A collaborative, interdisciplinary, and immersive opportunity for conversations around trauma, resilience, and flourishingfor researchers, contemplatives, changemakers, and anyone interested in this topic.

The Summer Research Institute (SRI) is an application-based program. After 3 years of being held online, it will take place in-person at the Garrison Institute in upstate New York.  Applications open on Monday, December 5, 2022 and close on Monday, January 23, 2023. Upon notification of your accepted application, you will be contacted directly with more information concerning the program schedule and how to register for the event.

Mind & Life’s Summer Research Institute is made possible in part by the Hershey Family Foundation, which has provided generous program support since SRI’s inception in 2004.

Program Description

Few people in today’s world go through life without encountering some form of trauma. The causes of individual, collective, and intergenerational trauma and suffering are many—from war, human rights violations, systemic societal injustice, and poverty to climate emergencies and interpersonal violence and aggression. Yet within these dark corners of human experience, we also find indomitable individual and collective resilience and human flourishing. 

Mind & Life’s 2023 Summer Research Institute (SRI)—our 20th to date—will explore the theme of trauma, resilience, and flourishing and their complex inter-connections. The weeklong program will examine whether and how contemplative science and practices can help prevent and process trauma, buffer its toxicity, promote resilience and recovery, and guide restorative social and existential justice. Featured will be inspiring science talks, engaging panel and community discussions, meditation practice, and movement and body-oriented contemplative practices. The program will encourage dynamic, ongoing dialogue among scientists, humanities scholars, Buddhist and other ethnocultural scholars, Indigenous knowledge holders, contemplatives, social activists, students, and trainees. Together, we will engage in inquiry around three braided topics:

Turning Towards: Trauma & Adversity. We will begin by exploring the science, scholarship, and personal narratives related to diverse expressions and experiences of individual, collective, and intergenerational trauma, as well as the universal experience of trauma that transcends people and place. Contemplative practice will support sitting with difficulties and turning towards our own and others’ suffering through awareness, compassion, and related practices.

Rising Up: Resilience, Recovery, & Flourishing. We will then examine the science, scholarship, and personal narratives of resilience, recovery, and flourishing following trauma and adversity. Together, we will reflect on the tension between our potential to have agency and power and our vulnerability and limitations. We will consider our ethical obligation to prevent and help heal vs. the individual and systemic constraints that stand in the way. We will look at how resilience and flourishing may be cultivated through contemplative practices, compassion, and interdependence. In moving from adversity to flourishing, our contemplative work will shift to the meaning and insight embedded in individual and collective healing and flourishing.

Being Change: Restorative Social Justice. Finally, we will explore evidence-based approaches aimed at preventing and healing trauma and adversity—locally and globally. We will look at balancing our well-intentioned aspirations, sense of urgency, and ethical obligations with wise, reflective, and skillful action. We will critically reflect on the potential role(s) of contemplative practice, scholarship, and science in restorative social justice work. Experiential and contemplative practice will focus on ways to remain mindful and reflective ‘off the cushion’ while we aspire to take action or pursue science with a social mission out in the world.

Ultimately, SRI 2023 seeks to inspire and challenge us in ways that will meaningfully impact our scholarship and science, personal contemplative practice, wellbeing, and capacity to bring about pro-social impact locally and globally. Our time together will culminate in a celebration of SRI’s 20th anniversary and pioneering legacy.

What to Expect
  • Plenary lectures and Q&As with with leading scholars, activists, and contemplatives 
  • Curated small group breakout sessions for storytelling, reflection, and action
  • Daily contemplative meditation and movement practices to cultivate awareness and embodiment
  • Live intergenerational, interdisciplinary panel discussions for fostering inquiry and dialogue
  • Social forums to network with participants and faculty, share new ideas, discuss topics of interest, and find new collaborators
  • Poster presentation sessions.
  • Contemplative arts offerings
Faculty Spotlight
Kelley Nicole Palmer

Convening Faculty

Kelley Nicole Palmer is a black, queer creative and community advocate based in Charlotte NC.  Kelley uses the practices and philosophy of yoga to guide her work in creating equitable … MORE

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

University of Massachusetts

Fellow, Founding Steward

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (in 1995), … MORE

sujatha baliga

Restorative Justice Facilitator

Convening Faculty

sujatha baliga’s work is characterized by an equal dedication to people who’ve experienced and caused harm and violence. A former victim advocate and public defender, sujatha is a frequent guest … MORE

Natalie Avalos

Convening Faculty

Natalie Avalos is as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Affiliate Faculty in the Religious Studies and Women and Gender Studies Departments at the University of … MORE

Who should attend?

Anyone whose work and/or personal passions align with this year’s theme, ‘Trauma, Resilience, and Flourishing,” is welcome, including researchers (e.g., scientists, humanities scholars), contemplatives, and changemakers (e.g., leaders, policymakers, clinicians, activists). 

The Mind & Life Institute is committed to: 1) building a thoughtful and engaged interdisciplinary community that integrates diverse perspectives and experiences, and 2) offering catalytic and transformative opportunities, especially for those early in their careers.  

This unique, international gathering offers the opportunity to deepen work and connections, and the potential to spark innovative and interdisciplinary collaborations and projects. 

Applicants must apply to one of two categories of participants: 

Emerging:  Students (undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty (researchers across the sciences and humanities), early-career changemakers and professionals, and contemplative practitioners within five years of appointment or beginning work in the field.  

Please note: Emerging researchers who attend the SRI become eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants. Emerging changemaker participants will be eligible for our new Contemplative Changemaking Grants. Other participants may be eligible for other Mind & Life grants.

Established: Researchers (across the sciences and humanities), contemplative teachers, and changemakers (professionals, policymakers, leaders, activists), and those interested in this topic, who have held faculty appointments or positions for more than five years. 

We welcome candidates of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, ages, religions and spiritualities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, geographic locations, disciplines, and institutions to apply.

Information on how to apply will be made available when applications open on Monday, December 5, 2022. 

Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the 2021 SRI participant experience.

Registration Fees

The registration fee is paid by successful applicants at the time of registration. The fee covers all program fees, room and board, as well as three vegetarian meals per day. Each participant is expected to cover his/her own travel expenses. The registration fee will also provide participants access to video recordings of all plenary and panel sessions from the event for 6 months after the event.

$795 for Established Participants

$575 for Emerging Participants

If you have any questions, please email programs@mindandlife.org.

Application Process

Applications will be open from Dec 5, 2022 to Jan 23, 2023. All application materials MUST be submitted by the deadline. Applications that remain incomplete or unsubmitted after the deadline will not be considered for acceptance to the program.

Applicants to the Summer Research Institute must apply to one of two categories of participants: 

Emerging:  Students (undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty (researchers across the sciences and humanities), early-career changemakers and professionals, and contemplative practitioners within five years of appointment or beginning work in the field.  

Please note: Emerging researchers who attend the SRI become eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Research Grants. Emerging changemaker participants will be eligible for our new Contemplative Changemaking Grants. Other participants may be eligible for other Mind & Life grants.

Established: Researchers (across the sciences and humanities), contemplative teachers, and changemakers (professionals, policymakers, leaders, activists), and those interested in this topic, who have held faculty appointments or positions for more than five years. 

We welcome candidates of all races, ethnicities, classes, genders, ages, religions and spiritualities, physical abilities, sexual orientations, geographic locations, disciplines, and institutions to apply.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Mind & Life online application portal. Applications will be open from Monday, December 5, 2022 and close on Monday, January 23, 2023. All materials MUST be submitted by the application deadline. Applications that remain incomplete or unsubmitted after the deadline will not be considered for acceptance to the program. Please click the button below to learn more and apply.

Venue: The Garrison Institute, New York

The 2023 Summer Research Institute will be held at the beautiful and serene Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York (located 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley). This 1923 four story building, which was originally a Capuchin monastery and seminary, was renovated in 2003 with the opening of the Garrison Institute. In addition to your lodging, Garrison provides three meals daily served in the dining hall. Garrison’s “famous kitchen” serves vegetarian meals, prepared with most of the ingredients from farms and producers in the Hudson Valley. If attendees would like to bring personal food items, there is access to refrigerated and dry storage in the central kitchen for any personal food items. In the kitchen and beyond, Garrison Institute maintains a commitment to sustainability.

As an historic property, accommodations at Garrison are modest (twin/single beds) with no air-conditioning. Attendees should expect shared rooming (up to four individuals per room). Note that each floor has communal binary bathrooms that include individual private shower stalls. Mind & Life supports an inclusive environment and encourages attendees to choose bathrooms that are comfortable for them based on how they identify.

Attendees with mobility concerns should be aware that the four story Garrison Institute building does not have elevator access to higher or lower levels, with only one ADA compliant sleeping room on the first floor. As such, all SRI program sessions will be held on the main level. Please contact Mind & Life if you require first floor accommodation as there is only one sleeping room on the first floor available which is ADA compliant.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your stay at the Garrison Institute, we welcome you to reach out to programs@mindandlife.org at any point during the application and registration process.

For more information about the Garrison Institute, including photos and travel tips, please visit their website.

COVID-19 Policy

As per the current requirements of the Garrison Institute, all guests, teachers, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 including at least one booster (additional boosters are optional). Please visit Garrison’s Safety Protocols page for updated and more information.