Fellow Spotlight: Brooke D. Lavelle

Brooke D. Lavelle, Courage of Care Coalition
In this month’s Fellow Spotlight we are pleased to share the work of Brooke D. Lavelle, PhD. Brooke is the Co-Founder and President of the Courage of Care Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating the co-creation of a more just, compassionate world. Together with her diverse, interdisciplinary, and multi-generational team at Courage, Brooke provides training and consultation in relational compassion practices, anti-oppressive pedagogies, restorative healing methods, and systems tools to social service and caring professionals, as well as to educational, spiritual, and human rights organizations. 
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Toward a Whole World Ethic: The Role of Conscious Evolution

This is the second of two blog posts describing recent Mind & Life Conversations with the Dalai Lama and prominent thought leaders on the topic of “Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation.” Photos by Phil Walker and Tenzin Choejor.

At a time of sweeping change and daunting global challenges, what’s needed is a whole world ethic to unite people in pursuit of the collective good. On this, both the Dalai Lama and evolutionary scientist David Sloan Wilson agree. In a recent two-hour dialogue, Wilson informed the Dalai Lama of a paradigm shift in evolutionary science and the role that conscious evolution can play in achieving their shared vision.

Sponsored by the Mind & Life Institute, their conversation on the theme of “Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation” bridged science and contemplative wisdom, offering insights both practical and profound.

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Transforming Lives and Communities with Compassion

This is the first of two blog posts describing recent Mind & Life Conversations with the Dalai Lama and prominent thought leaders on the topic of “Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation.” Photos by Phil Walker and Tenzin Choejor.

Clinical psychologist and social scientist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela traveled thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of Africa to northern India for a conversation with the Dalai Lama that spanned both the hatred and brutality of which humans are capable and the conditions that make individual and societal transformation possible.

Sponsored by the Mind & Life Institute, their conversation on the theme of “Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation” bridged African wisdom, science, and spiritual traditions to reveal common ground and actionable insights. In attendance were some 50 invited guests—with tens of thousands joining online from around the globe.
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Fellow Spotlight: Jennifer Mascaro

Jennifer Mascaro, Assistant Professor at Emory University

In this month’s Fellow Spotlight we are pleased to share the work of Jennifer Mascaro, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University. She will be presenting her work at the 2020 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute.

Jennifer’s research interests center on human social cognition and the biology of interconnection, as well as the variation of these elements across individuals and over time. A biological anthropologist by training, Jennifer weaves together multiple research methodologies, including neuroimaging (both anatomical and functional MRI), experience sampling, and hormonal and genetic assays to explore how contemplative practices affect prosocial emotions and behaviors, and how these in turn impact health. Ever interdisciplinary, Jennifer’s research also interfaces with the fields of medicine, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, religion, and social, clinical, and cognitive psychology in order to examine interventions that enhance social connectivity, and in so doing, impact well-being.

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Upcoming Mind & Life Conversations to Explore Role of Compassion and Conscious Evolution in Healing Growing Divides

How can contemplative wisdom and science better inform our knowledge of human nature and what it takes to inspire caring and action for our collective future? On October 30th and November 1st, the Dalai Lama will engage prominent thought leaders—evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson and clinical psychologist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela—in two intimate conversations designed to inspire insight, provoke debate, and offer hope for healing deep divides in today’s world.

Sponsored by the Mind & Life Institute, these “Conversations on Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation“ will be livestreamed, for free, from Dharamasala, India. The two hour-long events are adapted from Mind & Life’s Dialogues with the Dalai Lama, which have taken place regularly since 1987.

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Special Issue on Mindfulness

Mind & Life is excited to share the special issue on Mindfulness, published in Current Opinion in Psychology earlier this month. This compilation showcases the work of many in the Mind & Life academic community. The authors have received grants, served on committees, attended events, presented at conferences, participated as Fellows, and been active with the Mind & Life Institute and our sister organization Mind & Life Europe in myriad ways. In their introduction to the issue, editors Amit Bernstein, Dave Vago, and Thorsten Barnhofer name the Mind & Life Institute’s grants and activities as “a catalyst for the emergence and ongoing growth of a network of contemplative scholars, scientists, monastics, and practitioners.” We are deeply grateful to these authors and our entire community for joining us in this work.

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Fellow Spotlight: David Creswell

David Creswell, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University

Mind & Life is excited to announce our first-ever Mind & Life Fellow Spotlight! The Fellow Spotlight is a new monthly segment where we will highlight the contributions of Mind & Life Fellows to our shared mission, featuring a different Fellow each month. 

In this month’s spotlight we are pleased to share the work of David Creswell, Associate Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. David’s work focuses on understanding what makes people resilient under stress, and more recently has examined the role of acceptance and equanimity in mindfulness training for stress reduction and health. David received the American Psychological Association and the American Psychosomatic Society Early Career Awards, and was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. His work is regularly profiled in the media, including coverage in the NY Times, LA Times, NBC News, and the Today Show. 

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Seeding Peace in the Heart of Conflict: A Think Tank Project in Colombia

Siblings Juan and Juliana Santoyo received funding from Mind & Life in 2017 to hold a Think Tank to design and plan the implementation of a contemplative practice-based program for ex-combatants in Colombia’s peacebuilding process (members of the program’s pilot pictured above). They believe that nourishing the ability to heal and transform individually and with community is fundamental for the intentional transformation of their country and the world. For more information about their project see https://www.contemplativecolombia.com/.

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Clifford Saron: Embracing the Mystery

Mind & Life would not exist without the contributions of many dedicated individuals who graciously contribute their time and expertise in service of its mission. Last Fall, at the 2018 International Symposium for Contemplative Research, Mind & Life presented Clifford Saron, Ph.D. with its inaugural Service Award. Said Mind & Life President Susan Bauer Wu, “From 1990 to this very moment, Cliff has worked in continuous service to Mind & Life. His heart, mind, wisdom, and brilliance are woven throughout the fabric of our work.” Below is a tribute to Dr. Saron and his nearly three decades of service to Mind & Life. Read More

Contemplative Research and the Case for Transcultural Experiences and Perspectives

Attending Mind and Life’s first-ever International Research Institute (IRI) in Kyoto, Japan, was a career highpoint. The event bridged my past and present, my current studies in the U.S. with my roots in Japan, and my interest in exploring the connection between mind and body.

Quite simply, I felt at home.

As a child, I went on field trips to Buddhist temples, but never really appreciated them. That all changed years later within the awe-inspiring setting of Myōshin-ji, a 14th century Zen temple complex typically reserved for monks, yet made available to IRI participants to explore the theme of “Contemplative Practice in Context: Culture, History, and Science.”

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