Think Tank Grant Recipients
Mind & Life Think Tanks are intimate, two- to three-day, self-organized gatherings designed to advance a particular project or problem within the contemplative sciences. Grants support the travel, accommodations and general organization of Think Tanks to convene small groups of collaborators including scientists, scholars, humanitarian leaders and changemakers, contemplative practitioners, educators and applied professionals to workshop a coherent topic with well-defined deliverables/outcomes and potentially high impact.
Congratulations to our 2019 recipients!
Wise Climate Actions & Sacred Activism
Organizers: Vivian Valentin (grantee), Radhule Weininger, Michael Kearney, John Foran, Kevin M Gallagher
Invited Participants: Leila Cavallho, Monique Myers, Stacy Pulice, Shawn VanValkenburgh, Kristen Goodrich, Joanna Macy, Catherine Gautier, Jose Caballero, Linda Buzzell-Saltzman, Martin Wagner, Yemaya Renuka Duby, Jessica Alvarez Parfrey, Ken Hiltner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Summer M. Gray, Sarah Ray, Maithilee Kanthi, Bill McKibben, Emiliano Campobello, David Pellow
Proposed Meeting Date: August 2020
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
How do we motivate people, especially young adults, to deal with climate-change issues when they are remote from its effects, leaving them unmoved, or conversely, when they are on the receiving end of a catastrophe, leaving them overwhelmed? The standard motivator for climate activism has been fear, but it cannot sustain our actions in the long-term. Furthermore, the scale and immediacy of the problem is so great that the fear generated can paralyze or isolate us. We see the need to ground climate adaptation, activism and education in contemplative practice. Mindfulness, compassion and nature-connection practices can awaken a sense of interconnectedness and belonging with nature. This in turn fosters creativity and sustainable motivation to act from love for the welfare of all beings. We will develop ways to support our youth and climate-change professionals, create community structures that integrate contemplative practices into climate action, and nurture Sacred Activism.
Decolonizing Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Spaces
Organizers: Priya Iyer (grantee), Irene Barraza, Antoinette Gonzalez, Sonia Montoya, Meha Davé
Invited Participants: Rolf Gates, Spring Washam, Susanna Barkataki, Angela Black, Robin Hall, Larry Yang, Bonnie Duran, Mushim Ikeda, Maya Breuer, Rina Deshpande, Satya de la Paz, Wendy Weber, Adreinne Marie Brown, Leslie Booker, Jonathan Relucio, Jessamyn Stanley, Rod Owens, Julio Rivera, Ravi Mishra, Angel Kyodo Williams
Proposed Meeting Date: September 2020
Location: Oakland, CA
The aim of this project is to compile and distill learnings from expert practitioners, academics, and policy makers who have spent years decolonizing the practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga to ensure the ancient roots of the practice are honored, and to ensure the practice is accessible to all communities of color including queer and trans people of color across the U.S. We will take the distilled indigenous knowledge, define what it means to decolonize these practices, create a set of guiding principles, design implementation techniques, and develop an online resource hub for yoga/meditation studio owners and teachers across the U.S.
Critical Neuroscience and the Politics of Mindfulness Interventions for Youth: A Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Working Group
Organizers: Suparna Choudhury (grantee), William Wannynn, Elena Hailwood, Steven Stanley, Jennifer Thompson
Invited Participants: Rhonda Magee, Elizabeth Gagen, David Forbes, Kristina Eichel, Ana Gomez-Carillo, Joshua Moses, Rachel Lilley, Funie Hsu, Paul Howard Jones, Barbara Ibinarriago Soltero, Anne Harrington, Willoughby Britton, Jamie Kucinskas
Proposed Meeting Dates: May 2020
Location: Garrison, NY
Adolescents bear the burden of complex global challenges head, yet as recent events have shown, they are also drivers of change. Youth mindfulness programmes (YMPs), now increasingly prevalent in educational and juvenile justice settings, are thought to promote resilience and emotional skills, drawing on neuroscience to inform interventions. Moreover, neurobiological ideas are frequently incorporated into curriculums and subsequently inform students’ developing concepts of selfhood. Despite the cultural implications, the research landscape is currently dominated by neurological and psychological approaches. However, neuroscience is an interpretive discipline embedded with cultural values, that warrants reflection. Drawing on critical neuroscience, we will bring together scholars from social science, education and neuroscience to examine how neuroscientific ideas are conveyed within YMPs and analyse their social implications. We will contribute: 1) preliminary qualitative analysis of program materials; 2) a socially and ethically oriented guidance briefing for interventions; 3) supplementary educational materials, and directives for future research.