Don’t fall asleep in a system. Have a clear sense of yourself, your goals, and your purpose in life.
You want a more meaningful life. You want beauty. But the world is full of difficulty and change.
You’re not alone. Today’s world is fluid, with more choices and transitions than ever before, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But you want to make the most of life’s many opportunities. And you’ve already realized that—practically—you need to figure out how to have enough money while doing what you love.
But this is not a straightforward equation. How much is enough? What do you love? If you’re honest, maybe you’ve forgotten what you’re really living for . . .or maybe you never knew. This is probably because you were never asked or encouraged to think about it. Perhaps without knowing it, you lack a serious direction or purpose in life.
Without a purpose, it’s hard to stay focused, so you fritter your time away. And maybe you have enough money but your spirit feels poor. You feel stuck. Time passes, and before you know it—you’re at the end of life.
Without the energy to act on your dreams, without having challenged yourself, you end up trapped—entombed by an aged body. Indifferent. Apathetic. Regretful. Unclear. Shallow. Confused. Don’t let this be you.
“Contemplating the Good” is a powerful vehicle for the improvement of ourselves and the world in which we live. And values are the backbone of anything good—whether that is a good family, a brilliant piece of art, or a superlative business. The more care you take with your mind and its contents, the more care you’ll take with your life and the people in it.
By Contemplating the Good you’ll gain a deeper sense of what it means to be human. Here are only a few of the benefits you’ll receive by contemplating the Good:
- You’ll gain the insight and support you need to get out of your rut, find direction, and live a more meaningful, spirited life.
- You’ll have the power to shape your life rather than be shaped by it. Knowing what you live for and why gives you strength in difficult times.
- You’ll have the composure to keep clear about your direction and standards for living in a world of endlessly proliferating options and norms.
- You’ll attract better people, forging meaningful, supportive relationships that are important for success in both business and personal life.
- You’ll know what you’re living for. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to weed out unconscious contradictions and costly negative behaviors such as self-loathing, selfishness, thanklessness, and pessimism.
- You’ll be free from doubt, indecision, and inaction.
- You’ll be grounded in who you are: centered and composed in a fast-changing, technology-driven world with increasingly blurred boundaries and a fading sense of order.
- You’ll increase the chances that you’ll die among loved ones: with love, trust, and respect.
This program will help you build a solid foundation for Contemplative Practice by contemplating the Good. Your insight and revelations will begin to transform your habits and activities. Establishing this foundation in Contemplative Practice will help you make Good stronger in your body, spirit, and mind. And knowing how to practice will help you:
- Be clear about your most important values.
- Live Consciously.
- Inoculate yourself from toxic influences that decay the human spirit.
- Guide your environment to a Higher Good.
As a result of this program, you’ll have a map: a plan of action and a clear sense of purpose that suits and harmonizes your personality, gifts, interests, intelligence, passion, and needs.
If this program sounds a little different to you, you’re right. This unique class has been handcrafted from our personal journey, which includes years of Buddhist study in both a monastic setting and out here in the world. The lessons and material are informed by years of teaching others interested looking for something more than—though not exclusive of—the pleasures of successful material life.
By virtue of contemplative practice, you’ll become genuinely and deeply inspired—with something other than hollow jingles, pseudo-spiritual promises, and crazy-making advice to stop thinking for everlasting happiness in the NOW.
The Journey to Self Discovery is different than other programs you’ll find out there in the following ways:
- You won’t be spoon-fed a pre-programmed vision of the Good. Rather, you’ll be encouraged to sound out your own Good based on such things as journaling and/or Question-&-Answer dialogues in response to various readings, talks, discussions, and writing prompts.
- You will be guided by a spiritual study that is both intellectual and practical. We’ll look at your ideas about the best way for you to live, how to cultivate spiritual sensitivity, what your ideal path looks like in the world, what it would take to do it, and how you might get started.
- A Buddhist priest who studies with his teacher every day and is deeply involved with spiritual life in both monastic and secular environments for over 20 years teaches this class. Such guidance provides an invaluable opportunity for you to ask questions and sharpen your sense of purpose.
- We raise awareness, we don’t do drills. While other programs focus on the wilful application of discipline, methods, and rigid programs, contemplative practice takes the gentle, relaxed approach of awareness. Raising awareness of your values will naturally begin to shift them in a good direction. Thus you’ll grow and make permanent changes without cumbersome regimens that are difficult to sustain.
- We keep the class size small and cozy, to ensure that you have access to the personal attention necessary for effective work.
- You will be enrolled in a seminar-style class of no more than 12 people. We will meet once per week for a 75-minute phone call on Monday nights at 9 pm ET every week for 12 weeks with classwork and optional check-ins between the weekly calls.
- Between classes, you’ll be assigned homework such as journaling to explore and deepen your sense and understanding of the Good. You’ll also be working with different contemplative exercises and practices designed to bring more awareness to energizing sources of goodness and inspiration in your life.
- In addition to the weekly calls and homework, you will also have the opportunity for 2 personal calls: one at the beginning, and one at the end of class. As soon as you register you can set up your 30-minute personal call with Soken to help you focus and get the most out of this material.
- Below is a sample of some of the topics we might discuss from week to week, supported by readings, videos, question-inspired lectures, and class discussion.
WEEKS ONE & TWO
Contemplation is a Foundation for the Good Life. Contemplation is the foundation for self-inquiry, which makes for a better world, and a better life. But contemplation does not mean crossing your legs and paying attention to your breath. Rather, it involves honest scrutiny of your life: how your being affects—and is affected by—its surroundings.
WEEKS THREE AND FOUR
Contemporary Life and Visions of the Good. In this segment of our journey, we’ll look at the values of contemporary life and how they have shaped you. We’ll also consider the kinds of human experiences these values create.
We’ll ask if your current life, driven by its current values, is satisfying enough for you. Then we’ll examine how you might begin to make changes to values you’ve unconsciously adopted through custom or habit, and what those changes might look like.
WEEKS FIVE AND SIX
Looking at Virtue. In this part of the class, we’ll look at your concept of the Good. We’ll ask how deeply you’ve been able to think about it. We’ll also explain why you should think about it. And what other people have said about the Good. Finally, we’ll use what they’ve said to construct a Good of our own. And reflect on what the Good might look like in your current life.
WEEKS SEVEN AND EIGHT
Contemplating Integrity. This part of the class looks at integrity and why it’s important. We’ll also consider the essential connection between integrity and prosperity, and why it is that integrity is essential to prosperity for society and for yourself.
WEEKS NINE AND TEN
Awareness and Self-Compassion: Becoming Whole. In these weeks we’ll study the connection between meaning and happiness. We’ll ask why it’s important to live with a higher purpose. Then we’ll examine whether or not the purpose for which you’re living is rich enough for happiness.
WEEKS ELEVEN AND TWELVE
Your Plan for Living a Good Life. After we study time-honored approaches to the Good, and how brilliant minds have considered the meaning of life, you will start to craft your own plan for living a Good Life.
By journaling with prompts to generate a vision and plan for your best life, you’ll be guided to a plan for life or an area for transformative contemplation. Whether you know exactly what you want and you need help executing it, or looking for inspiration and a way to get started, you’ll have the opportunity to set aside time for potent, life-changing reflection.
Once your plan is conceived, you’ll give it shape by clarifying your intentions, getting specific about why you are doing this, putting it into a timeline, and creating accountability.
Finally, we help you manage blockages. We’ll look at what’s holding you back, and what’s held you back in the past. And we’ll focus on how you can get in front of your objections, stand up to your inner critic, rebuff society’s roles for you, and believe in yourself and the Good for which you live—or wish to live.
- A 30-minute personal call with Soken before class starts, to help you focus and get the most out of this material.
- You’ll have access to an online library with further readings, class recordings, and videos.
- A 30-minute private follow-up call with Soken at the end of class to help you put this material to work in your life.