As we begin a new year, we at Mind & Life recognize that even in the most challenging of times, there are those who persevere in the name of peace and justice. We take this moment to honor them, and all of those who have struggled in recent months, while renewing our commitment to elevating leading-edge insights at the nexus of science, contemplative wisdom, and action. We believe such insights are critical to cultivating personal well-being, building more compassionate communities, and strengthening the human-earth connection.
At this time of profound change and physical distancing, we are pleased to offer a range of virtual learning opportunities—from the Mind & Life Podcast to our Inspiring Minds series of online conversations—that offer deep wisdom for these times. In that spirit, I hope you can join us on January 9 for a conversation with the Dalai Lama, Greta Thunberg, and leading scientists on the crisis of climate feedback loops and what can be done to address this urgent threat, as well as on January 13 with Jack Kornfield and Rhonda Magee on mindfulness, resilience, and compassion in the new year.
We thank you for engaging in this profound learning journey with us. Together, may we find ways to serve and take action for the common good.
Wishing you peace, joy, and meaningful connection in the year ahead.
With sincere gratitude,
Mind & Life President
The Dalai Lama with Greta Thunberg and Leading Scientists: A Conversation on the Crisis of Climate Feedback Loops
The Mind & Life Institute is honored to host a special free livestream event on January 9, 2021 at 10:30 p.m. EST (January 10, 2021, 9:00 a.m. IST) with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, climate activist Greta Thunberg, and leading scientists to explore steps for addressing the urgent challenge of climate feedback loops. These self-perpetuating feedback loops were set in motion by human-induced climate change and are now accelerating global warming. What can be done before it’s too late?
Moderated by Diana Chapman Walsh, the discussion will be grounded in a new series of educational films, “Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops," narrated by actor Richard Gere. In preparation for the event, we encourage you to view the 5-part short-film series, starting with the Introduction and then learning how feedback loops impact Forests and Permafrost.
"I grew up knowing that the earth cradles me and cradles humanity. At no point have I felt that my relationship with nature is an adversarial one,” says interfaith environmental leader and Director of the Loka Initiative Dekila Chungyalpa, who is a program planning committee and faculty member for Mind & Life’s 2021 Summer Research Institute (SRI).
With guidance from Dekila and other scholars and activists, such as Vandana Shiva, Matthieu Ricard, and Lyla June, this year’s online SRI program will explore the human-earth relationship and the changes needed to nurture devotion to earth-care practices that minimize human impact, restore the natural environment, and nourish the human capacity for cooperative kindness, humility, and positive change.
We hope you’ll join us for this immersive weeklong virtual experience featuring plenaries and panels, live Q&A and networking, interactive poster presentations and forum discussions, along with daily contemplative practice. All researchers, contemplatives, and changemakers interested in this year’s theme are encouraged to apply! Emerging researchers who attend the SRI are eligible to apply for the Mind & Life Francisco J. Varela Grants.
Applications are accepted until February 26, 2021.
Mindfulness, Resilience, and Compassion for the New Year
Join us on January 13 from 2-3:30pm ET for the next conversation in our Inspiring Minds series of live discussions offering wisdom for our times. Each month, we bring together thought leaders and contemplatives to engage with one another and the audience in exploring the role of the mind in human flourishing.
Coping with Loneliness & Stress: The Role of Mindful Acceptance
Even before the coronavirus hit, the United States was considered one of the most stressed out countries in the world. Fear and anxiety brought on by the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, with 8 out of 10 adults citing the pandemic as a significant source of stress in their lives.
David Creswell, who runs the Human Health and Performance Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, has devoted much of his career to researching how individuals can cultivate the inner resources needed to navigate the stresses of modern life.
“Almost everyone is exposed to lots of stress over the course of their lifetimes; yet many people do quite well,” says David, a Mind & Life Fellow and grantee. “Our puzzle is trying to figure out what makes people resilient.”
We’re excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 Varela Grants! Named for neuroscientist and philosopher Francisco J. Varela, Mind & Life’s Varela Grants fund rigorous examinations of contemplative techniques, giving preference to interdisciplinary approaches and the active collaboration of scientists with contemplative scholars/practitioners.
This year, we’re thrilled to support 10 projects on mindfulness and contemplative approaches, including music-based interventions for Black Americans experiencing stress and anxiety, conscious breathing for lower back pain, and contemplative ecological education for early childhood. Across these projects, researchers consider a range of populations: children, adolescents, sexual and gender minority youth, law enforcement, Black Americans, and Tibetan communities.
Pathways to Planetary Health Forum: Joanna Macy, January 14 2pm ET
Garrison Institute presents a rare conversation with Joanna Macy, exploring our relationship to the earth and the pathways to healing during this critical time. As Macy has asked, "How can I be fully present to my world—present enough to rejoice and be useful—when we as a species are destroying it?" Drawing on Buddhist thought and contemporary science, she will examine how to transform despair and apathy into constructive, collaborative action. Register for free!
Compassion in Therapy Summit, January 30-February 3
Registration is now open for the 2021 Compassion in Therapy Summit co-produced by The Awake Network and The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion! Join this free online event for mental health professionals and learn mindfulness, self-compassion, and compassion practices to help you and your clients stay grounded and resilient during these challenging times. Register for free!
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