Compassion Initiative 

The NAROPA COMPASSION INITIATIVE, is a three part Training and Research Initiative to share compassion practices, teachings and science with our community and world.

1. Mindful Compassion Training

  • WELCOME: An 8-week Introductory Training
    Welcome · Embody · Loving-kindness · Compassion · Open · Maintain · Engage
  • ENGAGE: Advanced Training
    Equanimity · Name · Goodness · Accept · Give · Exchange
  • Train the Trainer Program

2. Compassion Research

  • Developing compassion measure
  • Pre- and post-training testing
  • Assessment

3. Compassion Blog: The Soft Spot (


woman meditating with a hand on heart and hand on stomachCompassion is one of the great human virtues, the ground and basis for altruistic behavior. Modern scientific research suggests that compassion can be fostered and trained, both to enhance personal well-being, happiness and resilience and to benefit others.

This program draws on mindfulness and compassion practices from wisdom traditions, in particular from Buddhism, as well as the findings of neuro- and social science. The training is deeply experiential and introduces contemplative and somatic practices through which you will explore the emotional quality of various forms of compassion and related behaviors. Our study is supported by readings on modern and ancient views on compassion as it functions within the individual, groups and communities.

The training will expand and refine your understanding of compassion and identify ways to support compassionate behavior in your personal, social and professional life.

Key topics include: Mindfulness · Self-compassion · Loving-kindness · Empathy · Resilient compassion · Somatic (embodiment) compassion practices · Staying attuned to the suffering of others while avoiding burn-out · Is compassion always nice?

The course is taught by a team of Naropa University faculty who draw on their decades of teaching mindfulness and compassion practices within a variety of disciplines, including psychology, Buddhist studies, and the arts.

Erika Berland Headshot Erika Berland, BPS, Instructor, MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance. Author of Sitting: The Physical Art of Meditation.

gaylon headshot on white background Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies; Author of Natural Wakefulness and Natural Bravery

Jordan Quaglia Headshot Jordan Quaglia, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Contemplative Psychology.

Charlotte Headshot Charlotte Rotterdam, MTS, Instructor, Core College; Director of the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education.

 A Letter of Completion is available to anyone who attends all sessions and completes all practices, readings and field work.


For questions, please contact Charlotte Rotterdam,


Jordan Quaglia

Faculty Spotlight

At its best, one's educational journey isn't just about oneself. Naropa fosters engaging one's education with a bigger vision.

— Jordan Quaglia, PhD
Assistant Professor, BA in Contemplative Psychology

Jordan Quaglia, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University. During doctoral training in Experimental Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, he was awarded Mind and Life Institute’s Francisco J. Varela Award for his dissertation research on the effects of mindfulness training on social emotion regulation. Now at Naropa, he directs the Cognitive and Affective Science Lab, relying on a range of methods, from neuroscientific measures to smartphone-based surveys. Quaglia’s research, focused primarily on topics of meditative cognition, emotion regulation, and social functioning, has been featured in leading scientific journals and scholarly books. In January 2017, he joined the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education as Research Director for the Compassion Initiative.