In 2020, we decided to invite our wider community to participate in live events with talks by internationally renowned speakers like Richard J. Davidson, Roshi Joan Halifax and Matthieu Ricard.
Under the title 'Mind Matters', we are offering publicly accessible talks on a quarterly basis. This interactive format consists of two parts: a presentation (30 mins) and a Q&A session (30 mins).
Overview of Events
|December 13, 2021|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "Teaching Mindfulness-Based Programs with Quality and Integrity"
featuring Rebecca Crane.
|October 27, 2021|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "Contemplative and Scientific Ways of Knowing"
featuring B. Alan Wallace.
|June 17, 2021|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "What's Beyond Mindfulness?"
featuring Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
|February 17, 2021|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "A Plea for All-Inclusive Altruism"
featuring Matthieu Ricard
|November 12, 2020|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "Well-Being is a Skill"
featuring Richard R. Davidson
|August 1, 2020|
MLE 'Mind Matters' series: "Standing at the Edge"
featuring Roshi Joan Halifax and Amy Cohen Varela
About the online event: Mindfulness training is becoming increasingly accessible to everyday people in the mainstream through books, digitally, and through access to teachers. We can begin to imagine the possibility that on a societal level embedding mindfulness practice into everyday life could become recognised and promoted as a pragmatic way to support wellbeing - in similar ways to how physical exercise is perceived. This emerging engagement with contemplative practices in mainstream culture and institutions holds great promise. The promise that awareness, wisdom, and compassion become more readily accessible to us – both individually and collectively.
Although, there are particular sensitivities related to bringing contemplative practices into the mainstream. How do we meet the implementation challenge of enabling breadth of accessibility whilst sustaining the transformational potential of the practice? How do we align with the scientific evidence base whilst meeting important developmental frontiers? How do we ensure that Mindfulness-Based Programme (MBP) teachers are well prepared to guide others? How does the public know how to choose an MBP teacher? How does this emerging field skilfully navigate the tensions inherent in mainstreaming an approach that involves a paradigm shift to mainstream frameworks for understanding human experience? How do we do the work of ‘mainstreaming’ language and approach whilst also retaining the full transformational potential of mindfulness practice? How do we skilfully innovate so that MBP teaching is flexed and tailored to a diversity of contexts and populations? How do MBP teachers skilfully integrate within their teaching, the reality of this moment in time with its intersecting crises of climate and biodiversity breakdown, inequality, generational imbalances?
The talk examines these questions from the perspective of current empirical and practice-based developments and thinking, and will consider frontiers and challenges for the MBP field going forward.
Professor Rebecca Crane directs the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University and has played a leading role in developing its training and research programme since it was founded in 2001. She teaches mindfulness-based programme (MBP) teachers, trainers, and supervisors internationally, and guides mindfulness retreats. She spent time in India and Thailand in her late teens and early twenties living, studying, and practising mindfulness. She trained originally as an Occupational Therapist, and later as an integrative counsellor, and worked in the UK health service offering therapy to people with complex mental health challenges for fifteen years. During the 1990s she connected with the developments at Bangor University led by Professor Mark Williams who was developing and researching Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy there. Concurrently, she trained to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the Centre for Mindfulness, UMASS in the USA. She was appointed to lead the emerging mindfulness centre at Bangor University in 2001, and over the last twenty years has implemented the world’s first masters programme in MBPs, pioneered the development and dissemination of training approaches for MBP teachers, including the now widely implemented framework of MBP teaching skills – the MBI:TAC, and provided leadership for both Bangor University’s teaching and research teams, and for the development of the MBP field internationally. The focus of her doctorate and subsequent research and practice has been on how the integrity and depth of MBPs can be sustained in the transition into practice in mainstream settings such as the health service and schools. She has published multiple peer reviewed academic papers and has written Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Distinctive Features 2017, co-authored Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with People at Risk of Suicide, 2017, co-edited Essential Resources for Mindfulness Teachers, 2021, and is a Principal Fellow with the Higher Education Academy.
This talk by B. Alan Wallace was streamed live on October 27, 2021 on the topic "Contemplative and Scientific Ways of Knowing".
About the online event: For millennia, contemplatives from diverse religious traditions claim to have made discoveries about the nature of the mind, consciousness, and their role in the natural world. While there are many significant differences in the doctrines of the world's religions, many of the deepest insights made by contemplatives have been intersubjectively corroborated not only within individual traditions but across traditions, suggesting that, like scientific discoveries, they may point to universal truths that transcend the frameworks of any one belief system. While the notion of 'discovery' is common to third-person scientific inquiry, it may appear misplaced in terms of first-person contemplative inquiry. In what sense do any contemplative experiences or truth-claims warrant the label 'discovery'? If their alleged discoveries are not of the same sort as scientific discoveries, how do they differ?
B. Alan Wallace is a prominent voice in the emerging discussion between contemporary Buddhist thinkers and scientists. He left his university studies in 1971 and moved to Dharamsala, India to study Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, and language. He was ordained by the Dalai Lama, and over fourteen years as a monk he studied with and translated for many of the generation’s greatest lamas. In 1984 he resumed his Western education at Amherst College where he studied physics and the philosophy of science. He did his PhD research at Stanford on the interface between Buddhism and Western science and philosophy. Since 1987 he has been a frequent translator and contributor to meetings between the Dalai Lama and prominent scientists, and he has written and translated more than 40 books. Along with his scholarly work, Alan is regarded as one of the West’s preeminent Buddhist meditation teachers. He is the founder and director of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and of the Center for Contemplative Research in Crestone, Colorado.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (MLE Association Member) spoke on the topic "What's Beyond Mindfulness?" which was live-streamed on YouTube on June 17, 2021.
About the online event: In the modern age mindfulness has become popular and its interpretation can therefore vary widely. Mingyur Rinpoche will talk about "Mindfulness and beyond" from the perspective of the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
This talk by Matthieu Ricard (MLE Honorary Board Member) was streamed live on February 17, 2021 on the topic of "A Plea for All-Inclusive Altruism".
About the online event: A Plea for All-Inclusive Altruism. We need a unifying concept to face the multiple challenges of the 21st century. Having more consideration for others, altruism, can allow us to have an all-inclusive approach to alleviate poverty in the midst of plenty, to care for our environment and to take seriously in consideration the fate of future generations (even though we will not be there). We must also include in our preoccupations and action the fate of the eight million other species who are our co-citizens on the planet and whose populations are shrinking at soaring speed.
Richard J. Davidson (William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison) gave a presentation entitled "Well-Being is a Skill" which was live-streamed on YouTube on November 12, 2020.
About the online event: This talk considered scientific evidence that suggests that we can change our brains by transforming our minds and cultivate habits of mind that will improve well-being. These include happiness, resilience, compassion and emotional balance. These mental training strategies can be used to improve the well-being of children, teachers, parents and ultimately communities. The talk provided an overview of neuroscientifically validated constituents of well-being and will illustrate how each of these is rooted in specific brain circuits that exhibit plasticity and thus can be modified through training. These practices can be applied in a wide range of contexts and have the potential to positively impact social change.
This exclusive MLE interview was streamed live on August 1, 2020. Themed "Standing at the Edge", Roshi Joan Halifax (MLE Honorary Board Member) was interviewed by Amy Cohen Varela (MLE Board Chair).
About the online event: Roshi Joan Halifax is a Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, activist and Founder, Abbot and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At this exclusive event she was be talking to Amy Cohen Varela about her history as an activist, contemplative teacher and leader, her longstanding relationship with Mind and Life, and what it means to "stand at the edge" in the times of uncertainty and impermanence we are experiencing today.