Online November 5-8, 2020

At a time of profound disruption that continues to dramatically impacting our outer and inner worlds, Mind & Life’s 2020 Contemplative Research Conference on November 5-8 2020 brought together scientists, scholars, and contemplatives to share leading-edge insights into driving questions: 

  • What lessons from contemplative neuroscience and public health can be applied in addressing the challenges we face—from the pandemic to growing social unrest?
  • How can mindfulness training enhance social connectivity and contribute to flourishing in vulnerable and marginalized populations?
  • And what role can contemplative practice play in helping those with chronic illness cope with loss of control and an unpredictable future? 

The online event was grounded in contemplative movement, arts, and practice. Through guided meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn pointed to the potential of mindfulness to optimize well-being and healing, including racial, economic, and global injustices; Thupten Jinpa led participants in connecting with our common humanity; and Margaret Cullen introduced a practice to cultivate equanimity for wise action.

In addition to the presentations listed below, you can download the full lists of symposia and papers.


Program Sessions

THURSDAY

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Opening Remarks and Contemplative Arts

Susan Bauer-Wu, Linda Carlson, John Dunne, Grant Jones

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom

FRIDAY

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Morning Yoga: “Trul khor: Tibetan Yoga”

Alejandro Chaoul

Topics: Body-based Practices | Contemplative Wisdom

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Morning Yoga: “Prana and Chi: Moving the Elements”

Hawah Kasat

Topics: Body-based Practices | Contemplative Wisdom

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Meditation: “Taking a Stand by Taking Your Seat”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Topics: Interconnection | Self & Other | Social Change

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Plenary Symposium: Clinical Panel “Effects of Contemplative Training in Vulnerable Populations”

Moderators: Doris F. Chang
Panel: Linda Carlson, David J. Creswell, Cheryl Woods Giscombe

Topics: Interconnection | Mindfulness | Social Change | Stress & Resilience

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Plenary Panel: “Starting from Experience: Neurophenomenology and the Vision of Mind and Life Europe”

Moderators: John Dunne
Panel: Amy Cohen Varela, Antoine Lutz, Andreas Roepstorff

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Mindfulness

SATURDAY

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Meditation: “Cultivating Equanimity” and Contemplative Arts

Margaret Cullen, Carine Gilbert

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Mindfulness | Stress & Resilience

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Plenary Panel: “Pathways to Resilience in the Pandemic from a Contemplative, Moral and Public Health Perspective“

Moderators: David Vago
Panel: Richard J. Davidson, Vivek Murthy, Molly Crocket

Topics: Interconnection | Social Change | Stress & Resilience

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Panel Discussion: “What Does Spirituality Mean To US?”

Mohammed Hamid Mohammed, Veronica Selzler, Roman Williams

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Interconnection

SUNDAY

2020 Contemplative Research Conference Session

Meditation: “A Guided Compassion Meditation”

Thupten Jinpa

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Interconnection


Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Linda Carlson, PhD

University of Calgary

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member

Dr. Linda Carlson holds the Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology, is Full Professor in Psychosocial Oncology in the Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of … MORE

Doris F. Chang, PhD

New York University

Doris F. Chang is Associate Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work and a research scientist at the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence, New York State Psychiatric Institute. … MORE

Wen Chen

National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health

Wen G. Chen serves as Branch Chief of NCCIH’s Basic and Mechanistic Research in the Division of Extramural Research at National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), NIH, overseeing fundamental science … MORE

Kalina Christoff, PhD

University of British Columbia

Kalina Christoff is a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her work focuses on understanding human thought, using a combination of functional neuroimaging (fMRI), … MORE

David J. Creswell, PhD

Carnegie Mellon University

Fellow, Grantee

David’s research focuses broadly on understanding what makes people resilient under stress. Specifically, he conducts community intervention studies, laboratory studies of stress and coping, and neuroimaging studies to understand how … MORE

Molly Crocket

Yale University

Molly Crockett is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. Prior to joining Yale, Molly was a faculty … MORE

Richard J. Davidson, PhD

Mind & Life Chief Scientific Advisor, Center for Healthy Minds at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Davidson is best known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain. A friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama, he is a highly sought after expert and speaker, … MORE

John Dunne, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

John Dunne’s work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialog with Cognitive Science. His publications range from technical works on Buddhist epistemology to broader works on the … MORE

Amishi Jha, PhD

University of Miami

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member

Amishi Jha is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, prior to which she was … MORE

Antoine Lutz, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Discussant, Fellow

Antoine Lutz, PhD is an Associate Scientist at the Laboratory For Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior at the Waisman Center in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests focus on … MORE

Mohammed Hamid Mohammed

The Fetzer Institute

Mohammed Hamid Mohammed is a senior program officer at the Fetzer Institute. Trained in the humanities, social science, and human-computer interaction, Mohammed is a philanthropy professional with decades of experience … MORE

Vivek Murthy

19th Surgeon General, United States

As America’s Doctor, Dr. Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most urgent public health issues. He chose areas of focus that were raised by people across America during his … MORE

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, PhD

University of Lancaster

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is a Fellow of the British Academy and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster University. He is the author of seven books and some fifty … MORE

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, PhD

University of British Columbia

Convening Faculty

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is an applied developmental psychologist and a professor in the Human Development, Learning, and Culture area in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at … MORE

Andreas Roepstorff, PhD

Aarhus University

Fellow, Grantee

Andreas Roepstorff, Ph.D. is Professor, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience and Department of Social Anthropology, Aarhus University / Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. As an anthropologist in neuroscience, Andreas tries to … MORE

Veronica Selzler

Fetzer Institute

Veronica Selzler is a director at Hattaway Communications, a strategic communications firm that helps visionary leaders and organizations use strategy, science, and storytelling to achieve ambitious goals for people and … MORE

Amy Cohen Varela

Mind & Life Europe

Amy Cohen Varela is Chairperson of the Mind & Life Europe Board and involved with Mind and Life since its inception. She is also a clinical psychologist specialized in psychodynamic … MORE

David Vago, PhD

Vanderbilt University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member

Dr. David Vago is Research Associate Professor and Director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Mind-Body (CNMB) Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. He is core training … MORE

Helen Weng, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee

Helen Y. Weng, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, and her research focuses on the neural mechanisms of how meditation practices may improve social behavior and mental health. Her … MORE

Roman Williams

Fetzer Institute

Roman R. Williams, Ph.D. is a visual sociologist who studies religion and spirituality in everyday life. Roman directs the Interfaith Photovoice Initiative (interfaithphotovoice.org), is a research fellow at the Kaufman … MORE

Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cheryl L. Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC is the Melissa and Harry LeVine Family Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness. Her program of research focuses on understanding … MORE


Contemplative Teachers and Artists

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Convening Faculty, Fellow

Margaret Cullen, PhD

Portland State University

Carine Gilbert

Grounded in Motion

Hawah Kasat

One Common Unity

Thupten Jinpa, PhD

McGill University

Grant Jones

The Black Lotus Collective; Harvard University

Grantee

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

University of Massachusetts

Fellow, Founding Steward


Program Planning Committee

The Program Planning Committee (PPC) is a committee of invited specialists from diverse disciplines and perspectives who bring their expertise to curate and produce the content of the conference. In addition to developing the overall theme and narrative arc of the program, the PPC actively participate and serve in leadership roles throughout the conference. Linda Carlson and John Dunne are co-chairs of the CRC PPC.

Linda Carlson, PhD

University of Calgary

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member

John Dunne, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Doris F. Chang, PhD

New York University

Neil Dalal, PhD

University of Alberta

Amishi Jha, PhD

University of Miami

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member

David Vago, PhD

Vanderbilt University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, PPC Member


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