Contemplative Practice in the World Part I

Contemplative Practice in the World Part I


As we have seen, scientists are actively studying contemplative practices to understand how they can affect the brain and body. However, these practices are also being used in diverse applied contexts to increase well-being, most commonly in health care and educational settings. Sona Dimidjian has studied both traditional and contemplative based therapies for promoting wellness and alleviating problems such as depression throughout the United States and in India. Her current work focuses on the use of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy to help women prevent depression during the transition to parenthood. Dimidjian will discuss the efficacy of contemplative interventions in clinical contexts, theories and data about how such interventions work, and recent efforts to extend their reach to new settings and populations. Outside the clinic, contemplative exercise as mental training is being increasingly appreciated and applied in classrooms from kindergarten through universities and professional schools. Arthur Zajonc will discuss efforts at developing a “contemplative pedagogy,” as a means of cultivating attention, establishing emotional balance, and supporting deeper learning, creativity, as well as social and emotional learning in students. Zajonc will also describe Mind and Life’s new initiative on education and “secular ethics,” which was initiated in response to His Holiness’s strong desire to ground ethics in our shared humanity and not in religion or ideology. Finally, Geshe Ngawang Samten will reflect on the value of incorporating inner values, ethics of compassion and the understanding of interdependence in educational settings in India. 

  • Dialogue 26
    27 sessions
  • January 21, 2013
    Drepung Monastery, Mundgod, India
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Sona Dimidjian

Sona Dimidjian, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research addresses the treatment and prevention of depression, including a particular focus on the mental health of women during pregnancy and postpartum. She is a leading expert in cognitive and behavioral approaches to treating and preventing depression and has a longstanding interest in the clinical application of mindfulness and contemplative practices. Currently, she is conducting research on the use of meditative practices, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and compassion practice, with pregnant and postpartum women at high risk of depressive relapse and general populations. She also serves on the Mind and Life Research Advisory Council, and the planning committee for the International Symposia for Contemplative Studies.