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The MPower meetings are held in the cool inner recesses of the Old First Church in Springfield. It’s a huge, colonial style, white clapboard landmark. In the church’s library, there are cushions dotting the floor like brightly colored islands. Dan Edwards, the Center’s Youth Program director, tells the participants that silent practices may be helpful for the youth they work with, but in this first stage of the program, we will teach them mindfulness practices to “secure their own oxygen mask first.” The group raises a collective eyebrow. We proceed to introductions...
...Another participant works at one of the area’s only social justice organizations. She is trying to bail the organization out of its latest financial crisis. At the same time, she is looking for another position because she is weary of operating in “crisis mode” all the time...
Many of the participants have similar stories. I start to worry about whether we’ll be able to meet their needs. We lead a few basic mindfulness practices: sitting meditation, deep listening, and 45 minutes of yoga. We discuss the day a little bit, and then it’s over. I’m astonished to witness the difference in people. The participants report feeling more open, present, and relaxed...
Contemplative Practice Fellowship Applications
Visit http://www.acls.org/conprac.htm for more information about the application process for this year's academic fellowships.
The Contemplative Practice Fellowship program is sponsored by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, administered by the American Council of Learned Societies, and made possible by funding from the Fetzer Institute. These fellowships seek to restore and renew the contribution that contemplative practices can bring to a life of teaching and research. At the heart of this program is the belief that pedagogical and intellectual benefits may be discovered by bringing contemplative practice to academia.
Two kinds of fellowships will be offered this year: Contemplative Practice Fellowships are designed to advance scholarship in the field and to encourage innovative pedagogy and course design. Contemplative Program Development Fellowships are designed to support individuals in the academy who are creating either a concentration in contemplative studies at their university or a coordinated, though less formal, network of courses and faculty for the creation of an interdisciplinary community of contemplative practice and inquiry.
To learn more about the fellowships and application process, visit the ACLS at http://www.acls.org/conprac.htm. The application process is open until November 10th, 2004; decisions will be announced mid-April, 2005. Visit our Academic Program page to learn more about our work in higher education.
Arthur Zajonc to serve as Academic Director
July 10 - 11, 2004: Sitting for Peace, Standing for Justice: Buddhist Peace Fellowship New England Conference; Amherst College, Amherst, MA
July 22 - 25, 2004: Meditation for Psychotherapists, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, MA
August 20 - 22, 2004: Religion-Based Activism: Religious Wisdom & Social Change; Miriam's Well, Saugerties, NY
September 14 - 19, 2004: Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World: Meditation in Action; Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
October 9, 2004: Mindfulness for Physicians; Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
November 7, 2004: Mindfulness for Physicians; Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
November 17 - 21, 2004: Sprit Rock Lawyers' Retreat; Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
February 11-13, 2004: Contemplative Practices and Education: Making Peace in Ourselves and the World; Co-hosted by The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and Columbia Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Sitting for Peace, Standing for Justice:
For over 25 years, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship has integrated Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social action. This conference will bring together people of varied backgrounds for a weekend of dharma teachings, skills training, and community building. We hope that this event will lay the foundations of a regional movement for social change, in cooperation with the larger engaged Buddhist community.
For more information, please e-mail ne-bpf(at)bpf.org, phone (413) 563-5197, and visit www.bpf.org/ne-conference.html
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, MA
The value of meditation practice for counseling and mental health professionals is becoming ever more apparent. Meditation practice supports the cultivation of qualities of mind which are essential to all forms of therapy. This program is intended to provide an opportunity for learning—or deepening—meditation practice. An evening’s introduction is followed by a full day and night (36 hours) of silent practice—sitting and walking, along with an opportunity for personal interviews. Sunday is devoted to a series of small and large group discussions of various issues arising for mental health professionals at the frontier of the interface between meditation and psychotherapy. This program is intended for mental health professionals. Cost: $270. 3 CE credits are available.
Religion-Based Activism: Religious Wisdom & Social Change
This weekend will explore in depth how religion has--and can--get into the act of social change. Does religion help or hinder social justice work? What social goals does it propose and how can individuals work to achieve them? Can religion help to offset the the burnout that unremitting efforts to deal with the enormous problems that confront us tends to engender? For more information, visit http://www.miriamswell.org/events/current/temp_event_details.cfm?Event_ID=44.
Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World: Meditation in Action
What does sitting on a cushion have to do with responding to the suffering in the world? We live in difficult times. For many of us, meditation practice helps us to ground ourselves and find a place of refuge. Others feel drawn to make a difference in the world. How do we take steps towards compassionate action? What tools from our meditation practices will help us to act out of wisdom and non-attachment to address suffering and conflict on the planet? And for those of us who are already involved in service or social change, how can we be more equipped to serve from the heart?
This five-day retreat will interweave periods of silent meditation practice with talks, interactive exercises, discussion, group inquiry, and time in nature to deepen our understanding of the path and practices of engaged Buddhism. Suitable for spiritual practitioners seeking to get more engaged, activists seeking renewal, and anyone interested in the interplay between transforming self and transforming the world.
Cost $410-$310, sliding scale.
Mindfulness for Physicians
with Eugene Cash and Sakti Rose
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Community Hall
Saturday, October 9,
9:30 am - 5 pm
Sunday, November 7, 9:30 am - 5 pm
This daylong offers the opportunity to reconnect with yourselves, body heart and mind, as well as with a community of like minded physicians. We will practice mindfulness meditation, embodied movement and meaningful dialogue. Through awareness of direct experience we will explore the original motivation for entering the healing profession in an environment of support and renewal. Cost is $45. Bring your own lunch. For more information or to register, visit http://www.spiritrock.org/html/sched_november.html.
Spirit Rock Lawyers' Retreat
with James Baraz, Norman Fischer, Dennis Warren, & others
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Wednesday, Nov 17 - Sunday, Nov 21, 2004 (5 nights)
Full Description TBA. Cost TBA, sliding scale.
For more information, call 415-488-0164 x 406, email retreats(at)spiritrock.org after July 20th, or visit http://www.spiritrock.org/html/sched_november.html
Contemplative Practices and Education:
This Conference is sponsored by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society in partnership with the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation at Teachers College, Columbia University. This event is designed to bring together those working to advance the use of contemplative practice in colleges and universities for a weekend of exchanging ideas and experiences.
This conference will feature teaching fellows who have explored how contemplative practices can deepen student learning. During the past six years across the nation, a hundred fellows have been funded by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, in conjunction with the American Council for Learned Societies, in professional fields such as law, medicine, architecture, and social work as well as in the humanities and the sciences. A number of the fellows will make presentations about how contemplative practices can help students to cultivate a reflective approach to reading and writing, to increase their awareness of diverse spiritual traditions, and to sustain mindfulness as they interact with others in the classroom and in the larger world.
As a special feature of the conference, Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to Our Senses, will present research on ways contemplative practices can be used to develop resources for conflict resolution. Representing the Peace Education Center at Teachers College, Janet Gerson and Clifford Hill will examine how these resources can be used in humanely addressing issues of war, peace, and social justice.
We are still planning this event, and more information will be available soon. We hope you'll be able to attend.
Visit our Jobs page to learn more about these two full-time, benefitted employment opportunities.
Photo by Jennifer Akey