‘Reimagining Human Flourishing’ – Mind and Life Dialogue

Earlier this month Amy Cohen Varela, Mind & Life Europe's Chairperson, attended the latest Mind & Life Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India. She shares her experience in the following report. On Monday morning, March 12, the sun was brilliant and the air crisp as members of the Mind and Life community made their way up the path to the Tsuglagkhang, the Tibetan Temple by the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, India. This was the first of five days of 'Reimagining Human Flourishing', the 33rd Mind and Life Dialogue. The program, co-chaired by Richard Davidson and Thupten Jinpa, ...
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Join us! Apply for #ESRI2018

The application period for the European Summer Research Institute 2018 (ESRI) is now open. We invite you to join us at this unique gathering on the Fraueninsel in Germany from 20-26 August. This year's theme - Kinship, Conflict and Compassion - will cover the evolutionary story about the development of a capacity that is probably unique to humans: the ability to connect. That ability, however, also comes with a tendency to create an “other”, and often create biases and conflict - as we can now witness at national and global levels. We will explore how to overcome this tendency and to enhance ...
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Many “effects” of Mindfulness research could in fact be a placebo effect

We have asked Mind & Life Europe asscociate and assistent Professor cognitive modelling at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Marieke van Vugt about the the mindfulness hype, what it is, where it comes from and where it is going. At the end of 2017, you wrote an article about the mindfulness hype. Can you explain what the mindfulness hype is and where it comes from? The mindfulness hype refers to the deluge of articles and other media contributions that claim that mindfulness is the solution to everything—from improving your concentration to becoming a more successful CEO. However, if ...
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‘Social change needs to come from changing educational contexts.’

In the run up to the 2017 European Varela Awards we highlight some of the work of our 2016 awardees. Carlos Garcia Rubio and Catherine Andreu received a European Varela award for their research into the effect mindfulness in schools has on the self-regulation abilities of children living in highly vulnerable areas in Latin-America. ‘Schools can be an ideal place to carry out mindfulness-based socio-emotional programmes to promote healthier development.’ Carlos and Catherine first met each other in 2014 at the European Summer Research Institute (ESRI). A couple of years later they met again in Spain, in a school where ...
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Blog by Sander Tideman: First summit on mindfulness in politics

This month I had the privilege of attending a meeting on Mindfulness in Politics, organised by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG), at the House of Parliament in London. With keynote speaker Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Relief (MBSR) in 1979, the meeting assembled some 50 Europeans working on mindfulness at policy levels in their respective countries. These included France, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Slovenia and – of course – the United Kingdom.  The Mindful Nation MAPPG was founded four years ago by Welsh MP Chris Ruane, who started by gathering a few of his colleagues from ...
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Publications from the ReSource Project

The ReSource Project is a large-scale study on Eastern and Western methods of mental training. It is a secular programme developed by a team of experienced meditation teachers, scientists, and psychotherapists. The Principal Investigator of the project is our Mind & Life Europe Board Member Prof. Dr. Tania Singer, Director of the Social Neuroscience Department at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. 'This is the outcome of 12 years of work, so we are rather happy about it.' The project has published several project papers over the last months. Two studies on ReSource Change Data were published in ...
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Education that cultivates the wellbeing of the whole child

Katherine Weare, author of newly released book ‘Happy teachers change the World’ and Mind & Life associate member, reflects on a recent Mind and Life education gathering in Frankfurt. Across the world there is a developing consensus that many young people are struggling to cope with our fast paced, interconnected word and that we urgently need new forms of education to help young people meet the emotional, social, intellectual, ethical and spiritual challenges they, and indeed all of us, face. Encouraged by a new curriculum that is in its early stages of development at Emory University in the United states, ...
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Could meditation help with relationship problems?

In the run up to the 2017 Varela Awards we highlight some of the work of our 2016 awardees. Gesa Kappen was one of the 6 young scientists that received a Varela Award. With her research she looks into how practicing meditation influences the way people handle everyday challenges in their romantic relationships. ‘I am intrigued by the idea that meditation may help people see that their partner’s behaviour may not always be the problem’.  What do you hope to achieve with your research? In relationships if something goes wrong, people often jump to the conclusion that their partner might ...
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The constructivist nature of perception and its consequences for education

Board Member Wolf Singer speaks at symposium on education and secular ethics On Thursday 14 September, the Dalai Lama convened a group of scientists and education professionals to explore the topics of education and secular ethics. Mind and Life Europe Board Member Wolf Singer introduced the conference, which included Mind and Life Varela Award recipient Britta Hölzel, and spoke about the ‘The constructivist nature of perception and its consequences for education.’ ‘It appears to me that one of the central problems of our civilisations is our evolutionary heritage…’ Download the talk by Wolf Singer.
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Dalai Lama receives honorary degree  

'Today we honour an incisive, intrepid and indefatigable explorer of human reality.' The Dalai Lama received an honorary degree in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Pisa on Thursday 21 September. In her Laudatio, or words of praise, Mind and Life Europe Chair Amy Cohen Varela noted that 'his is a compassion that acknowledges our common humanity and as such, comes to touch you in a place that you may never even have guessed was within you; his welcoming is a powerful teaching in unconditional hospitality'. Laudatio for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  
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