A Practical Guide to MBCL – Living with Heart

– written by Eric van den Brink

Erik van den Brink
Frits Koster

We are very happy that last month our new book A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living – Living with Heart by Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster, with Victoria Norton, was published. Mark Williams wrote a warm foreword.

You might say, why yet another book about mindfulness and compassion, there are so many around already? Well, it took several decades to shape foundational mindfulness courses like MBSR and MBCT and the programmes derived from them. These are now being offered to ever more people in various settings around the world. While an eight-week course can be profoundly life-changing for some, for many it is only a start. It is quite a challenge to integrate these practices in our everyday lives and to change life-long unhealthy patterns into healthier ones particularly when demands and stressors in our frantic worlds are ever increasing. Quite likely, it needs more practice to cultivate kindness to yourself and others, particularly when you were more used to self-criticism and feeling blamed, shamed or neglected. Many professional and non-professional carers, including mindfulness teachers, find it hard to balance caring for themselves and caring for others.

So, it is no surprise that there is an increasing need for follow-on courses and deepening work among teachers, as well as participants. Follow-on programmes, such as Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) and the Interpersonal Mindfulness Program, are a way to meet these needs. MBCL is an eight-session course that builds on MBSR, MBCT, Breathworks or similar foundational programmes. It integrates insights from contemplative traditions with evolutionary neuroscience, CFT, ACT and positive psychology.

Since the publication of our first MBCL book for professionals, we have enjoyed teaching people around the world. This new book is for a wider audience. If you are new to MBCL, it leads you step by step through the eight-session programme. If you are already teaching or working with mindful compassion practices, this guide can serve well as a course book and a self-study resource. It comes with many stories, real life examples, helpful tips, worksheets and audio downloads.

If you read our book, please let us know what you think. Perhaps you find some exercises work well in your context, perhaps others do less so. We would love to hear from you. When you think this practical guide is indeed valuable for bringing more compassion into the world, please help spread the message in your networks by sharing this post, adding the title to your reading lists or placing a short book review on relevant web-sites. With your help, we hope it may touch the lives of many.

With warm wishes, also on behalf of my co-authors Frits and Victoria,


Erik’s website is at www.mbcl.org.

Frits’ website is at www.compassionateliving.info.

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