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News & Announcements

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Recent Activities

Letter from Mirabai

Mirabai BushThe NYTimes says that people everywhere are making Life Lists, a contract with oneself to do certain things with this one precious life before it is over: learn Spanish, live with gorillas in Uganda, get a tattoo. I tried to imagine a contemplative life list: start a journey of a thousand miles with a single step, see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, have no opinions, love all beings everywhere. Pretty hard to cross these off when completed, which is one of the things you are supposed to do. But it did make me think about what I really want to do before the end, and I kept returning to the idea of legacy, passing it on. I know it is the responsibility of the great teachers, the lineage holders, but it seems to me also a task for every one of us.

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Upcoming Events

Raúl Quiñones-Rosado

Toward an Integral Approach to Liberation & Transformation
a workshop with
Raúl Quiñones-Rosado, PhD
October 20, 2007
Hampshire College,
Amherst, MA

Register for this event

Retreat for Academics
November 1-4, 2007
Trinity Conference Center
West Cornwall, CT

This retreat has been filled!

Awakening the Heart and Inner Wisdom: A Winter Gathering for Emerging Leaders
with Nghia Trung Tran
January 16-18, 2008
Nine Mountain, Plainfield, MA

For those who work in the realm of community transformation, this winter retreat offers the opportunity to draw one’s energies inward in preparation for the new season.

Register for this event

Meditation Retreat
for Law Professionals
April 2-6, 2008
The Angela Center
Santa Rosa, CA
co-sponsored by Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Mark your calendars; registration opens in January 2008.

Watch our site for an announcement of an East Coast Law Retreat in 2008!


A Gathering of Activists and Organizers of Color
April 29 - May 2, 2008
Menla Mountain Center Phoenicia, NY

An intergenerational gathering of activists and organizers of color to explore the connection between spiritual practice and social action.

Mark your calendars; registration opens in early 2008.

The Activist's Ally: Contemplative Tools for Social Change

The Activist's Ally is a resource manual for social justice activists seeking to bring contemplative practice into their lives, communities and workplaces. This is a valuable resource for personal transformation, providing tools and techniques for both individual and group practice. The Ally includes a 13-track companion CD of music and practice instructions.

The Activist's AllyColor; 120 pages with audio CD
$20.00 plus $5.00 shipping
Visit for ordering information

Need a research report on the uses of contemplative practices in secular workplaces? We've got you covered.

CDOur new store is an easy way to browse the Center's publications and recommended books. Half of the store is powered by Paypal and allows you to purchase copies of our 2004 CD (shown at left), A Powerful Silence, The Activist's Ally, and more. The other half of our store, which lists our recommended books, is linked to

Stories of Contemplative Practice and Social Justice

SJP videoThis video, created by Dan Edwards, the Center's former Youth Program Director, features interviews with some of the Social Justice Program's Mentors. At our mentoring retreats, these experienced teachers help activists bring a contemplative perspective to their social justice work.

Contemplative Practice Fellowships Awarded

View the list of recipients and their winning project proposals.
The fellowships support individual or collaborative research leading to the development of courses and teaching materials that integrate contemplative practices.

Professors: Apply for a Contemplative Practice Fellowship

Deadline: November 15, 2007
Amount: up to $10,000
Tenure: Summer 2008 or one semester of the 2008-2009 academic year

This program is sponsored by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and made possible by funding from the Fetzer Institute. These fellowships seek to restore and renew the critical contribution that contemplative practices can make to the life of teaching and scholarship. The selection committee especially welcomes proposals in which course content and contemplative practices are related to the consideration of social conflict and injustice, the amelioration of suffering, and the promotion of peace.

Regular full-time faculty members at accredited academic institutions in the United States and Canada are eligible to apply for these fellowships. There are no citizenship restrictions.

To apply, visit

Recent Activities

Awake to This Moment:
A Zen Retreat for Activists and Organizers

July 28-29, 2007
Smith College, Northampton, MA

Fifty-five social justice activists, organizers, and social work students  attended this two-day retreat, taught by Rev. Hilda Ryūmon Gutiérrez Baldoquín, a Zen Buddhist priest in the Soto lineage. Ryumon challenged activists and organizers to see themselves as social healers, to "become one with 'the other'": "When you are able to relate to what is in front of you, you are able to cultivate a loving source of healing."

Some came from as far as New Orleans for a weekend of stillness, spaciousness and community. The two days included sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement and wisdom circles. Noble silence was observed at mealtimes. This weekend retreat was sponsored by the Center's Social Justice Program and Smith School for Social Work. Next year's retreat is scheduled for June 13-14.

3rd Annual Summer Session
for Contemplative Curriculum Development

August 12-17, 2007
Smith College

The third annual residential session on Contemplative Curriculum Development was held August 12th – 17th at Smith College in Northampton. 35 professors, representing a broad range of disciplines and universities from across the United States, Canada, and England, were in attendance. A full report of this session will be available later this year.

The week was a wonderful balance of contemplative practices, lectures, and conversation. As one participant commented,

“This session exceeded my expectations: theoretically, practically, and in terms of collegiality. The caliber of the presentations was phenomenal. Everyone was knowledgeable, skillful, grounded, and engaging. I gained such deep insight into the purpose and nature of contemplative education and encountered provocative challenges – both intellectual and spiritual – to wrestle with.  Thank you and congratulations. You’ve crafted an experience that so clearly and effectively reflects contemplative educational approaches.”

There were sessions on pedagogical issues, including the relationship between course content and contemplative practice, and a summary of the scientific research of meditation and qualitative research studies. Also during the week, participants considered practical issues such as evaluation, grading, and instructional techniques; how to communicate course intent with colleagues and college administrators; and how contemplative practices in the curriculum are affecting teaching and learning nationwide.  Each day included substantial contemplative practice sessions, including a variety of meditations, yoga, and contemplative dance, as well as instructional sessions to teach practices adapted for secular classroom settings.   


Arthur Zajonc (Academic Program Director, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society; Professor of Physics, Amherst College) gave two lectures during the week, “Contemplative Pedagogy: Principles and Design”  and “The Science of Meditation: a brief synopsis.”

Sr. Linda-Susan Beard, Professor of English, Bryn Mawr College, presented a lecture “Teaching and the Cloud of Unknowing.”

Daniel Holland, Professor of Psychology, the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, spoke about “Contemplative Practices in Unexpected Places.”

Harold Roth (Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University) reported on the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University and the new scholarly Concentration in Contemplative Studies at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. 

Joanna Ziegler, Professor of Visual Arts at College of the Holy Cross, spoke about and led the group in the practice of contemplative seeing.  She is the author of Practicing Mortality: Art, Philosophy, and Contemplative Seeing.

Alton Wasson and Daphne Lowell, Co-Directors of Contemplative Dance led afternoon “Authentic Movement” sessions.

Contemplative Practice and the Practice of Law

Making Waves and Riding the CurrentsCharles Halpern is the Chair of our Board of Directors, Scholar in Residence at Boalt Hall School of Law, founding dean of CUNY Law School, and the author of the soon-to-be-released book Making Waves and Riding the Currents: Activism and the Practice of Wisdom.

Recently, Charlie has been delivering a number of addresses and workshops at conferences and law schools. On September 29th, he presented "Contemplative Practice in the Law School Curriculum and Meditation and the Law: Practical Skills for Judges and Lawyers" to the California Bench Bar Biannual Conference. Upcoming venues include the Hawaii State Bar Association, The William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii, and the USF School of Law.

For more information on Charlie's book tour:  

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
199 Main Street, Suite 3
Northampton, MA 01060 USA
phone: (413) 582-0071
fax: (413) 582-1330