms of the universe
- Ability to walk the talk and walk in the corridors of power and wealth without being corrupted
- Increased aptitude to focus and be in the present moment in difficult situations
- Increased wisdom, compassion and deep caring for the victims of social injustice and environmental destruction
- Strong motivation to work to change the root causes of injustice
- Increased understanding and analyzing of existing social movements worldwide
- Ability to critically comprehend the present global political economy and articulate alternative social structures
- Ability to identify causes and conditions for the present ecological crisis and ways of moving toward a more sustainable and resilient future
- Knowledge to differentiate and discern the pros and cons of important social movements of the past and present
- Ability to use participatory approaches to facilitate meetings, discussions, organize communities and build networks to create social movements
- Skills to manage projects and organizations
- Regular mindfulness practice in daily life working with one’s own emotions and relationships
- Skills to prevent unnecessary conflicts with nonviolent communication and empathy as well as gaining the ability to facilitate conflict transformation and resolution when needed.
CONTENTS: 5 KEY AREAS OF LEARNING
Five key areas of learning during this six-month course are as follows:
- Interpersonal Dynamics: Power Sharing & Compassion (EDE social dimension)
- Cultural Integrity and Change; Self Discovery and Healing (EDE world view dimension)
- Ecology & Design (EDE ecology & design dimension)
- Eco-political Economy (EDE economic dimension)
- Skillful Means for Social Transformation
Five key areas
Interpersonal Dynamics: Power Sharing & Compassion (EDE social dimension)
Interpersonal relationships become a very important issue in rebuilding community in the modern world. Participants will learn skilful means that enhance compassion and power sharing as a core of new values. We will also explore diverse aspects of leadership issues and trust building. The first module is to build a community of learning so participants feel comfortable and safe in the process of participatory education within this programme. Nonviolent Communication will be very helpful in putting compassion into practice in daily life of living together, taking into account one’s own needs and the needs of others. Conflict Transformation will be part of this key area so that participants will be ready to work with conflict that is a natural part of community life.
Cultural Integrity & Change, Self-discovery & Healing (EDE world view dimension)
The multi-dimensional crises human beings are facing demand a fundamental change of the mindset that creates them. The European Enlightenment paradigm that has been dominating the world in the last few hundred years is under serious re-assessment and enquiry from East and West, North and South. Humans and other living beings have been facing serious crises across the globe for decades: the increasing rate of natural disasters, ecological destruction, violent conflicts between nations and groups, poverty and hunger, loneliness and meaninglessness in modern life, etc. We need to understand and holistically analyse the root causes of these crises at macro and micro levels. To address this, several workshops will cover cultural issues and paradigm shifts, mindfulness practice, self-discovery through healing of internal wounds. Meditation, Yoga and mindfulness will be part of the daily schedule to enhance self-cultivation as an important part of new paradigm education.
Ecology & Design (EDE ecology & design dimension)
Most modern educated people are ecologically ignorant. We breathe from the air, eat food from the soil, drink water from rivers, using energy from all sources without really knowing how they work and work together. We have taken planet earth and the universe for granted and have messed things up to the point of crisis. It is important that we look at nature with new eyes, and it is imperative to build a new relationship with Mother Earth. We need to relearn how to use technologies that heal instead of harm nature, how to redesign or co-create with nature so that we can co-exist with all other beings in harmony with a better quality of our human life. This includes the redesigning of the individual way of life and new habitats for community. New relationships with nature will in turn inform our new relationship with ourselves and other human beings and will be a base for a new political economy in the longer term.
Eco-political Economy (EDE economic dimension)
This area of learning is to take structural violence seriously at personal, local, national and global levels. We will look into different kinds of capitalism e.g. enterprise (USA), state (China) and social (Europe) operating in the world today, investigating the strengths and weaknesses of each. We will also try to see how socialism of different shades has failed and survived. We will also examine green politics and post colonialism as an alternative ideology for sustainable futures. However as national borders become less clear in the globalized financial market, we also need to have a critical look at social movements across national borders such as peace movements, ecovillage and transition movements, vegetarianism, feminism, environment, anti-globalization etc. This kind of critical examination will enable us to envision different kinds of structures based on non-violence, compassion and sharing of power.
Skillful means for Social Transformation
Several modules of the program focus on learning practical skills that enhance participants abilities to get seriously involved in social change work. The skills range from how to organize a small community to empower themselves to improve their situation, to building a social movement that takes the concept of participation seriously. An important foundation to build on is mastering mindful facilitation skills for empowerment. This includes a lot of practice using facilitation skills and meta-skills to contribute meaningfully to others with deep respect and deep listening. We will also have a chance to visit and study several examples of good practice for sustainability that are really inspiring. In short, the program is designed to equip participants with inspiration and the skills needed to be a change worker who can function meaningfully in the present global context.
Our educational approach is as important as the contents of the course. Proper content with inappropriate educational practices will not bring about the result of empowerment and awakening we aim for. Three pillars support the approach:
Contemplative: Meditation, mindfulness practice and time in silence are intergrated in to the learning experience. Right mindfulness is the most important key factor for awakening.
Participative: Participants and facilitators co-create the body of knowledge together. This includes sharing of authority in the learning community that we create during this course. Power sharing means empowerment; empowerment here means self-empowerment.
Reflective: Rigorious thinking and reflecting both individually and collectively on issues and experiences is a key part of the learning process. We emphasize learning how to unlearn and relearn as it is a critical component of being successfully socially active.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROGRAM
- Serious meditation and mindfulness learning and practice are combined with rigorous intellectual enquiry into the complexity of the world combined with how to transform it to be more just and sustainable.
- Participants will participate actively in the learning process, contribute meaningfully in learning outcomes, and interact with some of the foremost-experienced teachers/facilitators in each field of study.
- Learning, playing, working and meditating will be merged into one process in this course to develop compassion, wisdom, intellectual understanding and social commitment.