Return to the e-newsletter archive

 


In this issue:

News From the Center:

Stanford Business School event
On May 7th, 2003, The Center collaborated with Spirit Rock Retreat Center in a program at Stanford Business School for students and professors. Speakers were Bob Shapiro, former Chairperson of Pharmacia; Rachel Remen, Co-Founder and Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program; Charlie Halpern, Chairperson of the Center and former President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation; and Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock, who facilitated the day and led meditation practice.

"Let me say that the most powerful tool I've seen that offers any promise at all of dealing with questions of fear, trust, and control in business in a healthy, constructive way is simply awareness."
- Bob Shapiro


The Center Remembers Hiroshima/Nagasaki

On August 8, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, together with other local organizations including the Western Massachusetts American Friends Service Committee and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's Pioneer Valley Chapter, commemorated the 58th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. We created a contemplative outdoor space in downtown Northampton for passersby to meditate and join in reflection on the consequences of the atomic bomb, and to recommit ourselves to work for peace. The day ended with the floating of peace lanterns at nightfall (a Japanese tradition to honor ancestors) at a pond on the Smith College campus.


Nurturing the Spirit of Youth
The Center's Youth Program Coordinator, Dan Edwards, joined Marianne Williamson, Michael Meade, and others at "Nurturing the Spirit in Youth", a conference at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA, on September 26th - 28th. Parents, educators, social workers, guidance counselors, therapists, religious leaders, and youth leaders discussed ways to help connect young people to spiritual sources for guidance through the challenges they face.

Visit our website to learn more about the Center's Youth Program.


Entering Wild Mind performanceintro to 'Entering Wild Mind'
On September 30th, The Center brought Entering Wild Mind, a contemplative video performance piece, to Northampton. Dan Kowalski explored "the essence of place" in his video work of Alaska while Kurt Hoelting, Executive Director of Inside Passages, added poetry and interpretive commentary, also rooted in his years of living and working in southeast Alaska. Entering Wild Mind combined the immediate presence of poetry and spoken word with the immersive presence of digital video compositions, experimenting with media as a tool of contemplative awareness.


Read All About It!

The Center made the news in several exciting ways during the past few months! Time Magazine, with a cover story on meditation in its August 4, 2003 issue, listed the Center as one of a number of resources for people wanting to learn more about contemplative practices. Our Executive Director, Mirabai Bush, worked with Time's reporters to build the article, a general interest report on meditation in secular settings.

The July issue of the Journal of Transformative Education (from Sage Publications) featured an article by the Center's research director Maia Duerr and co-authors Arthur Zajonc and Diane Dana titled "Survey of Transformative and Spiritual Dimensions of Higher Education." The article, based on a survey and interviews conducted by the Center with support from the Fetzer Institute, was hailed by JTE editor Laura Markos as "excellent work, very richly written, and a very valuable and timely contribution to the field...I think that its publication will move further in the direction of greater networking, dialogue, collaboration, and research expressed as desired by a majority of respondents."

And finally, Contemplative Fellow Ed Sarath published an article titled "Meditation in Higher Education: The Next Wave?" in the Summer 2003 Innovative Higher Education journal (vol. 27, no. 4). In the article, Ed, a professor of music, describes his efforts to create a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz and Contemplative Studies degree at the University of Michigan, as well as the benefits of bringing meditation into the pedagogy. The article considers issues such as the structure of the curriculum, the reconciliation of contemplative studies and conventional notions of academic rigor, the avoidance of possible conflicts between church and state, and other challenges encountered in gaining support for this plan.

You can learn more about the Contemplative Fellows at our Academic Program website.


top of page


Events and Announcements

Paul NelsonThe Center welcomes Paul Nelson, our new Director of Development!
For more than 25 years Paul Nelson has been helping socially-responsible organizations define their mission, articulate their story, and generate the revenue needed to help them prosper. He served as Director of Marketing for Charter Hospital of Corpus Christi (Texas), as Regional Marketing Director for Charter Medical Corp., and as Senior Marketing Consultant for a 12-hospital division of Psychiatric Institutes of America. Later, as Creative Director for Brickmill Studios, Paul helped to develop and launch direct mail campaigns raising millions of dollars in donations for some of America's most respected non-profit organizations, including Defenders of Wildlife, Girl Scouts USA, and the Boston Museum of Science. Paul's consulting assignments have included work with Interface, Antioch Graduate School, Serono Laboratories, and the American Cancer Society.

Paul also founded and served for seven years as Executive Director of Keepers of the Lore-the non-profit organization which sponsored the Joseph Campbell Festival of Myth, Folklore and Story and a continuing education series featuring such people as Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Matthew Fox, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and Thomas Moore.

Paul completed his B.A. at the University of Massachusetts and earned an M.Ed. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds diplomas from Montserrat College of Art and the U.S. Navy School of Photography. Paul has a long-standing interest in consciousness studies and transpersonal psychology. He has been practicing vispassana mediation since the late 70's and has personally studied with Trungpa Rinpoche, Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Robert Thurman, Dan Goleman and, most recently, Geshe Kelsang.

 

Contemplation And Community:
A Symposium On Changing Roles Of University Chaplains, Spiritual Advisors, And Deans Of Religious Life

Executive Director Mirabai Bush will facilitate an invitational contemplative retreat and meeting for college and university chaplains at the Garrison Institute this December.

In response to changing landscapes on U.S. college and university campuses, The Garrison Institute is organizing this conference to provide an unprecedented forum for chaplains, religious advisors, and others involved in campus spiritual life to discuss the growing involvement of students in social action and community service, and how this work can be enhanced by an increased interest in spirituality on U.S. campuses. The Symposium is being developed with guidance from leaders in the fields of faith-based community action and engaged spirituality such as Father Thomas Keating, Sharon Salzberg, and Rabbi Sheila Weinburg. The Reverend William Sloane Coffin, one of the most influential and visionary campus religious leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, is serving as the Symposium's Honorary Chair.

 

Take Back Your Time Day
The Center is supporting Take Back Your Time Day on October 24th. The purpose of "TBYT" Day is to bring attention to the need for a healthy balance between work time and personal/family time. Although useful and creative work is essential to happiness, for many Americans, life has gotten way out of balance. Producing and consuming more have become the single-minded obsession of the American economy, while other values -- strong families and communities, good health and a clean environment, active citizenship and social justice, time for nature and the soul -- are increasingly neglected.

"If we are too busy, if we are carried away every day by our projects, our uncertainty, our craving, how can we have the time to stop and look deeply into the situation-our own situation, the situation of our beloved one, the situation of our family and of our community, and the situation of our nation and of the other nations?"
- Thich Nhat Hanh

We encourage you to examine the way you spend your time. To get you started, you can learn more about Take Back Your Time Day at the website http://www.simpleliving.net/timeday/


Upcoming Symposium!
Contemplative Practices: A Source of Innovative Pedagogy
The Center has been supporting the formation of contemplative teaching methods since 1997, when the first of the 100 Contemplative Practice Fellowships were awarded. Over the years, professors have developed ways to integrate contemplative practices, from meditation to lectio divina (contemplative reading) into courses in disciplines from architecture to environmental sciences, from law school to business school. These scholars have studied the calming, quieting, awakening effects of practice not only on their students' lives but on their understanding of the subjects under study; for example, in art history, students learned to not just look at but "behold" an object, to experience its full presence.

Building on the success of the Regional Symposium on Contemplative Practice in Higher Education at Amherst College in May 2003, the Center will collaborate with the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation and the Peace Education Center at Columbia Teachers College to host a symposium on Contemplative Practice in Higher Education, with an emphasis on contemplative practice as a source of innovative pedagogy, in late spring or late summer, 2004.

This symposium is still in the planning stages, and further information will be posted on our Academic Program website as it becomes available.


Zen Hospice Project Executive Director Search

On behalf of the Zen Hospice Project, the first and largest Buddhist hospice program in America, we'd like to announce a unique employment opportunity. Zen Hospice Project, which provides a spectrum of collaborative volunteer services, residential care and public education programs, is searching for an Executive Director. Qualified candidates must have a minimum of five years of non-profit management experience and a broad background in hospice or health services, and fund development. Given the spiritual foundation of Zen Hospice Project, candidates with a well-established and committed Buddhist practice are preferred. For more information, please visit the ZHP website.

top of page



Featured Center Program:
The Law Program

The Law Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society explores ways of helping lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students reconnect with their deepest values and intentions through contemplative and spiritual practices. We offer retreats and events which provide a framework for considering ways in which contemplative awareness can enrich our professional and personal lives, and bring them more into balance.

Heidi Norton, a practicing Quaker and former disability and civil rights lawyer, serves as the Center's Law Program Director. Among the current projects is the new interactive map on the website (see next story), a cornerstone of the program's focus on providing information and helping people make connections across the diffuse but growing community of legal contemplatives nationwide.

To learn more about current Law Program activities, access information about news and events, or investigate online publications and other law and contemplation-related resources, visit www.contemplativemind.org/programs/law.

top of page

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
199 Main Street, Suite 3
Northampton, MA 01060
phone: (413) 582-0071
fax: (413) 582-1330
info@contemplativemind.org
www.contemplativemind.org

Autumn Greetings
from our Director...


Mirabai Bush

Dear Friends,

Since its foundation in 1997, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society has focused on encouraging and supporting contemplative practices, especially in secular settings. Our experience is that these practices have the potential to awaken the heart to love and open the door to the direct experience of interconnection and forgiveness.

Thousands of years of such experience by meditators are now being confirmed scientifically. At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Dr. Richard Davidson, has used brain imagery to show that meditation shifts activity in the prefrontal cortex from the right hemisphere to the left, from fight-or-flight to acceptance and contentment - elements of successful forgiving and loving relationships. The introduction of meditative practices therefore has the potential for and may be critical to the creation of a more loving, forgiving society.

read on...


CMind Quick Links:

The Law Program

The Youth Program

The Academic Program

 

Outside Links in this issue:

Western MA AFSC

Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Kripalu Center

Time Magazine's cover story on meditation

the Journal of Transformative Education

Innovative Higher Education journal

Fetzer Institute

Inside Passages

The Garrison Institute

Columbia Teachers College Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation

Columbia Teachers College Peace Education Center

Zen Hospice Project

Take Back Your Time Day

 

 

Mirabai's photo by Keith Jardine
autumn path image from a photo by Rene Theberge