Grey Matters: Examining Subjective Experience

grey-matters-2What is the human mind, and how can we develop it to its greatest potential? There are many ways of trying to answer this age-old question. As a neuroscientist, I was trained within a theoretical system that largely equates the mind with the physical structure of the brain. Operating from this perspective, science has made […]

New Varela Awardees Announced!

SRIblogEach year, Mind and Life strives to support young scholars by funding cutting edge research in contemplative science. Our Varela Research Awards are based on neuroscientist, philosopher, and Mind and Life cofounder Francisco J. Varela’s belief that contemplative training offers modern science novel methods for investigating human experience. In his vision, contemplative training not only provides a […]

Grey Matters: The BRAIN Initiative, Mapping the Mind

brain_gearsThe mysteries of the human brain are hidden in an almost unfathomable array of synaptic connections, cellular activity, neurotransmitters, gene expression patterns, and electrical oscillations. Even deeper than these lay the questions of how such an extraordinarily complex electrochemical system connects to our moment-to-moment experience as human beings: our perceptions, our thoughts, our emotions—what cognitive […]

Meditation: It’s Not What You Think

brain weightsDo you have family, friends, colleagues who say they just can’t meditate? Mind and Life’s resident neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp explores the popular misconceptions surrounding meditation, and the reasons to keep trying.   When I explain to someone that I’m involved in research on meditation, it’s not uncommon for me to hear, “Oh, meditation—I tried that. […]

Can Meditation Change Compassionate Behavior?

compassionMost of us like to think that we’re compassionate people – that, given the opportunity, we’d recognize another’s pain and be moved to help.  But in the midst of our daily lives, how compassionate are we, really?  And is this something we can change about ourselves?   These questions were at the heart of a recent […]

Toward Research on Real-World Effects of Meditation

1440As many of our colleagues are aware, the Mind & Life Institute has been a long-time supporter of research in contemplative science. Since 2004, we have been awarding small grants to advance rigorous research in the field through our Francisco J. Varela Awards program. Over the last decade, we have funded over 120 Varela Awards, […]