Compassion Integrity Training

What: CIT was created to teach skills that can help individuals calm their body and mind, deal effectively with emotions, and treat others with kindness, dignity and compassion so we can create a better world. Learn More

Why: this program is based on ten skills that follow a three on three teaching model. Such skills are related to self-cultivation, for relating to others and engaging in systems. Learn More

How: because when people enhance emotional resilience, cultivate better interpersonal relationships, and engage with compassion within complex systems we can thrive as individuals and society within a healthy environment. Learn More

Benefits: cultivating compassionate integrity in one’s life and in one’s community directly impacts individual and collective flourishing. Learn More

Compassion Integrity Training

Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) is a multi-part training program that cultivates basic human values as skills for the purpose of increasing individual, social and environmental flourishing. By covering a range of skills from self-regulation and self-compassion to compassion for others and engagement with complex systems, CIT focuses on and builds towards compassionate integrity: the ability to live one’s life in accordance with one’s values with a recognition of common humanity, our basic orientation to kindness, and reciprocity. Unlike some definitions of integrity that focus on mere consistency with one’s values, without examining what those values are, compassionate integrity insists that consistency with one’s values is not enough if those values promote harm to oneself, others, or the world.

WHY

Although CIT deals with values and concepts like compassion and integrity, it is based on a secular approach to universal ethics based on common sense, common experience and science, rather than a particular culture or religion. Secular ethics can be useful to people of any or no religious background, while not being in any way in conflict with any particular religious values. The word “secular” in no way implies a stance that is against religion; on the contrary, it implies inclusivity and a respect for all. This approach to ethics has been advocated by organizations such as the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of the United Nations through its World Happiness Report and individuals such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 was also based on a secularized philosophy of universal values which took all human beings, all nations, all cultures and all religions and non-believers into account.

Benefits

Discoveries in neuroplasticity and neurosciences show that a sustained practice can change the structure of the brain. This is where skills related to self-compassion, compassion towards others and integrity can create transformation at the deepest level. Maintaining and increasing consistency with one’s values is most beneficial when they are values that promote one’s own well-being as well as that of others. As to what those values are and how we understand them, this is arrived at by investigating and examining things for oneself, using common sense, common experience, and science. Compassionate integrity is, therefore, not something achieved merely as a result of wishful thinking or force of will, but rather as the result of building up knowledge, understanding, and a set of concrete skills. Because compassionate integrity is what guards against actions that compromise the well-being of oneself and others, cultivating it in one’s life and in one’s community directly impacts individual and collective flourishing.

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ECI will help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 towards education to build peaceful and sustainable societies through the development of programs that promote socio-emotional learning, innovation in digital pedagogies and the empowerment of communities. Consequently, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has chosen ECT as a curriculum for socio-emotional learning around the world.

Approach

Three Domains of Knowledge

Series I- Self-cultivation

Self-Cultivation covers how one relates to oneself and the knowledge and skills related to the inner life of the individual. This begins with the ability to self-regulate one’s body and emotions, and then moves on to include self-compassion and inner qualities like courage, fortitude, and forbearance, and the identification of one’s values.

Modules:

  1. Calming Body and Mind
  2. Ethical Mindfulness
  3. Emotional Awareness
  4. Self-Compassion
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Series II- Relating to Others

Relating to Others covers how one relates to others constructively and in a way that promotes one’s own and others’ well-being. Built on the foundation of self-regulation and restraint from harming others, this involves strengthening the prosocial skills of forgiveness, gratitude, impartiality, empathy, and compassion.

  1. Impartiality and Common Humanity
  2. Forgiveness and Gratitude
  3. Empathic Concern
  4. Compassion
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Series III- Systems Perspective

Engaging with Systems covers how one engages compassionately and with integrity as a participant in complex systems. This involves recognizing our interdependence and the interdependence of systems, which can be as small as our family or local community, or as vast as the world, and developing the skills and discernment to act effectively for constructive change within those systems. Engaging with compassionate integrity and critical thinking gives us the best chance for achieving positive results that enhance the well-being and flourishing of ourselves and others.  

  1. Appreciating Interdependence
  2. Engaging with Discernment
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THREE domains of understanding

These three levels of knowledge apply to learning many skills, such as speaking a foreign language or playing a musical instrument. At first the student needs to learn the different parts of the instrument, how to read sheet music, and so on. On-going study and repeated practice eventually lead to moments where things just “click” and the student gains insights that lead to sudden increases in their understanding and ability to play. For these gains to be consolidated, however, the student needs to continue to practice in the correct way over a long period of time. Eventually, over a longer period of practice and study time, this leads to a degree of fluency where the student’s ability to play a piece (or speak the language) is spontaneous and embodied.

Level 1 - Received Knowledge

This refers to learning new information and developing a clear understanding of a topic. It is the first step in developing understanding. Received knowledge can be quite extensive, but at this level it has not yet become personal. 

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Level 2 - Critical Insight

This is when the participant, through exercises and practices, uses his or her own life experiences and reason to come to a flash of personal insight, an “a-ha moment”, when he or she realizes how the knowledge relates to his or her own life. At this point knowledge has started to become transformative. 

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Level 3 - Embodied Understanding

Moments of critical insight are often not powerful enough to dislodge habits, therefore embodied understanding refers to the deepening and further internalizing of knowledge so that it becomes second-nature and spontaneous: not just something one knows, but part of who one is. This happens through repeated practice and continued reflection on one’s critical insights. Recent discoveries in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis show that sustained practice changes brain structure and neural functioning, suggesting that long-term changes in body, brain and behavior are possible. This is where knowledge (including the knowledge and skills of self-compassion, compassion, integrity and so on) becomes transformative at its deepest level. 

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Teacher

It has been a joy to participate in the program as I have benefited both professionally and personally. The lessons have not only helped me to engage with my students more effectively and enrich our discussions of literature and the power of stories, but I find myself drawing upon the value of gratitude as I work towards resolving conflicts with my peers, my fellow teachers. I keep returning to the notion of our shared struggles as a bond that tethers us together in order to maintain healthy perspectives as we work towards common goals.

History Department Chair

Compassionate Integrity Training has in only a few weeks shifted my approach to relationships at home and work. Although this shift is still in process –and may always remain in process –I have cultivated a conscience awareness of how my actions affect others, and vice versa. Being attuned to resilience is instrumental in expanding resiliency, a task made easier with the skills that CIT fosters.

The interdisciplinary nature of CIT makes space for psychological, emotional, and social understandings of human interaction. This diverse approach weaves together threads of self-cultivation, relating to others, and a belief in common humanity that a less thoughtful program might otherwise treat independently

Dean of Faculty

I am amazed at how CIT resonated with so many areas of my life. It has made me reconsider my professional and personal roles: husband, teacher, parent, colleague, neighbor, etc. with greater compassion for others. We all know the cliché of trying to make the world a better place. CIT is the only program I’ve encountered that actually has a step-by-step, rational, research-based, concrete process to achieving that loftiest of goals. I feel empowered, re-centered, and courageous to really try to make the world a better place. It has given me new direction. I’m so thankful to have been a part of it, and I look forward to being more involved.