New: 2015 Course Options
Take all three courses as a yearlong program and receive a contemplative caregiver certificate, or opt to take each one separately (courses may be taken in any order). CE credits are available. These courses are a collaboration between Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care and San Francisco Zen Center.
As Buddhist teachings and meditation find an increasingly strong presence within various parts of American society, there is both an opportunity and a need to train people from all walks of life in the merging of contemplative practices with caring for those who are elderly, ill, or dying.
The San Francisco Zen Center offers these courses to provide an introduction to caregiving from a Buddhist perspective. This is a unique opportunity to study Buddhist principles and practices relevant to spiritual caregiving, as well as receive an introduction to the psychological, social, and ethical issues related to caregiving.
Mindfulness practices and Buddhist teachings on compassion are the theoretical framework of the Contemplative Caregiver Courses. Each course is focused on a particular dimension of caregiving: Principles and Elements of Contemplative Care with Jennifer Block and Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider
January 23 to April 18, 2015
This course clearly defines the characteristics of contemplative care and highlights their foundation in Buddhist teachings. Participants apply their learnings in real life situations and then reflect on these to increase their contemplative care skills. Topics include: tenets of Zen practice, mindfulness meditation, clarity and ease in the workplace, compassionate presence, and a variety of methods for infusing caregiving relationships with kindness and comfort. Zen Approaches to Aging, Sickness, and Dying
with Jennifer Block and Zesho Susan O'Connell
May 22 to August 8, 2015
This course guides participants in the journey of acknowledgment, transformation, and release that makes growth and freedom from the difficulties of change possible. Topics include: curiosity and beginner’s mind, supporting friends and family in end-of-life decisions, contemplation of one’s own mortality, myths and realistic expectations in caregiving, and Zen rituals for transforming the pain of loss into growth, healing, and inspiration for the future. The Dynamics of Compassion Resilience with Jennifer Block and others
September 11 to December 5, 2015
A compassionate attitude can greatly reduce the distress caregivers feel in difficult situations and can become a profound personal resource in times of stress. This course develops the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and others. Topics include: contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion, sustainable responses to suffering, self-compassion, and the power of intentional caregiving.
Contemplative care encompasses the breadth of our innate caregiving capacity with the depth of meditative wisdom and universal compassion. Contemplative care is more a way of care than a how or what. It brings the gifts of contemplative practice to the knowledge, skills, and best practices of caregiving.
Video: Course Introduction
Video: In the Words of Our Participants
The Contemplative Caregiver Courses are a collaboration between Jennifer Block, founder of Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care, and San Francisco Zen Center, with Susan O’Connell, President, as the primary vision holder. This curriculum will inform the Zen-inspired senior living community currently being developed by San Francisco Zen Center.
Jennifer Block is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Insight Meditation, and Yoga since 1988. Her life’s work is providing spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring caregivers, and teaching people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing.
Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider
Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider is a priest at Zen Center, where he has lived, worked and practiced since 1978. The founder of the Zen Center recovery programs, he is currently the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.
Zesho Susan O'Connell
Zesho Susan O'Connell is a Zen teacher with 25 years of meditation experience. She has lived at Zen Center since 1995, was ordained as a priest in 1999 by Tenshin Reb Anderson, and currently serves as president. She started, with two other partners, her own business as an independent feature film producer with offices in San Francisco and L.A., and continued that business for 25 years. She has helped to produce over 10 video/film projects about Zen Center and its teachers.