Meditating Together: Tania Singer on the Contemplative Dyad

 

As part of the work that she’s leading on the ReSource Project—a large-scale multi-methodological secular mental training program—Tania Singer is studying novel forms of intersubjective mental training practices that are performed with a partner. These contemplative dyad practices are aimed at boosting social closeness and perceived interconnectedness.

In this video, Singer, who is the Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, shares some the differential effects of individual mindfulness-based practices as compared to contemplative dyad practices on outcomes such as attention, compassion, Theory of Mind, altruism, as well as social stress and autonomic body regulation. Read More

The PhenoTank: A Mind & Life Think Tank on the Microphenomenology of Contemplative Experience

What happens when an experience is described?  Does the very effort to find words deepen practice, sharpen awareness, clarify an experience? Imagining a lens through which to deepen access to contemplative experience, these were among the questions that drove the conversation at Mind & Life’s first funded Think Tank, the “PhenoTank,” held at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris this past January 23rd and 24th, 2017. Read More

An in-depth look at a Mind & Life Think Tank on Abrahamic traditions.

To date, the traditions and techniques that have been most substantively researched in the field of contemplative science have largely derived from Buddhism and Buddhist-inspired movements. While there have been tremendous advances and developments due to this collaboration—indeed there would be no field without it—a natural consequence of this specific alliance is that insights from other traditions have not yet been fully investigated and integrated into the field. This Mind & Life Think Tank was therefore dedicated to exploring such potential contributions of the contemplative streams found within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (collectively called the “Abrahamic” traditions) toward the dual aims of alleviating suffering and promoting human flourishing in accord with the Mind & Life Institute’s primary mission. Read More

How personal experience as a racial minority led to a career studying compassion meditation in diverse populations.

An Interview with Mind & Life Fellow, Helen Weng, PhD.

Helen Y. Weng, PhD is a Mind & Life Fellow and a postdoctoral scholar at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Helen is interested in how contemplative practices can improve communication within and between individuals, and how this in turn improves psychological and physical health. Her postdoctoral work is focused on developing a novel fMRI task to measure mindful breath awareness, using community-engaged approaches to adapt fMRI study procedures to underrepresented populations from diverse contemplative communities, and understanding how mindfulness-based interventions impact body awareness and psychophysiological variables. Read More

An interview with Eric Garland, Ph.D.

Mind & Life Fellow, Eric L. Garland, Ph.D., LCSW, is a clinical researcher and practicing, licensed psychotherapist.
Mind & Life Fellow, Eric L. Garland, Ph.D., LCSW, is a clinical researcher and practicing, licensed psychotherapist.

As a Mind & Life Fellow who received the Francisco J. Varela Research Grant in 2007 and the Mind & Life 1440 grant in 2013, Dr. Eric Garland has gone on to become the developer of an innovative, multimodal mindfulness-based intervention founded on insights derived from cognitive, affective and neurobiological science, called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE). He has received more than $20 million in research grants from a variety of prestigious entities including the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense to conduct translational research on biopsychosocial mechanisms implicated in stress and health, including randomized controlled trials of MORE as a treatment for prescription opioid misuse and chronic pain conditions. Read More

ISCS 2016 marks coming of age for Mind & Life

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For those who recently attended Mind & Life’s International Symposium for Contemplative Studies (ISCS)  in San Diego, the experience provided an unusually intimate and affirming sense of connection and possibility — amid 1200 attendees. Read More

The Mind & Life community remembers Cathy Kerr

 

Consider the amazing life of Catherine Kerr, who began her career as an historian, was retrained as a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, and went on to present scientific research on neurophysiology to the Dalai Lama. For those who knew Cathy, this capacity for transformation through focused purpose was just one of her remarkable qualities. It was also the foundation of her pioneering research on the mind’s attention to the sense of touch and inner experience as a way to understand disease and improve human health.

In the days following Cathy’s death on Saturday, November 12, the Mind & Life Institute received an outpouring of affectionate memories of her strength and grace, along with moving stories of her personal importance in the lives of her colleagues and her role as a gifted and valued mentor to her students, and reminders of her monumental contributions to the field of contemplative sciences.

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