Tools for Happiness in Adelaide

Annette French from Buddha House in Adelaide shares her experience of leading a weekly group inspired by the 16 Guidelines using a Discussion Group resource provided by FDCW:-

“I decided to call the weekly sessions Tools for Happiness.

We had between 6 to 12 people attending sessions – with a regular core group of around 6 to 8 at most sessions. We had 16 sessions exploring one value each week.

I slightly adapted the content and structure of the sessions suggested in the 16 Guidelines material. For example, instead of using the same mindfulness meditation every week, I researched and chose appropriate meditations to settle the group in at the start of each session.

We sat in a circle each week and always began with greetings, a motivation and reconfirmed confidentiality in the group.

Sessions ran between 90 to 120 minutes with a break for a cuppa and snack. We then regrouped in the Gompa for discussion time before ending with a dedication.

Adapting the materials…

At first, I found it tricky to navigate the material because I had never led any groups before. But I soon found my way around the material and adapted when necessary. I kept the sessions casual and flexible.

People were very open to the program, interactive, patient with each other and after 16 weeks keen to continue the program or a like-minded program.

In general feedback was very positive, they said they felt very relaxed and enjoyed being in the Gompa, the way the group was structured, and the guidelines were important to apply to everyday living.

What I learned leading the group….

What I learned from running the group was too much to list, however here’s a few things…

I learned how to listen better. I learned how to be more patient and how to pull the group back to the subject in a gentle way.

I learned that everyone has something to contribute and even the quietest of them will speak up when they feel safe and supported.

What people got out of it….

I think what people got out of the program was discovering that there are many views even on just one subject. They also all felt they had some tools to work with around each guideline/value.

Two of the men in the group said they hadn’t felt comfortable talking about some things before but did in this group.

One guy suggested I read some of the prompts out during the reflective meditation, I did this, and he said it was helpful.

What’s next….

We have decided to have a one-off session before the end of the year. We voted on which guideline to discuss during this session and chose “Aspiration.”

I feel with all the wonderful support and the feedback from the group that I can present 16 Guidelines in the new year with a slightly different approach. I shall check out the links shared by FDCW and chat with the team here at Buddha House about some of the other ideas we discussed with FDCW.

I would like to mention that at times some of the guidelines sparked something in a few people that pulled up memories that made them sad, “Forgiveness” – for instance. Thankfully with the support from the group they were ok, but this made me wonder if there is something we could add to lighten the mood at the end of each session before we dedicate.

Finally, I’d like to add that I have learnt so much and am very appreciative of the opportunity Judy Wagner (SPC) and Lyndy Abrams (Director) have given me to be of some sort of benefit to others.”

Annette French is the Assistant Spiritual Program Co-ordinator at Buddha House (an FPMT Centre in Adelaide, Australia). FDCW has adapted and streamlined the resource that Annette was using for these sessions naming it Conversations That Matter. You can download the free guide here or learn more about the guide below.


Conversations That Matter – 16G Free Resource

Conversations That Matter offers a new a way of bringing inspiration for wise and compassionate action based on the 16 Guidelines for Life to your work, family, meditation group or yoga class.

The purpose of the guide is to inspire conversations about values. The guide includes ideas for 20 sessions, one for each theme and one for each value.

The simple, one-page design features

  • a short introduction to the guideline or wisdom theme,
  • an inspirational quote,
  • a selection of thought-provoking conversation starters, and
  • an idea to challenge yourself to action.

Whether you are looking to organise a group in your local community or workplace, or you are looking to enrich your yoga class or mindfulness practice, we hope you will find this guide valuable and useful.


The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom

At FDCW we believe it is just as important to take care of your inner needs and development as it is to take care of your physical and material needs. We offer resources, courses and training that explore and develop qualities such as kindness, patience and courage – qualities which are essential for meeting the challenges of the world we all share.The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom (FDCW) was established as a global charity based in London in 2005. Since then we have provided secular training, programmes and resources across many sectors of society – schools, universities, hospices, workplaces, healthcare, youth groups and community centres. Our courses have reached thousands of people across the world through our dedicated and growing network of facilitators in more than 20 countries.

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