Mind & Life
Cortland Dahl - Integrating Science and Buddhism

Cortland Dahl - Integrating Science and Buddhism

November 19, 2021

CortlandDahl_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with researcher, translator, and Buddhist teacher, Cortland Dahl. Cort's work integrates science, psychology, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhism. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • how meditation helped with his social anxiety as a young person;
  • benefits and challenges in the dialogue between Buddhism and science;
  • customizing meditation practice in the Healthy Minds app;
  • understanding the diversity of contemplative practice;
  • analytical meditation;
  • meditation as a treatment for mental health problems;
  • transcending the conceptual mind, and loosening concepts of self;
  • seeing the limits of science;
  • looking at well-being through the lens of learning;
  • the key role of social connection;
  • and moving forward with intellectual humility (knowing that we don't know).

Full show notes and resources

 

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel - Identity as Path

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel - Identity as Path

November 5, 2021

ZenjuEarthlynManuel_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with author, Zen priest and Buddhist teacher, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel. Zenju's work highlights how the various facets of our identity can become "fertilizer" for growth on the path of spiritual and personal development. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • growing up in the Christian church, and the questions it raised for her;
  • her unusual path into Buddhism;
  • how to work with your identity while moving beyond the self;
  • the truth of interdependence and cause & effect;
  • two truths (relative vs. absolute) in relation to identity;
  • bringing together spirituality and social justice;
  • the central importance of embodiment;
  • integration with nature;
  • how contemplative science should proceed;
  • and the dance between delusion and enlightenment.

Full show notes and resources

 

Willoughby Britton - When Meditation Causes Harm

Willoughby Britton - When Meditation Causes Harm

October 22, 2021

Willoughby_Britton_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with clinical psychologist and meditation researcher, Willoughby Britton. Willoughby is a pioneer in contemplative research and one of the only people dedicated to understanding the possible negative outcomes from meditation (so called meditation-related adverse experiences). This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • how she came to study the negative side of meditation;
  • support and resources for those struggling with meditation-related difficulties (Cheetah House);
  • scientific research on meditation-related adverse experiences;
  • changes in perception and anxiety that can happen with meditation;
  • how the same experience can be positive or negative depending on context;
  • how the causes of adverse effects may be the same as for the benefits;
  • the science of measuring harms in meditation research;
  • what we know (and don't know) about these effects—who's at risk, how frequent they are, and how they show up for people;
  • whether or not these difficulties are "part of the path" of transformation;
  • grounding care in compassion;
  • and aligning practices with the outcomes you want.

Full resources and show notes

Nicholas Van Dam - Nuancing the Narrative

Nicholas Van Dam - Nuancing the Narrative

October 8, 2021

NVD_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with meditation researcher and clinical psychologist, Nicholas Van Dam. Nicholas is the Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre at the University of Melbourne—the first such center in Australia. His work explores how meditation and mindfulness can support well-being, and help with conditions like anxiety and depression. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • how an existential crisis led him to meditation practice;
  • bringing loving critique to contemplative science;
  • the complicated realities of mindfulness, how we measure it, and its impact on the brain;
  • looking at effects beyond just the individual who is meditating;
  • insights from a year of daily practice;
  • balancing personal interest vs. research objectivity;
  • the freedom that comes from letting go;
  • how skills learned on the cushion transfer to daily life;
  • deconstructing the self;
  • mindfulness and meditation for anxiety and depression;
  • getting out of your head and into your body;
  • connecting with Indigenous and other non-Buddhist contemplative traditions;
  • and advancing evidence-based research on meditation.

Full show notes and resources

Rhonda Magee - Mindfulness, Interconnection, and Justice

Rhonda Magee - Mindfulness, Interconnection, and Justice

September 24, 2021

In this episode, Wendy speaks with law professor, author, and meditation teacher, Rhonda Magee. Rhonda's work has focused on bringing contemplative approaches into the practice of law, and the fight for social justice. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • her path to contemplative practice from roots in the American South;
  • mindfulness in the fight for racial justice;
  • embracing equanimity when you really want a certain outcome;
  • contemplative approaches in law;
  • awakening to our interconnectedness;
  • challenging the idea of one winner/one loser (the adversarial model in law);
  • balancing individual rights with a connected whole;
  • restorative justice and collaborative divorce;
  • how racism harms us all (including white folks);
  • bias, fear and safety in the body;
  • how dominator culture cuts us off from our bodies;
  • racial capitalism;
  • ColorInsight vs. color blindness;
  • and the joy that comes from embracing our shared humanity.

Full show notes and resources

Jon Kabat-Zinn - The Heart of Mindfulness

Jon Kabat-Zinn - The Heart of Mindfulness

September 10, 2021

Jon-Kabat-Zinn_sq.jpgWe're back with Season 3 of the show, starting with renowned meditation teacher, author, and creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn. This spacious and personal conversation is full of insights on a wide range of topics, including:

  • what drew him to meditation;
  • his development of and vision for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR);
  • the mystery of the line between the inside and outside of any system;
  • adapting Buddhist practices for Western audiences;
  • how mindfulness has been taken up in society, and science as a main driver;
  • moving from "me" to "we";
  • the challenges of repeatability in scientific studies of meditation;
  • weaving together art and science;
  • and how 50+ years of meditation has changed him.

Full show notes and resources

 

Vandana Shiva - Earth Democracy

Vandana Shiva - Earth Democracy

August 13, 2021

IVandana_Shiva_sq79o4g.jpgn this bonus episode, we're sharing a special presentation from environmentalist, physicist, and eco-feminist Vandana Shiva. This session is from our Summer Research Institute, held in June of this year, entitled The Mind, the Human-Earth Connection, and the Climate Crisis. We're adding this to the podcast feed because Vandana speaks powerfully about how the mind contributes to so many of the world's current emergencies, including health, hunger, poverty, climate, extinction, and injustice, exclusion, and inequality. Countering these outcomes of disconnection, Vandana offers Earth Democracy as a worldview, paradigm, and practice based on the recognition that everything is interconnected. She covers a lot of ground, touching on topics such as:

  • the intellectual architecture of disconnection;
  • the many ramifications of Cartesian dualism;
  • the colonialist mindset of conquest and mastery;
  • mistaken frameworks that try to dominate nature;
  • how dead carbon leads to wars;
  • food and our microbiome;
  • quantum physics and interconnectedness;
  • statistics and updates on the science of climate change;
  • the economy of earth care;
  • and the power of self-organizing systems within nature to heal ourselves and our world.

Full show notes and resources

David Sloan Wilson - Conscious Evolution

David Sloan Wilson - Conscious Evolution

July 9, 2021

David_Sloan_Wilson_sqb2lrm.jpgIn this bonus episode, Wendy speaks with evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. This episode is being released in conjunction with Mind & Life's new film, Evolution of the Heart — a short documentary covering conversations between the Dalai Lama, David Sloan Wilson, and social scientist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela from a 2019 Mind & Life event in Dharamsala, India. The theme of that gathering was Compassion, Interconnection, and Transformation; please check out the film here! David’s work extends beyond genetics to include personal and cultural evolution, and sheds light on how we can move forward as a global community. In this conversation, they discuss many topics, including:

  • the role of competition, cooperation, and prosocial behavior in human evolution;
  • how evolutionary pressure operates at both individual and group levels (multilevel selection);
  • the possibility of conscious evolution;
  • what it means to be part of a group;
  • expanding the notion of the self;
  • becoming "bilingual" in scientific and spiritual perspectives;
  • the need to create a system of ethics for the whole world;
  • and core design principles for creating more egalitarian and compassionate communities. 

Full show notes and resources

Dekila Chungyalpa - Human-Earth Connection

Dekila Chungyalpa - Human-Earth Connection

May 21, 2021

DekilaChungyalpa_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with environmentalist Dekila Chungyalpa about her views of nature, the climate crisis, and her unique collaborations with faith leaders. Their conversation covers many topics, including:

  • growing up in the Himalayas and being interconnected with nature;
  • the dominance of dualistic thinking in the West, and the dangerous separations it creates;
  • embracing a framework of interdependence;
  • the role of indigenous wisdom in conservation;
  • her own experience dealing with eco-anxiety;
  • working with faith leaders to move the needle on environmental issues;
  • weaving together Buddhist values and activism;
  • bridging science and religion;
  • and the need for compassion and community in facing the climate crisis.

Full show notes and resources

 

Peter Wayne - Ecology of Mind

Peter Wayne - Ecology of Mind

May 7, 2021

PeterWayne_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with clinical researcher Peter Wayne about his work on mind-body and movement-based interventions like tai chi. Their conversation covers many topics, including:

  • how a background in ecology informs his research;
  • embracing multiple causes of any outcome;
  • how to do non-reductionist science;
  • removing the hyphen from the mind-body system;
  • harnessing the wisdom of the body through contemplative practice;
  • the value of first-person narrative in research;
  • safety and trauma in the body;
  • the relationship between physical and emotional patterns;
  • how the concept of the subtle body relates to Western views;
  • the role of integrative medicine in dealing with climate change;
  • and bringing together multiple perspectives to investigate the mind & healing.

Full resources and show notes

 

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