‘The Histories of Varela’s Legacy within the Contemplative Sciences’ is a mixed methods historical research project. Through the decades of development of mindfulness and contemplative studies, historians have begun to recount the emergence and evolution of the theory and methods involved in such endeavours. Francisco Varela’s career, and his influence on the direction of the fields to which he contributed, is a significant part of that broader history and deserves our closer attention. This project aims to tell the story of Varela’s impact on his intellectual communities by conducting interviews with his collaborators, colleagues, and researchers continuing to work in the areas of his expertise. Supplemented with the use of archival materials and other texts, historical analyses of these interviews will advance the contextualization of the Mind & Life Institute’s intergenerational research network. The collection of these narratives and the writing of this history will provide nuanced conceptual resources for scientists, psychologists, historians, and the interested public to create new understanding of what it means to study ourselves as humans and contribute to the greater utilization of that knowledge.

Shayna Fox Lee, MA

York University (Canada)



Mind & Life Connections


Mind & Life Videos

Francisco J. Varela Research Awards

Mind and Life Institute • September 15, 2015

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom | Mindfulness