Meet the Facilitator – Filipa

We are thrilled to introduce Filipa Silva, our newly accredited 16 Guidelines Facilitator, to the FDCW Team. Filipa is our first Portuguese speaking Facilitator to join the group of UE-Educators, she has also tremendously translated the 16G course materials into her local language which can now be shared and taught in the wider community. We are very grateful for Filipa’s contributions and we look forward to her work in spreading UE in Portugal! We asked Filipa to tell us more about her UE journey and how the 16 Guidelines have impacted her life. Read on to hear Filipa’s inspiring story.

What got you interested in Universal Education?

I heard about the vision of Universal Education (UE) in 2012 when I was doing a retreat at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu. I was still at Kopan when I first saw documentary “Being Your True Nature” by Tenzin Osel Hita and I felt very inspired and immediately aligned with the vision of UE. I remember my heart vibrating in joy, with the essence of vision, the creativity and the enormous potential for transformation. It made perfect sense to me and I wanted to learn more about UE, experience and deepen its tools to share in Portugal. I started the training in 2015, in Barcelona.

Marian O'Dwyer and Filipa Silva co-facilitated a 16G workshop in Lisbon. Filippa also organised the workshop and translated many of the workshop materials into Portuguese.

Marian O’Dwyer and Filipa Silva co-facilitated a 16G workshop in Lisbon. Filippa also organised the workshop and translated many of the workshop materials into Portuguese.

How has UE impacted your life?

When I started UE training, I was taking care of my father who suffered from alzheimer’s disease. I felt the urge to take care of myself and at the same time provide my father with all the care he needed. The UE was like a beacon showing me the way; an ethical support to better serve my father in the context of illness; an anchor and guidance to handle with my internal challenges and find a greater meaning to all that.
The greatest added value for me was the reflection of the 16 guidelines that hold within themselves the potential to radically change our life experience. And I was determined to change myself, motivated by my father. These were very challenging times from a psychic point of view. My father’s vulnerability also aroused my vulnerabilities. I had difficulty managing my emotions and recognized the urgency to pacify myself and take care of my mind. The UE methodology and contents helped me to anchor my motivation, to be present, to see in every moment the potential with new eyes, the eyes of love.

It brought me closer to my profound nature, with the ethical determination to remain upright and thus support my father’s integrity and dignity. I soon realized that the best I could offer him was the quality of my presence, and a genuine peace of mind. I began to relate internally more authentically, to recognize my difficulties and potential, and make choices with greater awareness. The relationship with my father became deeper and more authentic. I started to see each dilemma and difficult situation as a revelation with a creative potential. I repositioned myself in my life, becoming more aware of my responsibility for the impact of my actions. The UE was a great ally for the integrity of my internal structure. In moments of frustration, anger or exhaustion, I found support to help me get back to my inner center. It has helped me to overcome internal obstacles, to stimulate positive perceptions and not to be caught up by first impressions and thereby find strength, beauty and meaning.

With practice, I was more present and attentive to my condition, and more willing to accept the challenges. Over time I learned to take a moment, to recognize the quality of my presence, to take care of my mind and heart, to make conscious choices in order to offer the best of myself.

Today it remains an inner beacon that guides me to recreate perceptions and experiences, from the inner source of my Being, and transform them into beauty, in whatever the external circumstances may be.

Are you involved in any projects or have plans for future projects with UE focus?

In 2017 I attended the Conference ‘Alzheimer and Other Dementia’ and presented, based on my personal experience, the benefits of Universal Education for caregivers and people with dementia.
Since then, I have been developing some partnerships to enhance education and care for the caregivers. I am interested in contributing to Education and Care, in contexts of suffering and pain to those who are facing life challenges. As an end-of-life doula, my vision is to support and contribute for the awareness of the potential for a better transition, not just in the context of illness and death, but in all our losses during our path. Therefore, Universal Education is one of my sources of inspiration.

This photo was taken at the Conference of Alzheimer Portugal, where Filipa spoke about Universal Education.

This photo was taken at the Conference of Alzheimer Portugal, where Filipa spoke about Universal Education.

Which of the 16 Guidelines (if any) do you feel has been most beneficial for you and why?

All guidelines have enriched me and helped to elevate my experiences by the meaning they bring me.
Patience, in particular, points me the way in times of greatest challenge. Conscious practice of patience has brought me peace of mind, a broader understanding to accept and embrace reality.
As the 16 guidelines became more present and integrated, I felt less and less the separation between each of those. They relate and enhance each other because they are interconnected. They are a great inner pillar to support my integrity.
Today, in my daily challenges, I am more aware of these guidelines. And in moments of contemplation, when I go within myself, I find them at the heart of my humanity. And I strongly believe each of us has the potential to reconnect with their own humanity and thus live a more balanced life from within.

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