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Dear Friends,

As we trudge through sub-zero winds and revel in sparkling flurries of snow around us, we at the Center are more mindful this winter of our great fortune to live in a beautiful and safe place. Events throughout the world are a constant reminder of the force of nature, the impermanence of life, and the great need for committed work to help bring about a more just, compassionate, and reflective society. As we turn inward through practice, so are we compelled to reach out, in the myriad ways we know how.

At the time of "printing," Mirabai is on retreat, dropping in to much-needed silence to fuel her full and engaged work life. The rest of us continue to work on deepening our projects, reaching out to more people, and sharing contemplative practices with widening circles of friends; this newsletter reveals that others are busy incorporating contemplative practices into their everyday lives as well.

We hope this message and the New Year find you peaceful, hopeful, and engaged.

In Peace,

The Staff at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

The Center is in the midst of its fall/winter fundraising drive! We have recently printed a beautiful booklet bringing you through the Center's work, goals, and accomplishments. If you would like a copy of this mailer to learn more about us, please contact John Berry. If you would like to give a contribution to the Center, you can use the included envelope, or simply follow the link above.
Upcoming Center Events

Contemplative Practices and Education:
Making Peace in Ourselves and the World

A Conference at Teachers College, Columbia University
February 11-13, 2005

This conference will explore the special role that contemplative practices can play in cultivating peace within ourselves and in the world. Perhaps at no time in recent history has this theme been more relevant as we address the challenges of war, peace, and social justice in a global age. As educators, we have the opportunity to integrate contemplative practices into the classroom and explore how they can help students develop greater mindfulness in dealing with these challenges.

We hope that you will join us to hear leaders such as Jon Kabat-Zinn talk about the transforming powers of contemplative practices in education.

This conference is co-sponsored by

For more information and a registration form, visit our conference website

New Social Justice Program kick-off event

With the addition of the Center's new Social Justice Program Director, Rose Sackey-Milligan, we are proud to announce our new Social Justice Program to Hampshire and Hampden Counties, MA.

All are invited to share, connect and learn about this new program!

Please RSVP by Feb. 1st to Rose via phone or email.

Where: Talking Drum Cafe
413 Main St.
Holyoke, MA 01040

When: February 10th, 2005 (snow date February 17, 2005)
5:30pm - 8:30pm
A light dinner will be served.

The Center seeks to support continued development of contemplative practice within the social justice movement to sustain organizers and activists. This kick-off event will publicly announce SJP and its programmatic focus at a gathering on Thursday, February 10th. The SJP hopes to draw interest and participation from activists, organizers, community leaders, and funders. A light dinner will be served.

What we do

SJP provides social justice activists, organizers, and organizations interested in exploring contemplative practices with instruction, resources, materials, information, and support. SJP offers individuals and organizations the nuts and bolts of “how to” cultivate imagination, a calmer disposition, intuition, creativity, values, ethics, compassion, and positive well-being.

Rationale for SJP

Social justice activists and organizers all around the country are recognizing that they are operating in organizing cultures that neither support nor respect the integration of the spiritual and political self. This culture has negatively impacted many individuals and organizations and it has limited the effectiveness of the overall movement. Furthermore, the cost to the social justice movement has been immeasurable, the manifestations of which are becoming increasingly visible: organizers are burning out at high rates and leaving the movement in search of healthier ways of living. We believe that contemplative pratices can help reshape social action, address the root causes of burnout, and contribute to the integration of the ethical and the political, the spiritual and the practical.

Come and Join us!
For more information contact
Rose Sackey-Milligan
413-582-0071, ext 14

The Practice of Engaged Meditation: Waking Up In The World

Presented by: Mirabai Bush, Charlie Halpern, Susan Halpern, Noah Levine, Gina Salá, Tami Simon
Hollyhock, Cortes Island, BC, Canada
July 13-17, 2005
Tuition: $495 CDN, $413 US (meals & accommodation extra), 4 nights

Co-presented with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society & Sounds True. Co-sponsored by Shambhala Sun, Spirituality & Health, and The Hollyhock Leadership Institute.

Contemplative practice has traditionally inspired, guided and sustained people—ordinary and extraordinary—in responding to what calls them to action. Each of us has something valuable to contribute in coming together with others compelled to make a difference. Hear stories about how people are engaging with the critical demands of the world, including yours. Find the time and place to work with resistance and adversity. The schedule is simple and spacious with keynote presentations & Dharma talks, meditation instruction, and interactive dialogues and experiences. Guided practices include mindfulness meditation, chanting, Qi Gong, Metta / Loving-kindness meditation, and body focused practice.

For people involved in demanding work or volunteer service seeking understanding and the means to sustain themselves and their causes over the long term—and for people with a meditation practice or spiritual path who want to extend their practice beyond the cushion into their worldly affairs.

Everyone is welcome, those new to meditation and seasoned practitioners; each person receives a CCMS toolkit of “best practices” to take home.

Cmind in the News

Love that Does Justice Conference

The following is an excerpt from the article, Activist: Love conquers, justice prevails, by Thomas Jay Oord, which appeared in the December 2004 edition of Science & Theology News. Our Executive Director, Mirabai Bush, participted in the conference and was asked to give her thoughts on the topic of justice and spiritulaity. Click here to view the entire article.

Conference participants said they agreed that love often includes justice. “Justice requires love because love promotes the common good,” said Don Browning, a professor of religious ethics and social sciences at the University of Chicago. ...

Participants noted that spirituality plays a key role in inspiring and sustaining social activism, and Mirabai Bush, executive director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, said social justice and contemplative practices are inseparably linked. Contemplative and spiritual practices prevent burnout, promote compassion and motivate social activism, she said.

Love that does justice requires community, stressed Bush. “Community in spiritual life and social justice is extremely important,” she said. After all, she added, “we are all connected to each other.”

“Do Yoga, Do Good”

Mirabai was also quoted in Yoga Journal’s November/December 2004 article on karma yoga.The article explored the Hindu practice of service to others as a path to self-realization.In keeping with the Center’s mission, Mirabai commented on the need to bring balance and equanimity to every situation … [by] combining karma yoga with contemplative practices …. When you do this, she says, ‘you begin to see that not acting is a very important complement to acting, and that being still shows us the right way to act when the time is right to act.’

The article is not online, but may become available at in the next few months.For back issues of the print magazine or to subscribe, visit Yoga Journal at the above link.

News from our Academic Fellows - Congratulations!

Ed Sarath, Professor of Music and 1997 recipient of our Academic Fellowship Grant, has announced that the University of Michigan has approved funding for a Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies. Sarath proposed and will direct the program.This cross-disciplinary initiative, in its first three-year funding period, will develop coursework, host a guest speaker series, and hold a faculty study group, oriented toward the exploration of the inner workings of the creative process and its transpersonal dimensions.

The PCCS is the most recent outgrowth of activity that can be traced to the approval of the BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum in 2000, and the subsequent formation of a Faculty Network for Creativity and Consciousness Studies and related collaborations that have brought together colleagues from Music, Psychology, Art, Business, Medicine, Athletics and other fields. The PCCS will also sustain alliances with parallel initiatives on other university campuses, such as Brown University's Contemplative Studies program, and professional organizations such as the Scientific and Medical Network, the Institute of the Noetic Sciences founded by Edgar Mitchell, the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society, and the philosopher Ken Wilber's Integral Institute.

Joanna E. Ziegler (Professor of Art History and 1998 Fellowship recipient) and Christopher A Dustin, announced the upcoming publication of their book Practicing Mortality: Art, Philosophy, and Contemplative Seeing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005; in press).The following is advance praise written by Therese Schroeder-Sheker:

“This groundbreaking book takes us to the place where art and philosophy meet, and explores how they can shape our lives. Drawing on artistic and philosophical sources, both ancient and modern, Joanna Ziegler and Christopher Dustin describe contemplative seeing as an activity that can and must be practiced everyday - one that is not detached but participatory and experientially engaged with works of art and nature.

Practicing Mortality develops the idea that art, or human making, yields an awareness of that which we ourselves do not make. To practice mortality, the authors argue, is to practice living as a craft.”

Events in Review

A Meeting of the Contemplative Practice Fellows in Higher Education

November 13, 2004

by Noel Raley

On November 13th, Contemplative Practice Fellows in the Northeast met for a day long conference at Smith College. There were fourteen of us at the meeting from ten institutions including the Center. We spent the day in discussion about the courses developed and the ideas and connections created through the Fellowship Program; we also spent time in silent reflection and in a movement meditation.

The courses developed through the Fellowship Program are varied, but all offer great depth and give us a way to imagine the expansion of contemplative practice in the Academy in creative and inspiring ways. We learned that the Fellowship is inspiring incredible growth – in enrollment, number of courses, and networks of academics and professionals. There have been over 100 Fellows, thousands of students taught in their classes, and an abundance of cross-fertilization of ideas and practices. Participants spoke of using techniques such as journal writing, quiet reflective time, and deep listening, even in courses not specifically focused on the contemplative.

Further themes from the day included contemplative ways of knowing and new epistemologies; issues about methods, pedagogy and skills-building in the classroom; the concept of space and how it affects these courses; understanding our different roles (as professors, lawyers, department chairs, human beings) through contemplative practice; and how we can and do engage with the outside world.

The Fellowships have had positive consequences that were unforeseen by both the Fellows and the Center, primarily in the form of sparking creativity and expansion of the courses, establishing networks, and generating colleagueship among the Fellows. All in attendance agreed that the meeting was a worthy and inspiring experience. Our full report of the day’s discussions are available on our Academic page.

To view the entire report, click here

Lawyer's Retreat

Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
November 18-21, 2004

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society recently co-hosted a Lawyers' Retreat at the Spirit Rock. The retreat was led by Norman Fischer, Mary Mocine, and James Baraz, and brought together approximately 75 lawyers, law students, law professors, and mediators, representing all varieties of law practice.

The retreatants came together to explore contemplative practices, including sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga, and qigong, and to have conversations about the intersection of meditation and legal practice.  Specifically, discussions centered on how a contemplative perspective can help with both the practical tensions of law practice and the deeper ethical dilemmas of lawyers’ work. 

The retreat was rejuvenating and rewarding, and we hope to be able to continue the conversations begun at Spirit Rock in the future.

Other related upcoming events

Mindfulness and Social Change: Walking the Path of Compassion and Service With Christopher Queen

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, MA
Jan 28-30, 2005

cost: $180

As our world becomes more complex and troubling, we yearn for the healing of all beings. We seek ways to relate our practice of mindfulness and our understanding of the Dhamma to the crises we face: war, prejudice, poverty, and environmental collapse. During the weekend we will practice the art of seeing and hearing the cries of the world—as did the Bodhisattvas of old—and explore paths of service and engagement—“skillful means” of enlightened citizenship today. We will read accounts of mindful engagement, share ideas around the seminar table, sit and walk in meditation, and view and hear interviews of contemporary bodhisattvas.

Visit for more information and registration.

A Day of Renewal for Caregivers

Phillip Moffitt, Nina Wise
6 CEUs available
Saturday, February 26 - 9:30am - 5pm
Spirit Rock Community Hall, Woodacre, CA

Welcome to the 3rd annual day of recognition and rejuvenation for those who are care providers either by profession or by service. Caretakers come in many forms: doctors, nurses, therapists, masseurs, family members caring for someone who is ill, and the list goes on. We will engage in meditation and reflection practices as a source of renewal, equanimity and clarity.

This day will include meditation instruction, inspirational stories, gentle stretching and time for sharing. Give yourself this day!

No Fee, offered on a donation basis. Please bring a lunch. $25 for CEUs.

Please pre-register by sending an email to or calling (415) 488-0164 x 234. Pre-registration for CEUs is greatly appreciated.

Visit for more information.

Mindfulness Meditation and Its Clinical Applications

with Paul Fulton, Trudy Goodman, et. al.
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, MA
March 6-11, 2005
cost: $895

Mindfulness is a simple formula—awareness of present experience with acceptance—that has been used for over 2500 years to alleviate suffering. It is based on the ancient discovery that our attempts to avoid pain and to cling to pleasure cause our miseries to multiply. In contrast, openly embracing life as it is presented, with all its difficulties, leads to happiness and a greater sense of connection to others. Each element of mindfulness—precise awareness, present-centeredness, and radical acceptance of the moment of experience—can give the clinician additional traction in psychotherapy. Together they may provide a powerful recipe for therapeutic change. Mindfulness draws on our inherent and natural ability to observe and know our own minds. It is a positive psychology in which acceptance precedes change.

This course, the first of its kind, will offer an intensive introduction to the application of mindfulness practice and theory to the practicing psychotherapist or mental health professional in a residential environment.

The faculty consists of members of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (IMP) , a group of mental health professionals who have also been practicing meditation for decades. The program includes silent meditation practice throughout each morning, and discursive presentations and discussions throughout each afternoon and evening.

Paul Fulton will organize and sustain the professional and educational components of the program, while Trudy Goodman will hold and guide the contemplative aspects. In addition, numerous visiting faculty from the IMP will make presentations and contribute their particular experience and expertise to the program. Contributing faculty include Chris Germer, Sara Lazar, Stephanie Morgan, Andrew Olendzki, Ron Siegel, Janet Surrey, and Charles Styron.

This program is intended for mental health professionals, and requires an application process. Applications must be filled out by February 15. The course is limited to 20 people, who will be confirmed on a first-approved, first-serve basis. 24 CEUs will be granted to participants. Teacher remuneration is included in the course fees.


The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

199 Main Street, Suite 3
Northampton, MA 01060 USA
phone: (413) 582-0071
fax: (413) 582-1330
general email:

Questions, concerns? This e-newsletter was made & sent by John Berry