Join us for Mind & Life Connect, our new series of inspirational online conversations aimed at exploring key themes in contemplative science and their relation to everyday life. Through the series, we seek to build community among dedicated researchers, young scholars and activists, contemplative teachers, and others eager to connect and share ideas bridging science, contemplative wisdom, and action to foster personal, societal, and planetary healing. The program is designed to be participatory, inspiring, and engaging!

Each live 75-minute session will begin with a short (20-30 minute) presentation by a guest presenter, along with a Q&A, guided contemplative practice, and interactive breakout groups. Featured speakers include noted researchers, contemplatives, and changemakers, who will explore topics related to the body,  stress, trauma, compassion, technology, the human-earth connection, and more.

Sessions will be co-facilitated by Shankari Goldstein and nischal neupane, both Mind & Life program managers. Shankari is also an avid social activist, yoga instructor, and regenerative farmer.  nischal holds a Masters in Environmental Conservation and exercises care on climate justice.

Upcoming Sessions

Session 4
August (date and time TBA)

Healthcare Workers & Burnout: How Emotion Tracking Can Help
Eve Ekman

How could better understanding the emotional experiences of healthcare professionals inform efforts to reduce burnout? And what role can technology play in tracking human emotions? Learn more in a Mind & Life Connect session with writer, teacher and contemplative social scientist Eve Ekman. Eve is an experienced researcher and group facilitator, whose work focuses on the science of happiness, resilience, compassion, mindfulness, and emotional awareness.

In 2022, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the nation’s health worker burnout crisis, with more than 50% of public health workers reporting symptoms of at least one mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, and increased levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. Eve will share her experiences using a smartphone application to examine the daily emotions of healthcare professionals–from joy to fear to anger. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about how understanding and tracking emotions can lead to better interventions to reduce burnout and improve well-being among healthcare professionals. The session is open to everyone interested in the science of emotional awareness and well-being.

Eve Ekman
Dr. Eve Ekman is a Wellbeing Lead in the Health team at Apple, a fellow of Mind and Life, Senior Fellow for the Greater Good Science Center, and a contemplative curriculum specialist at the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Her work draws from her extensive experience in clinical social work, integrative medicine, emotional awareness, contemplative science, and meditation. Her research focuses on helping professional care providers prevent burnout by providing them with easier access to practices of attention, insight, and resilience. She has developed trainings to address burnout in national and international organizations and has delivered keynotes and workshops for companies such as Airbnb, Salesforce, and Kaiser Permanente. Additionally, she has collaborated with her father, renowned emotion researcher Dr. Paul Ekman, on projects such as The Atlas of Emotions. Eve’s writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, and books, and she is an avid practitioner of meditation, yoga, and cold water surfing.

Previous Sessions

Session 1
March 30th, 2023

Cultivating Trust in the Body
Juan Santoyo

In our inaugural session, contemplative researcher and social activist Juan Santoyo  will explore topics such as the impact of ancestral intuition on relationships and the planet, releasing stress and trauma from the body, the balance between radical self-care and human connections, and how we can adopt new systems for a sustainable future.

Juan Santoyo 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Juan, a neuroscience and early-career contemplative researcher from Colombia, focuses on the neurophysiological dynamics of meditation training and sensory perception in humans and mice. He co-founded The Black Lotus Collective, an organization aiming to integrate contemplative practices with social justice work, and is currently working on a meditation-based program to help ex-combatants reintegrate into society as part of Colombia’s peace building process. Juan is pursuing his PhD at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences to further explore the connections between healing, resistance, and biology to help individuals and communities achieve wellbeing. Juan is also a Mind and Life Institute fellow.


Session 2
April 27 at 2:00-3:15 pm ET

Our Emotional Lives: Exploring the Complex Relationship between Stress, Trauma, and the Body 
Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler

Join us as we delve into the complex relationship between stress, trauma, and the body with licensed clinical psychologist and scholar Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler.

Inger Burnett-Zeigler
Northwestern University, Associate Professor
Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and a licensed clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience. She specializes in helping people manage stress, trauma, mood and anxiety conditions, and interpersonal relationship issues, promoting holistic wellness through mindfulness and self-compassion. Inger’s research focuses on social determinants of mental health and treatment, particularly in the Black community, and she has authored the book “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women.” She is an advocate for normalizing mental health treatment and has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and TIME Magazine. Inger holds a psychology degree from Cornell University, a doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Ann Arbor/University of Michigan.


Session 3
May 25 at 2:00-3:15 pm ET

Trauma and Resilience
Dominique Malebranche

In this session, we will explore the impact of trauma on individuals and how those with a history of trauma can build resilience. Our talk will focus on the role of culture in trauma and healing, as well as the influence of the media, our ancestors, and intergenerational trauma on our collective stories.

We will delve into the different ways that movement and contemplative practices can support the healing process, and how to differentiate trauma responses from our true selves. We will also explore the importance of becoming more culturally aware and competent in our healing practices.

Dominique  will provide insights and share her expertise on integrative mind-body clinical research, interpersonal violence prevention, and mind-body interventions for individuals with complex psychological trauma exposure.

Dominique Malebranche, PhD, RYT
Pepperdine University 
Dominique A. Malebranche is an assistant professor, licensed psychologist, and embodiment practitioner and facilitator. She serves as a MLI Changemaker Fellow, Teaching Affiliate of Harvard Medical School at the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, and former postdoctoral fellow at the internationally-known Trauma Center at JRI. Her work swims within the intersections of psycho-spiritual impact of cultural stress and trauma, embodied healing and liberation, resilience capacity building, and body-mind interventions. Malebranche centers the awareness of the body as a cultural source of healing, wisdom and transformation, demonstrated through co-organizing, training and consultation, creative scholarship and personal contemplative practice. She is inspired by somatic freediving and reclaiming ancestral and liberatory relationships with land and water.