Welcome to

Cultivating Emotional Balance

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Eve Ekman and Lama Alan Wallace

Cultivating Emotional Balance

Discover greater happiness and well-being using insights and methods drawn from both Western psychology and Buddhist contemplative practices in this course with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Alan Wallace and second-generation emotion researcher Dr. Eve Ekman.

What You’ll Learn

  • Insights and methods drawn from both Western science and Eastern contemplative practices for genuine happiness and well-being
  • A rich and in-depth understanding of your own emotional life and guidance toward your overarching goals for living meaningfully
  • Techniques for developing attention skills and discerning mindfulness
  • How to chart the territory of specific episodes of emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, joy, etc.
  • Ways to identify your own and others’ destructive and wholesome emotions as well as their consequences

About this Course

In this program inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and developed with eminent psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Alan Wallace and second-generation emotion researcher Dr. Eve Ekman invite you to discover greater happiness and well-being. Using insights and methods drawn from both Western psychology and Buddhist contemplative practices, we investigate our inner life in order to improve our outer life. Designed using evidence-based, practical, and secular strategies to benefit people from all walks of life, this course helps us explicitly seek to bring about wise aspirations and values, learn how to develop our attention skills, and then begin to cultivate emotional balance—the emotional intelligence that can lead to genuine happiness and a fulfilling life.

Produced in Association with the Garrison Institute.
By enrolling in this course you agree to the Terms of Use.



Lesson 1: The Meaning of Happiness

Instructors Lama Alan Wallace and Eve Ekman introduce us to the scope of the Cultivating Emotional Balance curriculum and discuss the meaning of true happiness and how we can begin to find it in our lives.


Lesson 2: Understanding Emotions

In this lesson we come to a definition of emotion and learn about their characteristics and how to map an emotion episode, and experience a mediation practice to help develop relaxation, stability, and clarity.


Lesson 3: Recognizing Anger

In this lesson we unpack the workings of anger: recognizing it’s felt experience, triggers, and our responses to it. We also dive deeper into the practice of mindfulness of breathing.


Lesson 4: Understanding the Mind with Meditation

Lama Alan and Eve answer questions about anger and emotions before Lama Alan takes us through a more in-depth exploration of how to understand and observe the mind through Buddhist meditation techniques.


Lesson 5: Working with Anger and Fear

In this lesson Eve takes us through strategies for working with anger and ways of understanding fear, before she and Lama Alan answer questions about topics such as meditation, self-compassion, and anxiety.


Lesson 6: Contempt, Disgust, and Coming to Know the Physical World

Lama Alan Wallace guides to a better understanding of how we know the physical world—and our reactions to it—through the senses, while Eve Ekman takes us through the emotions contempt and disgust.


Lesson 7: Stillness in the Midst of Motion

In this lesson Lama Alan Wallace and Eve Ekman answer questions related to our false sense of “ownership” of emotions, impatience, and emotional suppression before Lama Alan turns our attention toward the nature of awareness and what it means to find stillness in the midst of motion.


Lesson 8: Expressing Emotions and Working with Shame and Guilt

Renowned psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman joins the course for a special session on his research related to recognizing the facial expression of emotions, before Eve leads us in an exploration of the difficult emotions of shame and guilt.


Lesson 9: Approaching Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Sadness, and Joy

Lama Alan Wallace takes us through an understanding of emotional intelligence by way of the first two of the four immeasurables, loving-kindness and compassion, while Eve Ekman shares insights on the emotions of sadness and joy.


Lesson 10: Discovering Empathetic Joy and Impartiality

In our final lesson, Lama Alan Wallace leads us through the remaining four immeasurables, empathetic joy and impartiality, and provides advice for sustaining the practices we have learned in the course.

About the Teacher

Lama Alan Wallace is a dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West who continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted 14 years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. He later studied Dzogchen with Gyatrul Rinpoche, a senior teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. With his unique background, Dr. Wallace brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world. He is the author and translator of several books, including Düdjom Lingpa’s Visions of the Great PerfectionStilling the Mind: Shamatha Teachings From Dudjom Linpa’s Vajra EssenceTibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, and The Attention Revolution. He is co-founder, with Dr. Paul Ekman, of Cultivating Emotional Balance. Eve Ekman is a second-generation emotion researcher and founding teacher of Cultivating Emotional Balance. Dr. Ekman’s research is inspired by her experience as a medical social worker in the emergency room of San Francisco General Hospital, coupled with her training in Cultivating Emotional Balance. She received her Ph.D in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley in 2014. Her dissertation case study focused on juvenile detention center guards and the relationship between meaning in work, burnout, and empathy. She also tailored a CEB-based pilot training to support these workers. Currently at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Ekman continues to refine the conceptual framework, research, and training around the areas of meaning, empathy, and burnout. She is focusing on a population of residents-in-training with a long-term goal of pioneering interpersonal training for medical education to support empathic skills, experience of meaning, and managing burning out. Additionally, her research interest includes technology that fosters emotion regulation and mindfulness, developing a dynamic measurement for empathy, and assessing the impact of provider empathy on the quality of patient care.