For the second time, the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and the Global Engagement Incorporated (GEI) are honored to bring the MSC training to Kenya. Together, we have created a unique opportunity for you to support local citizens and professionals to attend alongside you (at little or no cost) the same MSC program and, as a result, grow a local network devoted to compassion and self-compassion training. This is possible while you get to take the course yourself (for the first time, or as a repeat) and also to travel, study and experience the local culture, geography, and people.
“Daily, during the MSC Intensive in Kenya, I was reminded that by sharing our personal stories we help others to have courage. This profoundly resonated throughout our whole group on the day Sister Sara broke into song singing a local church hymn: Nasema Asante. Some of the local Kenyan participants joined her in singing and created this beautiful deeply moving moment that was literally and figuratively full of harmony. Many of us wept and were overcome with a sense of humanity. The boundaries around our hearts cracked wide open and love and hope poured in. This was why we were all here. Compassion…the wish that all beings, including ourselves, be free from suffering.”
– Burmese meditation teacher
In Nairobi, CMSC began a collaboration in 2017 with our local partner, Amani Counselling Centre and Training Institute (ACCTI). Amani is the oldest and most established counseling service provider in Kenya and in the East African region. Founded in 1979, Amani provides clinical services and psychological support for caregivers across Kenya, especially for those doing trauma work. It also provides professional training in counseling, social work and community development. Additionally, for those who cannot undergo long-term training, Amani offers various seminars, workshops and outreach programs in cooperation with a variety of organizations, including businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs and the Kenyan government.
In our first MSC intensive training, CMSC was able to meet and support the staff at the Amani Centre, their community members, and other professionals living in Africa. Subsequently, we are sponsoring two community leaders in Kenya (who were at the training) to go on to become Trained MSC Teachers and bring quality self-compassion training back home. CMSC has also initiated a book drive to enhance the Amani professional library in Nairobi.
Foreign participants at the MSC intensive were unanimous in their sense of being warmly and deeply received by our Kenyan friends and colleagues and we had unforgettable experiences of compassion and common humanity.
Martin Thomson-Jones, Ph.D., is a Certified Teacher of MSC. He first encountered loving-kindness meditation, one of the core elements of MSC, when he took MBSR in 2010. From there, he gradually found his way to Kristin Neff’s and Christopher Germer’s work and was invited to be part of the CMSC’s first teacher training course, led by Chris Germer, Kristin Neff, Michelle Becker, and Steven Hickman in 2014. He has been teaching MSC ever since, and his MSC website is here. Martin adds: “Practicing self-compassion has transformed my life, and teaching these practices to others has brought me so many more rewards. I’m honored and excited to help bring MSC to parts of the world where it’s not so readily accessible.” Martin is English, but he has been living in the U.S. for more than half his life. He is a philosophy professor at Oberlin College and has taught philosophy at Princeton University and U.C. Berkeley. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University, and a B.A. (Joint Hons.) in physics and philosophy from Oxford University. You can read more about his work as a philosopher here.