Sample Emails to Use in Conjunction with the MSC Workbook

Thank you to Martin Thomson-Jones for sharing the following samples of the weekly emails he sends to his participants. You may use these to inspire the design of your own system of emails if you’d like to incorporate the MSC Workbook with home practice and recommended reading support for your participants. View Martin’s complete article about using the MSC Workbook as a class supplement.


▸ Email 1: home practice
Sample pertains to MSC Session 3

Dear all,

Lovely to see you last night.

Here are the new home practices for this week:


  • Loving-Kindness for a Loved One (p. 65)

Informal practice

  • Finding Loving-Kindness Phrases (p. 71)

Page numbers give the locations of the instructions for these practices in the workbook.

You can practice the meditation “Loving-Kindness for a Loved One” using just the written instructions to guide you, or you can listen to a guided version of it.  Martin has posted his own recording of the meditation in the “Files” section of Basecamp, and Chris Germer has one here:

Look for it in the “Other Meditations” section of that page. Martin’s version is about 19 minutes long, and Chris Germer’s is about 15 minutes. [Note: we keep saying “Chris Germer” in this email because my co-teacher was called Chris, too. And Basecamp is the web app we were using as a central repository for course materials, amongst other things.]

Chris Germer also has a guided version of “Finding Loving-Kindness Phrases” here:

It’s about 23 minutes long.

Aim to spend a total of 30 minutes a day on some combination of practices, including a daily meditation. And although you should definitely explore this week’s new practices, you can keep using the practices you found enjoyable or helpful from previous weeks, too.

Finally, remember that the attached Home Practice Guide (also available in the Files section of Basecamp) contains some tips on building and sustaining a practice.

Let us know if you have any questions.


Martin and Chris

P.S. One other option, especially if you’re an experienced meditator, is to practice loving-kindness meditation on your own, with phrases you’ve selected. But feel free to just keep relying on guided meditations, especially at this stage.

P.P.S. There are links to the two poems from last night in the document called “Useful Links” in the “Text Documents” area of Basecamp.

▸ Email 2: recommended reading from the workbook
Sample pertains to MSC Session 3

Dear all,

Here’s a guide to the chapters of the workbook relevant to session 3. Remember that although this reading can be very helpful, it’s also completely optional. If attending the sessions and doing the home practice feels like enough to you, that’s completely fine. Drop any unnecessary effort….

Just two chapters this week, and neither of them very long:

  • Chapter 9: what loving-kindness is, and how it relates to self-compassion; cultivating loving-kindness
  • Chapter 10: personalising loving-kindness meditation by finding your own loving-kindness phrases

Chapter 9 includes an informal practice called “Walking in Loving-Kindness” that wasn’t part of our session, and isn’t one of the official home practices for this week—we’ll do a version of it as part of our half-day retreat. But it’s a lovely practice, and one that’s easy to drop into the flow of your day, so please do experiment with it this week if you’d like to.

Chapter 10 includes the instructions for a new meditation, “Loving-Kindness for Ourselves.” Again, feel free to experiment with it this week if you like, but you should also feel free to just stick with “Loving-Kindness for a Loved One” as your meditation for this week; “Loving-Kindness for Ourselves” will be the meditation for next week, after session 4.

Hope your week is going well. We’ll check in about how home practice is going over the weekend.


Martin and Chris