Nancy Waring, MA, Ph.D.
Lesley University Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
Cornell University, MA, Ph.D., English Literature
Tufts University, BA magna cum laude, English
At the 2003 Mind and Life Dialogue at MIT on cognitive science contemplative wisdom, I had a press pass and an intention to write a magazine piece about the exchanges between the Dalai Lama, meditation adepts, and brain scientists.
At the time I was a professor in the Independent Study Master’s Degree Program at Lesley University, having returned to academia after years as a journalist focusing on allopathic and integrative medicine, social justice, the prison system, and incarcerated women.
As a Vipassana practitioner since 1990 and a student of Buddhism interested in contemplative neuroscience, it occurred to me during the symposium that I could draw on the exchanges to develop a new graduate course at Lesley. At the time, I was completing training as an instructor of Mindfulness based Stress Reduction at UMass Medical Center. The course, Mindfulness: Theory, Practice, and Science became popular. A second course–Mindful Communications: Insight Dialogue, based on my training in Insight Dialogue along with resonant theories of dialogue developed by David Bohm and Paulo Freire, and Buddha’s teachings on right speech—also piqued students’ interest. Instead of writing a magazine piece, I developed a five-course certificate in Mindfulness Studies, followed in 2014 by a full Master’s Program, including a thesis and a silent retreat. The program is the only one of its kind in the country. In June 2022, I became professor emerita, and Andrew Olendzki succeeded me as program director.
My primary current project is a book on the applications of Buddhist teachings and mindfulness/meditation in the setting of medical trauma.