The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Higher Education e-Newsletter
Issue 1, February 2007

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

Uncovering the Heart of Education

Contemplative Practice Fellowships
2007-2008 competition opens summer 2007

Dear Friends,

Arthur ZajoncDuring the last ten years contemplative practice has made remarkable inroads into higher education. Increasingly our students’ capacities for sustained attention and emotional balance have been strengthened through contemplative exercises, and their critical faculties have been deepened and complemented by contemplative forms of inquiry. In addition, a community of academics has gradually developed that values such practices and who share their experience with contemplative pedagogy with one another. We at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society have been pleased to serve these important developments within the academy, and we hope that this newsletter will assist you further. Below you will find a wide range of information concerning conferences and retreats, books and resources. Let us know about news you think others might value.

In my own teaching I have increasingly sought to understand the remarkable resource that contemplative practice offers to me and to my students. When students are asked to enter silence, to center themselves and then to attend quietly to a particular content, their observations deepen and become more nuanced. They first remark on how seldom they experience silence and the calm that accompanies it. Some, unaccustomed to silence, are initially fearful but soon move past fear into the expansive presence that can accompany contemplative mind. However, I do not stop with silence, but move on to deepen meditative awareness and then turn that awareness to a content related to my class. It may be a line from a reading, an image or natural phenomenon. Students are already familiar with the content intellectually, but contemplative engagement opens new avenues of entry. They begin to see and hear with more of themselves, they learn to practice what Goethe once called a “delicate empiricism that makes itself utterly identical with the object, thereby becoming true theory.” I never tire of reminding students that the Greek root of theory is “to behold.” Contemplative beholding is a theoretical form of seeing in which “the facts themselves are the theory.” Such seeing requires a transformation of the student-beholder, but then “every object, well-contemplated, opens a new organ in us.”

I have become convinced that contemplative pedagogy is an essential part of transformative education, and that the deepest insights into art, nature, society and ethics flow from contemplative engagement. We at the Center look forward to our further work together both to refine our understanding of contemplative mind and to convey its usefulness to others.

Be well,
Arthur Zajonc
Professor of Physics, Amherst College
Director of the Academic Program,
the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Book Review

Operation Homecoming:
Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of US Troops and their Families

Operation HomecomingAndrew Carroll, editor
Random House, 2006

Reviewed by Mirabai Bush

Contemplatives have traditionally taken refuge from the world, living in caves or monasteries, but the 21st century contemplative scholar lives in the beating heart of the world. When University of Connecticut poet and professor Marilyn Nelson was offered a Contemplative Practice Fellowship and an invitation to teach at West Point during the same semester, she combined the two invitations and taught poetry and meditation to cadets who were later deployed to Iraq. They emailed back to her about how meditation and poetry were helping them through difficult times. Now she is part of group of distinguished writers who taught 50 writing workshops to encourage more than 6,000 returning troops and their families to write about what they saw, heard, and felt while in Afghanistan and Iraq as well at home. Their stories have been edited by Andrew Carroll into this collection.

How do you act in war, given permission to kill other humans? How do you resolve the mission of increasing peace with causing destruction? How do you balance personal fear and grief with the demands of leadership? Through straightforward personal accounts of being there, these soldiers engage the great questions by telling their stories, as they have been told since Thucydides described the human world and the Peloponnesian war as produced by men acting from ordinary motives, without the intervention of the gods.

I read the book over the holidays. I opened it to a story of Dash, a Special Forces gunner, in a laundromat, washing the clothes of three of his crew killed a few days before in a helicopter crash. “Don’t want to send them home dirty,” he says. “Carefully, he folds his three bags of clothing, mundane socks and undershirts, some gym shorts, uncommon only because they’re forced to bear the weight of wasted potential, of the price extracted for freedom to endure.”

I was hooked—I read that story to the end. Then I read another about an incident on the approach to Baghdad, taking me there through precise detail: “We move almost at a run, staying behind buildings and in vegetation as much as possible. This is easy because the whole area is overgrown. The chemical protective suits are really difficult to move in. It’s like wearing an extra-large set of pajamas over a three-piece suit and then trying to look smooth as you dance a tango.”

I read that whole story also, and then spent much of the next two days reading every story in the book. It was like meeting a very famous person and realizing that she is, in so many ways, just like the rest of us. I had read and listened relentlessly to media reports about the Afghan and Iraqi wars, but not until these stories had they become as intimate as the death of a friend.

This kind of vivid, mindful writing takes the reader into the moment, the place, and the precise emotion so we get to share what it is for another to be human. This book takes the rest of us into the reality of lives that are crucial for us to learn about as we try to deepen the contemplative capacities of wisdom and compassion in a time of war. These are stories we should not forget, because they are our story. Marilyn had the idea for this project at a gathering of state poet laureates (she is the laureate of Connecticut) in 2003, hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts. What a blessing! It is a great gift to the rest of us and a tribute to the power of speaking the immediate, honest, fierce, fighting and dying truth.

Marilyn NelsonMarilyn Nelson was raised on military bases, and as a poet developed a unique perspective on the U.S. Armed Services as the daughter of one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen. She is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and has taught most recently at the University of Delaware. In 2004 Marilyn opened her home as a writers' colony, Soul Mountain Retreat.

Read ‘The Fruit of Silence,’ a talk delivered by Marilyn at the 2005 conference “Contemplative Practices and Education: Making Peace in Ourselves and the World.” This presentation explores how she integrates contemplative practices into her creative writing courses; she also shares stories of her time teaching at West Point and her correspondence with her former students who are in military service in Iraq.
(photo by Fran Funk)

return to top

Meet Barbara Sellers-Young
2000 Contemplative Practice Fellow and Professor of Theatre and Dance, UC-Davis

Barbara Sellers-YoungBarbara Sellers-Young has a BS in Sociology, MS in Dance and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Oregon. She is the author of three books, with a fourth underway. Her current projects in the area of contemplative practice include presentations on Contemplative Practice and the Academy at the 2nd International Conference on Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts in Wales and the IFTR conference in South Africa. She was awarded a Contemplative Practice Fellowship in 2000 and is Professor of Theater and Dance at the University of California-Davis.

How is contemplative pedagogy reflected in your work and what do you hope to achieve by incorporating contemplative practices in the classroom?

I have taught courses that incorporate contemplative practice in the undergraduate and graduate performance program of the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Freshman Seminar Program, and for the staff of the Chancellor’s office.

The primary focus in the performance program is a deeper understanding of the performer’s somatic system as an extension of the earthly forces; the basic paradigm is that we, as individuals, are the result of earthly processes from those of evolution to our integration with environment. From a spiritual standpoint, my approach does not advocate any particular tradition, as I use ideas and physical techniques from yoga, t'ai chi, qi gong, zen, insight meditation, lectio divina, and others. These practices provide a 'way' to cultivate a deep appreciation and understanding of the individual for their unique body/mind.

continue reading this interview...

return to top

Classroom Practices in the Classroom: Theater and Dance

The following is excerpted from the report of the Center’s “Contemplative Practice in Arts Education” meeting, written by Piper Murray. For more on these practices and those presented from Contemplative Practice Fellows in other disciplines, read the full report.

Certainly it is true that any artist’s ability to work productively and creatively within her discipline depends on her ability to work with her most essential tools—the mind, body, and spirit. But if this is true of all the arts, then it is especially so in the embodied arts, where the artist’s presence is literally everything.

Historically, cross-culturally, dance has been nothing if not an expression of spirit—human, natural, divine. Indeed, it would be difficult to find a culture in which dance has not been a part of religion and ritual, or has not functioned as a means of connecting self and sacred, individual and community. And yet, this spiritual dimension of dance seems to find little place in academic dance programs. It was in an attempt to recover this lost dimension that Cheryl Banks-Smith (2000 Contemplative Practice Fellow) worked with two colleagues at Virginia State University to develop an interdisciplinary course called “The Path of Inner Experience.” Aimed at exploring “the esoteric and exoteric within some of the world’s wisdom traditions,” the course included a dance component which gave students the opportunity to experience the esoteric and exoteric on a somatic and spiritual level. For Banks-Smith, this experience begins with exercises designed to help students get to know their own bodies as sacred instruments of artistry.

Like Banks-Smith, Barbara Dilley (1997 Contemplative Practice Fellow) is similarly interested in this question of how body and mind work together as “not one but not two.” “Training to synchronize our thinking, feeling, and moving invites us into the deeper layers of heart-mind,” says Dilley. “It is from these layers filled with perceptions of the inner/outer experiences that our creative inspiration arises.”  Dilley describes how this wisdom is woven into the improvisational dance class she teaches at Naropa University, where students use the four postures of mindfulness—lying down, sitting, standing, walking—as a map for investigating “spontaneous dance gestures arising from impulses, imagination, and kinesthetic awareness – the complex embodied experience of ‘nowness.’”

Yin Mei (1999 Contemplative Practice Fellow) brings this discussion of body, mind, spirit, and expression full circle, with a practice she uses to introduce students to not just using body language but to embodying language. Yin Mei begins by asking students to “write” in “Chinese characters,” or what they imagine Chinese characters to look and feel like, in order to get a feeling for the sweep of the brush across the page. As they do so, Yin Mei guides their attention to the motion of the brush, to the line along the page, and finally to the ink itself, as it leaves the brush and soaks into the page. With this experience in both body and mind, students then perform a dance inspired by this activity, in which the dancer’s own body moves across the floor as a brush is moved—dragged, turned, lifted, pressed—across a page.

For Barbara Sellers-Young (2000 Contemplative Practice Fellow), authentic acting is embodied acting. How, after all, can one truly inhabit a character or make one’s presence felt on stage if one leaves one’s body behind? Yet, for most actors, maintaining a body-mind connection is one of the greatest challenges they face. To help actors meet this challenge, Sellers-Young has developed a method which she calls “somatic contemplation.” Essentially, somatic contemplation entails a series of exercises, referred to as Feel-Fuse-Act, aimed at “deepening and cultivating embodiment and integrating it with psycho-physical action through focus on body states.” As Sellers-Young describes it, the objective of this approach is to increase embodied performance through an experience of the relationship between breathing, exploration, and action or what wu chi master James Kapp refers to as conscious action. Specifically, the method unites breath, thought, and action through a conception of being that moves from ordinary experience to a refinement of consciousness that includes open awareness (inclusive and expansive), interest (wonderment), attention (committed contact), absorption (relevance and cognition), and understanding (integration and knowledge). The exercise takes place in three phases. In the first phase, actors develop a somatic memory of what feeling, fusing, and acting feel like. It begins with the breath.

 to read more, see pages 11-13 of the report

Do you have a classroom practice you’d like to share?
Email Carrie Bergman, Creative Director, at

return to top

Research Highlights

B. Alan Wallace and Shauna Shapiro (’05 Contemplative Practice Fellow, Santa Clara University), “Mental Balance and Well-Being: Building Bridges Between Buddhism and Western Psychology.” American Psychologist, October 2006, Vol. 61, No. 7, 690–701.

Clinical psychology has focused primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disease, and only recently has scientific attention turned to understanding and cultivating positive mental health. The Buddhist tradition, on the other hand, has focused for over 2,500 years on cultivating exceptional states of mental well-being as well as identifying and treating psychological problems. This article attempts to draw on centuries of Buddhist experiential and theoretical inquiry as well as current Western experimental research to highlight specific themes that are particularly relevant to exploring the nature of mental health. Specifically, the authors discuss the nature of mental well-being and then present an innovative model of how to attain such well-being through the cultivation of four types of mental balance: conative, attentional, cognitive, and affective.

Roger Walsh (’98 Contemplative Practice Fellow, University of California College), Shauna L. Shapiro (’05 Contemplative Practice Fellow, Santa Clara University). "The Meeting of Meditative Disciplines and Western Psychology: A Mutually Enriching Dialogue." American Psychologist, April 2006.

Meditation is now one of the most enduring, widespread, and researched of all psychotherapeutic methods. However, to date the meeting of the meditative disciplines and Western psychology has been marred by significant misunderstandings and by an assimilative integration in which much of the richness and uniqueness of meditation and its psychologies and philosophies have been overlooked. Also overlooked have been their major implications for an understanding of such central psychological issues as cognition and attention, mental training and development, health and pathology, and psychological capacities and potentials. Investigating meditative traditions with greater cultural and conceptual sensitivity opens the possibility of a mutual enrichment of both the meditative traditions and Western psychology, with far-reaching benefits for both. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Shauna L. Shapiro (’05 Contemplative Practice Fellow, Santa Clara University), Linda E. Carlson, John A. Astin, Benedict Freedman. "Mechanisms of Mindfulness".
Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 62, Issue 3, March 2006, pp. 373-386

Recently, the psychological construct mindfulness has received a great deal of attention. The majority of research has focused on clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions. This line of research has led to promising data suggesting mindfulness-based interventions are effective for treatment of both psychological and physical symptoms. However, an equally important direction for future research is to investigate questions concerning mechanisms of action underlying mindfulness-based interventions. This theoretical paper proposes a model of mindfulness, in an effort to elucidate potential mechanisms to explain how mindfulness affects positive change. Potential implications and future directions for the empirical study of mechanisms involved in mindfulness are addressed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 62: 373-386, 2006.

Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. "The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848.

Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., (members of the Center's Advisory Board) et al. "Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation". Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570.

Davidson and Kabat-Zinn report significant increases in left-sided anterior activation, a pattern previously associated with positive affect, in the meditators compared with the nonmeditators. We also found significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait-list control group. Finally, the magnitude of increase in left-sided activation predicted the magnitude of antibody titer rise to the vaccine. These findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways and underscore the need for additional research.

Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (in press). "Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement" [full text]. Behavior Therapy, 35, 471-494, 2004.

Using a randomized wait-list controlled design, this study evaluated the effects of a novel intervention, mindfulness-based relationship enhancement, designed to enrich the relationships of relatively happy, nondistressed couples. Results suggested the intervention was efficacious in (a) favorably impacting couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, relatedness, closeness, acceptance of one another, and relationship distress; (b) beneficially affecting individuals’ optimism, spirituality, relaxation, and psychological distress; and (c) maintaining benefits at 3-month follow-up. Those who practiced mindfulness more had better outcomes, and within-person analyses of diary measures showed greater mindfulness practice on a given day was associated on several consecutive days with improved levels of relationship happiness, relationship stress, stress coping efficacy, and overall stress.

Teasdale, J. D., Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., Ridgeway, V. A., Soulsby, J. M., Lau, M. A. (2000). Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 68, 615-623.

Abstract: This study evaluated mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a group intervention designed to train recovered recurrently depressed patients to disengage from dysphoria-activated depressogenic thinking that may mediate relapse/recurrence. Recovered recurrently depressed patients (n = 145) were randomized to continue with treatment as usual or, in addition, to receive MBCT. Relapse/recurrence to major depression was assessed over a 60-week study period. For patients with 3 or more previous episodes of depression (77% of the sample), MBCT significantly reduced risk of relapse/recurrence. For patients with only 2 previous episodes, MBCT did not reduce relapse/recurrence. MBCT offers a promising cost-efficient psychological approach to preventing relapse/recurrence in recovered recurrently depressed patients. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

If you have recommendations for other research articles to share in our next issue (April 2007), please email Carrie Bergmsn at


return to top

Yin Mei

Yin Mei, ’99 Contemplative Practice Fellow, performs improvisational work at the James Cohan Gallery. January 2007 Art Review.

Recommended Reading

Contemplative Practices and Education. Teachers College Record, Volume 108, Number 9, 2006.

This special edition of the Teachers College Record was edited by Clifford Hill, 1998 Contemplative Practice Fellow. The issue features articles by Steven Rockefeller, Brian Stock, and Robert Thurman (members of the CMind Board of Advisors), Contemplative Practice Fellows Clifford Hill, Daniel Holland, Marilyn Nelson, Harold Roth, and Ed Sarath, Academic Program Director Arthur Zajonc, and others. Forward by Mirabai Bush, Executive Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Shambhala Sun

Boyce, Barry. "Please help me learn who I am." Shambhala Sun, January 2007, pp. 66.

This article explores the burgeoning movement of incorporating contemplative practices into pedagogy. It features the work of the Center and 2005 Curriculum Development Fellow David Forbes, CUNY-Brooklyn Assistant Professor of Education, and others. Read the full text (.pdf file).

Integrative Learning & Action

Awbrey, S.M., Dana, D., Miller, V.M., Robinson, P., Ryan, M.M., and Scott, D.K. Integrative Learning and Action: A Call to Wholeness. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2006.

The quest for wholeness is an emerging movement in education and in organizations. Integrative Learning and Action is a call to wholeness by poets, organizational theorists, scientists, lawyers, educators, philosophers, administrators, and contemplatives. In diverse ways the essays speak to an emerging desire for a different world—for different ways of learning, knowing, and being that draw upon the full spectrum of our cognitive, aesthetic, emotional, spiritual, and kinesthetic intelligences in order to create a wiser, more sustainable, and collaborative global society. The essays challenge us to chart a new integrative course for the future, to expand our thinking, and to re-enlist our hearts in the life-long journey of learning and living, and will be valuable to all who are engaged in the transformation occurring in education and the workplace. Contributors include: Diana Chapman Walsh, Riane Eisler, Jennifer Gidley, Daniel Goleman, Eugene Halton, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Steven Keeva, Mark Kriger, Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, David Whyte, Bruce Wilshire, and Arthur Zajonc.

Contemplative Science

B. Alan Wallace, with the assistance of Brian Hodel. Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Science has long treated religion as a set of personal beliefs that have little to do with a rational understanding of the mind and the universe. However, B. Alan Wallace, a respected Buddhist scholar, proposes that the contemplative methodologies of Buddhism and of Western science are capable of being integrated into a single discipline: contemplative science.

Read an interview with Alan Wallace on

Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain

Sharon Begley. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform. New York: Ballantine Books, 2007.

This book takes the reader to the Mind and Life meeting, Neuroplasticity: The Neuronal Substrates of Learning and Transformation, at Dharamsala, India in 2004. Begley, one of the world's leading science journalists, uses the meeting as a springboard to survey the state of neuroplasticity.

The January 29, 2007 issue of Time features "How the Brain Rewires Itself," an article adapted from Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain.

Holistic Nursing Practice

Nancy Sharts-Hopko, “Personal and Profession Impact of a Course on Contemplative Practices in Health and Illness.”  Holistic Nursing Practice, January/February 2007, Volume 21, Number 1, Pages 3-9.

Sharts-Hopko, a 1999 Contemplative Practice Fellow, designed and taught a nursing graduate course that focused on the impact of alternative healing modalities, particularly those that are contemplative in nature; her qualitative study demonstrates that up to 4 years later, students still found the content to be of value to their professional and personal lives. Suggestions for incorporation of CAM in mainstream nursing courses are shared in this article.

What’s on your bookshelf?
If you have recommendations, please email Carrie Bergman at

return to top

Grants and Opportunities

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society's Contemplative Practice Fellowships

The application period will open summer 2007. Further details to be announced at that time.
If you are a subscriber to this e-newsletter, you will be notified by email when the application period opens.

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. At the heart of the program is the belief that pedagogical and intellectual benefits might be discovered by bringing contemplative practice into the academy.

Contemplative practices are part of all major religious and spiritual traditions, and have long had a place in intellectual and ethical inquiry. Depending upon the tradition from which they come, contemplative practices are defined in a variety of ways. They can be broadly understood as methods to develop concentration, deepen understanding and insight, and cultivate awareness and compassion.

Approximately ten fellowships will be offered to support individual or collaborative research leading to the development of courses and teaching materials that integrate contemplative practices into courses. These fellowships are designed to advance scholarship in the field, to encourage a recognition of the role of contemplation in the intellectual life, and to inform educational practice and enhance course design. We invite proposals from the full range of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, and humanities-related sciences and social sciences. Methodologies that include practical and experiential approaches to the subject matter are especially welcome.

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. Such contemplative practices can lead to genuine insights and deeper appreciation of the material under study.

These fellowships are intended to support scholars for developing curricula during a summer or an academic-year semester. Individual scholars, partnerships, or groups of scholars may apply, but the maximum fellowship stipend of $10,000 may not be exceeded for any one project. Prior experience with contemplative practice is encouraged. Assurance from the appropriate department head, attesting that the applicant will be permitted to teach the course resulting from his/her research within the academic year following the tenure of the fellowship, will be required.

Eligibility Guidelines

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

For more information, please visit and

return to top

Upcoming Events

Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education

Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education:
Integrative Learning for Compassionate Action in an Interconnected World

February 22-25, 2007
Hotel Nikko
San Francisco, California

Do current education efforts address the whole human being—mind, heart, and spirit—in ways that contribute best to our future on this fragile planet? What steps can we take to make our colleges and universities places that awaken the deepest potential in students, faculty, and staff? This conference for administrators, student life professionals, chaplains, and educators will address the relationships between:

  • Curriculum and values
  • Intellectual, aesthetic, and moral intelligences
  • Technical competency and compassionate action
  • Critical reasoning and contemplative inquiry
  • Vocation and life purpose

Keynote speakers will include Alice Walker, Parker Palmer, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Robert Kegan, and Diana Chapman Walsh.

Many presenters and workshop leaders are Contemplative Practice Fellows or personnel of our Academic Program, including Mirabai Bush, Arthur Zajonc, Andre Delbecq, Deborah Haynes, Mary Rose O'Reilly, Marilyn Nelson, and Ed Sarath.

Registration begins August 2006. Registration cost: $350 general, $300 for undergraduates.

Partnering Organizations
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco • Associated New American Colleges • Association of American Colleges and Universities • Council of Independent Colleges • League for Innovation in the Community Colleges • National Association of Student Personnel Administrators

For more information, visit

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Academic Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum Development

August 12-17, 2007
Smith College, Northampton, MA

Summer Session Participants will devote the week to rigorous investigation, reflection, writing, and discussion, guided by distinguished scholars and contemplative teachers who have already developed such courses. Read the Chronicle's article on the 2005 Summer Session.

The fee for the 2007 Session is $650. This fee covers tuition, private room, and all meals.

At this time, we have confirmed the following faculty (additional faculty will be announced in early 2007):

Arthur Zajonc, Professor of Physics
Amherst College
Director of the Academic Program at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Mirabai Bush, Executive Director
the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Sr. Linda-Susan Beard, Associate Professor of English
Bryn Mawr College

Daniel C. Holland, Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Arkansas, Little Rock

For more information and an application form, please visit:

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Contemplative Retreat for Academics

UPDATE: The retreat has been filled. Please sign up to be placed on the waitlist; this will help us to assess demand for future retreats.

November 1-4, 2007
Trinity Conference Center, West Cornwall, CT
Space is limited to 26 participants; please respond early.
Non-refundable deposit of $150.

The Center is pleased to offer our first retreat for academics that will give in-depth training in personal contemplative practices as well as contemplative methods adapted for the classroom. Much of the time will be spent in silence, including some silent meals. There will also be discussions of the relationship of practices and the contemplative perspective to teaching, learning, and knowing. The retreat is designed to appeal to participants with a wide range of experience in contemplative practice, from beginners to seasoned practitioners.

Fee: $450, includes vegetarian meals and shared occupancy accommodations.

To register: Space is limited to 26 participants; please send your application early!


Mind and Life
Summer Research Institute

Applications due February 28, 2007

Event date: June 3 - 9, 2007
Garrison Institute
Garrison, NY

Applications are now being taken for the 2007 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute (MLSRI). The application period will close at 7:00 PM EST on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 and interested applicants are advised to apply early. Applications submitted after February 28th will not be accepted.

The purpose of the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute is to advance collaborative research among behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, and biomedical researchers based on a process of inquiry, dialogue, and in some cases, collaboration, with Buddhist contemplative practitioners and scholars and those in other contemplative traditions.

The long-term objective is to advance the training of a new generation of behavioral scientists, cognitive/affective neuroscientists, clinicians, and contemplative scholar/practitioners interested in exploring the potential influences of meditation and other contemplative practices on mind, behavior, brain function, and health. This includes examining the potential role of contemplative methods for characterizing human experience and consciousness from a neuroscience perspective.

The Faculty will consist of scientists and clinicians, as well as Buddhist and other contemplative practitioner/scholars. The meeting will be restricted to 125 participants, as innovative and interdisciplinary scientific conversations and potential collaborations and new projects are more likely to develop successfully with a limited number of committed participants.

The overriding theme of the meeting will be to foster a meaningful dialogue between modern science and psychology on the one hand, and the domain of contemplative practice on the other. These two epistemologies constitute different ways of investigating and understanding the mind.

The registration fee for Research Fellows is $325; for Senior Investigators, $625. This fee will also cover room and board for the six days. In addition, each participant will be expected to cover his/her own travel expenses. There is no fee for applying at this time; fees are to be paid by accepted applicants at the time of registration.

For a more detailed overview of the MLSRI please go to

The application process is online only. No paper applications, either mailed or faxed, will be accepted. To apply now, please go to:

If after carefully reviewing the information on the above webpages, you still have questions, please email or call 720-891-4292 ext 802.


Royal Roads University
Wise Mind, Open Heart: Contemplative Practice in Personal and Professional Life

Public Talk:
Friday, March 9, 2007
7:00 PM

Mews Conference Center Lounge
Royal Roads University
Victoria, BC

March 10 - 11, 2007
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $275 + GST – includes the Friday evening talk

Tickets available online and at the door.

A retreat for leaders dedicated to making a difference. Learn and deepen the meditative practices of loving kindness and insight meditation, which help us pay attention in a particular way – non-reactive, in each moment, and without judgment.

In time, with sustained commitment, these practices cultivate wise discernment and a loving compassionate approach to life. Science is showing that meditators' brains have more capacity for attention and memory, and more electrical activity that reduces anxiety and distress.

This weekend retreat includes meditation instruction, periods of silence and of walking. Dialogues and discussion support the how-to of bringing a contemplative perspective to decisions and challenges of impact, and ways of bringing mindful attention to the things we do, and don’t do, everyday.


Charles Terry is a founding board member of the Centre for Contemplative Mind in Society. His careers include corporate lawyer, poverty lawyer, law professor, founder and Director of The Door in NYC serving 5,000 inner city youth per year, Director of Philanthropy for the Rockefeller family, and consultant to foundation boards, trusts and nonprofit organizations. He currently works with leaders in positive sustainable change, including the Bravewell Collaborative and the Tipping Point Network.

Steven Smith is founder and guiding teacher of Vipassana Hawaii and of the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition of Southeast Asia since 1974, he leads meditation retreats at remote and exotic centers worldwide, including B.C. Steven is Executive Director of the MettaDana Health/Education Project in Burma, of which Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the Democracy movement in Burma and a Nobel Peace prize recipient, is an advisor. Steven is a senior program advisor to the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Michele McDonald has taught Buddhist meditation practice worldwide for 25 years, including 20 years at Insight Meditation Society in Mass., and the annual retreat at Kyaswa Monastery in Burma since 1998. She is a founder of Vipassana Hawaii and teaches regularly in B.C., with a focus on sustaining the traditional teachings while making them accessible in contemporary culture. Michele has a special interest in mentoring youth and is particularly drawn to the teachings on liberation - the very real possibility of freedom from greed, hatred and delusion in this life.

For more information, visit


The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society
Integrating Mindfulness-Based Interventions into Medicine, Health Care, and the Larger Society

March 29 - April 1, 2007
Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort
Worcester, MA

The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society is looking for papers and presentations for its 5th Annual International Conference for Clinicians, Researchers, and Educators, Integrating Mindfulness-Based Interventions into Medicine, Health Care, and the Larger Society.

The conference will be held March 29 – April 1, 2007 at the Crowne-Plaza Hotel and Resort, Worcester, Massachusetts. A pre-Conference Program with Saki Santorelli, will be held March 28, 2007.

For more information, visit


return to top

Have Something to Share? Let's Hear It!

This is our first newsletter dedicated to academics and is a work in process: we’d like to hear your opinions! How can we support you? What would you like to see here? Please contact Carrie Bergman, Creative Director, at

We Need Your Support

2006 brochureThe last 10 years have seen a remarkable increase in the accessibility and public acceptance of contemplative practice. There have been front-page stories in major magazines, a flowering of academic courses, and programs in meditation and yoga available to people in businesses, hospitals, and other secular settings.

The Center has led the way in introducing contemplative practices and perspectives to American life. Please join us in this important work by making a tax-deductible donation.

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

banner photo by René Théberge