The Conscious Hedonism on-line course invites to explore your pleasure-seeking strategies, to master a refined attitude to pleasure, desire, joy, happiness and „needs” in general. This process will be intertwined with cultivating your own values and “virtues” that are essential for a “flourishing life” with lasting happiness. Building on the scientific and intellectual approach outlined in the book “Sustainable Hedonism” the course offers a space for personal reflection, insight and transformative learning.
Our pleasure-seeking, instinctive selves may seem to be in conflict with our moral selves striving to live a responsible and meaningful life. We may witness this conflict in our personal lives as well as on a social and global level. We seek pleasure and may suffer from its consequences. From the notorious old examples of indulgence in eating or gambling to more recent ones like leisure and work, consumption and the climate.
Do you sometimes feel like one or more of these statements below?
- I am short of joy and vitality.
- I seek pleasure and may feel guilt.
- I feel that my natural, playful, spontaneous, pleasure-seeking self is blocked by my responsibilities, habits and perhaps ultimately, my moral self. Sometimes I am telling myself that “I have no time” or “it is not the time”.
- I often do not really “treat” myself in a way that creates lasting joy and a deep sense of tranquility.
- I have “too much” in my life: stuff, duties, worries – and I want to see more clearly what I need and what is essential.
- I feel strongly affected by the challenges of the world, especially the destruction of natural beauty, the ecological and climate crisis, and it is often overwhelming, and I wish to feel that what I do and how I live is “good enough”.
Conscious Hedonism will empower you:
- to cultivate joy, pleasure, a flourishing life that is also meaningful;
- to take the right action for a joyful life that is not harmful to yourself or to the world;
- to find a mutually reinforcing, positive inter-relationship between your pleasure-seeking self and your wise self;
- to connect to your core values and your own “virtues” so that they can become a compass and strength in your daily choices;
- to make a conscious and creative realignment where you can discover yourself as an active co-creator of your inner and outer world;
- increase the sense of joy, ease, tranquility in your life, while at the same time have the sense that your actions are meaningful.
In a small, supportive group and with the help of exercises and practices, you will explore how you can create a life that is more conscious and more enjoyable. You can become aware which internal and external forces support you in your endeavour.
Methods and our approach
- our integrated method is based on solution-focused coaching, action-oriented coaching, psychological role theory, mindfulness techniques and group exchange
- solution-focused coaching offers an efficient toolbox that reinforces personal character strength, skills, and focuses on the desirable outcomes
- action-oriented coaching moves beyond cognitive understanding and engages the body, the emotions and intuitions, and thereby able to reveal blind spots, release deadlocks and support the emergence of surprising creative new solutions
- psychological role theory enables the exploration of inner parts that may drive or hinder personal transformation
- as facilitators, we do not give advice or impose our visions, rather respect and reinforce individual autonomy, choice and wisdom
- we ensure that individual reflection and exploration is helped by a supportive, safe and creative group culture
- we support the emergence of collective wisdom in the group, where the insights of individual group members catalyse and inspire others, creating a field of group awareness that is more than the awareness of its individual members.
Whom this course is for…
- professionals, activists and all who are concerned by the dilemma of how to live a good life, that is joyful but also caring and responsible, that brings growth and fulfillment, yet that is at the same time considerate of others and the Earth.
- learners who are interested in awareness-based personal and collective change.
- people who have the mental and emotional stability and resources to engage in potentially challenging personal work and stay safe. If you have any doubt about this, please check with your doctor or health care professional.
- Conscious Hedonism has a limited number of participants and is for committed explorers. It is for people who are determined to make the most of their lives, dare to ask courageously who they are and whom they could become.
Orsolya Lelkes, Author of Sustainable Hedonism, independent scholar, psychological counsellor, certified business coach (ICF ACC)
1. Living well: happiness and its pitfalls
This first week will lay the ground for the 6 modules ahead and introduce you the main methods. You will make your commitment contract for the course. You will start with exploring the myriad faces on happiness, including life satisfaction, a sense of meaning and purpose, flourishing life, positive feelings, bodily pleasures. What is your general strategy: are you a “maximizer”? Or rather, a “satisficer”? How does it affect your life? You will map your own attitudes to happiness and pleasure, its patterns and possible contradictions.
2. Living well: hedonism as a conscious practice
You will explore the middle way of pleasures, between self-indulgence and self-mortification. You will make contact with your inner Indulger and the inner Sage. You will gain insight how you can cultivate the art of self-mastery that is not hurtful self-restraint.
3. Living well: minimalism at the age of maximizers
We will dive in the issue of “living well”, in particular the issue of differentiating “needs” from “wants” as a way of liberation. Where do you draw the line between your “needs” and your “wants”? How does it affect you: your life strategy and your sense of “living well” and “feeling well”? How can you sustain your autonomy in the midst of your collective environment (your peers, the seductions to consume, advertisements and media)? You will increase your awareness on your (tacit) assumptions and this insight may inspire you to adjust them. This will enable to increase your inner freedom, and the ability of “living well”.
4. Doing well: values
In this module, we map personal and collective core values and identify potential value conflicts. Ultimately, this is expected to support you in a value-based life that is a source of vitality rather than just an external moral expectation.
5. Doing well: virtues
The theme is the art of cultivating virtues. For this, we will apply the classical approach of Aristotle to our modern world. You will assess your own standing with respect to these “virtues” and develop a way to cultivate your own virtues and excellences that are keys to a “flourishing life”.
6. Living well and doing well: flourishing life
At the closing module we will bring all the elements together, assess what we have learnt. You will be able to integrate your experiences, learning on your journey. You will work how to live and create a “flourishing life”, a “flourishing future”. How can your inner Sage can help you in your efforts? You will devise strategies and next steps in your work or private life.
In honour of your learning journey in Conscious Hedonism, you’ll receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.
Chapters 3-8 of the book Sustainable Hedonism
Group sessions: 6 sessions, 3 hours each, every second week
Individual practice: 15 minutes daily, based on our guidance and practices of your choice
Feedback from clients and participants
“I was able to bring movement into a stagnant situation simply and directly. Orsolya Lelkes was a sensitive and competent guide in this process.”
“Orsolya is spirited, dynamic and convincing. Her work is characterized by readiness for action, an active focus on the client, and the search for constructive solutions. Orsolya is a person with inner depths, with a profoundly spiritual personal experience, interest and knowledge. She is honest to herself and the surrounding world, and to the other person who is engaged in the meeting. At the same time, however, she expects the same attitude from the other party. During her career, she has gained a PhD in Social Policy, as well as qualifications as a psychodrama leader, solution-focused brief coach. Her personality and professional skills guarantee a high level of competence. I recommend her wholeheartedly and without hesitation.”
“My concerns have started to shift – not in the sense of setting intentions or writing lists of pros and cons, but in the sense of a desire which becomes clearer, a greater joy and very specific pragmatic steps in everyday life. My earlier ‘I should’ or ‘I must’ has turned into a clear ‘I want’. In my joint work with Orsolya Lelkes I have appreciated her conversation skills – a good blend of expert skills, presence, clear structure and infectious enthusiasm.”
Pre-register now for and receive detailed information soon !