Conversation with Frits Koster
"Yeah, I'm hip these days." Fritz Koster. Meditation teacher, author and today best known for his compassion training. He travels with it – very hip – all over the world.
In this kitchen table conversation with Joost van den Heuvel Rijnders, the different faces of compassion are discussed. Compassion is not just mild and accommodating. 'If parents don't set limits on their children and always give in, they become cookie monsters,' says Frits Koster. Limiting with wisdom can also be kind, to yourself and to someone else. It takes courage to stand up for yourself and, for example, indicate to your employer that the limit has been reached. It is sometimes called heroic compassion, or 'yang compassion'. Powerful and courageous. 'You see it in all those beautiful glossy magazines: those photoshopped ladies, with a heavenly smile and perfect lines: yes I practice self-compassion, how wonderful! But in practice it sometimes looks different. It takes courage and willingness. Compassion also involves kindness to the difficult or painful aspects of our lives.”
Compassion training goes hand in hand with the practice of mindfulness. 'There is a beautiful metaphor in Buddhism. Just as a bird needs two wings to fly, so a human needs two wings to realize inner and outer space: the wing of wisdom and that of compassion.
Compassion also appears to be very supportive in dealing with one's own shortcomings. Both meditation teachers at this kitchen table sometimes stutter and can laugh heartily about it. 'This will also be an extra long podcast,' jokes Joost. Frits came up with the idea for a new training: compassionate stuttering.