Mind and Life Summer Research Institute: Day 1

The 7th Annual Mind and Life Summer Research Institute commenced Monday, June 14, 2010. Participants arrived from as far away as Israel, France, Australia and Canada. More than 160 fellows and faculty are attending this year’s Summer Research Institute: Education. Developmental Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices: Questions, Challenges and Opportunities.


The weeklong event is held again at the beautiful Garrison Institute nestled in the Hudson Highlands across the river from West Point. A former Capuchin monastery, the renovated 77,000 square foot it offers a unique, authentic setting for non-sectarian exploration of contemplative practice and social change.


The evening began with dinner in the great dining hall, followed by opening remarks from Adam Engle, co-founder and CEO of the Mind & Life Institute. Engle welcomed all the participants and highlighted the unique opportunity and importance in the meeting of science and contemplative practices. He also expressed his thanks to David Vago, Ph.D., Senior Research Coordinator, and Robert Roeser, Ph.D., Senior Program Coordinator, for their outstanding work and commitment over the years supporting and facilitating the Summer Research Institute.


Robert Gabriel, COO of Garrison Institute also welcomed the participants, gave a short history of the Garrison Institute and outlined the ‘lay of the land.’


The opening remarks were followed by three presentations: a viewing of Monte Grande, the life of Mind & Life co-founder Francisco J. Varela, and Introduction to the Emerging Field of Contemplative Neuroscience by David Vago, and an Introduction to Buddhism by Diego Hangartner, Pharm.D., COO of the Mind & Life Institute.


The evening concluded with an Introduction to Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Will Kabat-Zinn, M.A., and participants were given instructions to maintain silence through the morning breakfast.