Awakening the Mind, Softening the HeartAn Introduction to the Practices of Self-Reflection and Meditation Everyone knows the benefits of seeing a glass as half-full rather than half-empty. But few people know how to change their mindset, which colors the way they see, think, feel and act. If our habitual ways of seeing only lead us to be anxious, distressed, and dissatisfied, then why not do something about it? The Awakening the Mind, Softening the Heart Program is expressly designed for those interested in transforming their lives through changing not just their attitudes, but their entire mindset through the well-established Buddhist meditation practices of self-reflection and the four immeasurable qualities.To enroll in this program, one need not be familiar with Buddhism, nor is there any expectation of participants becoming Buddhists. Belief in Buddhist principles, such as karma or reincarnation, is not required in order to learn and make use of these tools.Course 1: Awakening the Mind, Softening the HeartBeing alive necessarily involves a certain amount of conflict, dissatisfaction, and pain, but the more we try to escape the physical and emotional pain we encounter, the more we find ourselves enmeshed in it. How do we get out of the vicious cycles we find ourselves in? This course teaches two meditation techniques that directly address this question.Part 1: Self-ReflectionThe first step in freeing ourselves from our painful mental and physical habits is focusing our minds inwardly to let our natural intelligence work out whatever causes us to become stuck in cyclic suffering. This process of self-reflection begins with an investigation into the causes and conditions that lead to various negative states of mind, such as our fixation on self-importance and the five self-centered emotions (attachment, aggression, stupidity, jealousy, and pride). By looking calmly and closely at our experience, we naturally and easily come to understand how our actions fail to meet our intentions and we come to discern the best, most immediate, and uplifted way to contentment.Part 2: The Four Immeasurable QualitiesWe all naturally long for greater fulfillment and meaning in life. However, our confusion leads us mistakenly to think this fulfillment lies in satisfying our own unsatisfiable desires. When we focus on developing four qualities—loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity— for the immeasurable benefit to ourselves and all sentient beings, we discover first-hand that a good heart illuminates the way to greater happiness for all. As our openness and our heartfelt care shine forth, we glimpse the genuine path to fulfillment that we have always sought, and realize that a meaningful life has always been entirely within our reach. Once our minds become completely set upon awakening this potential within ourselves through these meditations, we are ready to set out upon the path.After our“Awakening the Mind, Softening the Heart” online course, we have further courses which introduce more Buddhist teachings and practices, and also introduce prospective students to the culture and traditions of Mangala Shri Bhuti. More information is available about these courses when one is enrolled in the introductory class.Course Schedule & Registration The “Awakening the Mind, Softening the Heart” online course lasts approximately 8 -12 week, meeting online through Zoom. Our next “Awakening the Mind, Softening the Heart” online course will start in May 2023, date and time TBD. Please note that the course capacity is limited and registration for this course is available on a first come, first serve basis. The webinar discussion meetings will be offered approximately twice per month (discussion meetings will be recorded for later playback). Please note that participants can still take part in this course even if they aren’t able to attend the live webinar meetings. For example, those who live outside of North America will not be expected to attend the live course meetings due to time zone differences. Participants who live outside of North America will be individually assigned a course instructor who lives within their continent whom they can meet with on a regular basis. The only exception to this is for those living in Europe. If you live in Europe, please contact us to find out when the next European course will be offered (see below). Click here to view our MSB Online Learning FAQ and see below for more information on the registration process.Registration – North AmericaThere is a $100 registration fee for Course 1. To register please visit the MSB STORE. You can expect a welcome email with more details about your course within a few days after registration. Click here to view our MSB Online Learning FAQ. Registration – EuropeThe next European course will start at the of Oct. 2022 and meetings will take place on Wednesday evenings. There is a €100 registration fee for Course 1. Please complete your details and payment here to join the next course group. We will be in touch to confirm your registration and share course details. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this course. Click here to view our MSB Online Learning FAQ. HelpClick here to view an Online Learning FAQ. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.