Imagine munching on oatmeal and scones, sitting on pillows, walking barefoot down quiet stony halls, and doing sun salutations with Buddhist monks, scientists, and other academics, all working towards integrating eastern and western philosophy in a way that may better our relationship with ourselves and with the world. More than a usual conference, more than any old mindfulness retreat, the Mind and Life’s Summer Research Institute melds the two, becoming an incubator for future investigations in contemplative science. Share your research questions, and anyone around you is excited to engage you in a critical discussion that may inspire new paradigms. The MLSRI is truly a beautiful, dynamic force for working towards an end to human suffering.

This year’s MLSRI, themed “The Situated and Embodied Mind”, was an enmeshing of scientific and spiritual inquiry aimed at uprooting the western dualist mind-body split and bringing the body back into the inner experience of the self. Major focus was placed on the body’s role in contemplative practices and scientific investigations of these practices.

The week’s lecturers included Evan Thomson, Ph.D., Sarah McClintock, Ph.D., Diego Hangartner, Pharm.D., Bhikkhu Analayo, Ph.D., George Chrousos, M.D., Lawrence Barsalou, Ph.D., Susan Bauer-Wu, Ph.D., FAAN, Linda Craighead. Ph.D., Anne Klein, Ph.D., Rebecca Todd, Ph.D., Richard Davidson, Ph.D., Andrew Dreitcer, Ph.D., Michael Spezio, Ph.D., Sona Dimidjian, Ph.D., and Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D.

Throughout the week, retreaters were exposed to various body-based contemplative practices, including morning yoga led by Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman, and Tai Chi led by Peter Wayne, Ph.D.

Tuesday was a silent retreat day, with periods of alternating sitting and walking meditation. Seated practices were led by Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., Al Kaszniak, Ph.D., and Sharon Salzberg.

Celebrating Arthur Zajonc’s first year as MLI president, the 2012 retreat promised a bright future for the institute.

More information about the 2012 MLSRI is available here: http://www.mindandlife.org/research-initiatives/sri/sri12/

Photos (courtesy of Dave): https://plus.google.com/photos/117698297325020650188/albums/5755351551842073889?banner=pwa


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