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From the Teachers

The meaning of these meditations clarifies when their power flows into our lives over the course of daily practice.
~ Lama John Makransky

Our Mission

To empower people with profound contemplative practices that support their aspirations to become better people and to make a better world.

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FAC in Community

Here are some of the members of the Foundation for Active Compassion (FAC) Community describing how these practices are helping them in their daily life, in their work, and in their contributions to well being of others.


Tamara Daly

TAMARA DALY
PSYCHIATRIC NURSE
BOSTON, MA

As a psychiatric nurse I am exposed an extremely difficult environment filled with people who are locked up due to their mental illness as they are a danger to self or others. It’s a dangerous and frightening place to work. No matter how motivated you may be to help this vulnerable population, burn out is endemic among the helping professions involved. I found my way to these meditations, wanting to find a place of peace and restoration for myself, but found so much more.

These practices helped me find a common ground of humanity with these clients, to move past the “us vs. them” mentality, the labeling of the person by their illness, “schizophrenic” or “bipolar” that creates distance. To cultivate the ability to connect and empathize, and be patient with their extremes of behavior, to find a source of compassion within myself stronger than my fear. This is always a work in progress.

An insight also grew, into the dynamic involved in this field of service, how stress and fear, on the part of caregivers affects the quality of their care for the mentally ill. I became quite disillusioned by what I saw around me. My meditation practice needed to extend to include my co-workers, to hold them in my field of compassion as well, they too are suffering.

Then I became a nursing supervisor in a psychiatric hospital. My practice now expressly involves compassion for the caregivers.  And I found myself enmeshed in a new “us vs. them” mentality; the management vs. union worker divide. This polarization can be toxic, and hinder healthy organizational functioning. I took this into practice as well.

In our practices we extend love and commune with the basic goodness of others, starting with loved ones, and then in expanding circles, we include strangers, then “difficult ones”.  There were definitely “difficult ones” to my mind in this polarized work place; the “bad guys” vs. the “good guys”. My practice has allowed me to move beyond the demonization of individuals, to see their basic humanity, and have compassion for them, as people playing the roles they play in the work place. I suffer less, and have seen a softening of the polarization, and a deepening of respect and kindness flowering around me in my workplace. I can’t give all the credit to these practices, but for me, it feels internally, like they have made all the difference.

I see a potential for practices like these, based on Buddhist meditations of wisdom and compassion, in developing the mental discipline, the patience, and non-reactivity to work with difficult populations. To help individuals put into practice the training they receive, beyond the academic level, to develop the internal capacity, through meditation, “heart-mind training,” to be able to actually enact the “best practices” of their field.