From the category archives:

Triptykos and Neuroscience

Andy Dreitcer was an invited presenter-participant at a staff in-service gathering of Brown University’s neuroscience-related “Contemplative Development Mapping Project (CDMP)” January 3-5, at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre MA. (For a description of the CDMP, see this interview with its director.) His presentation, “Roles of Imaginal-Affective Relationality in Compassion-Oriented Christian Contemplative Practices” was the group’s introduction to practices within the Abrahamic traditions, was followed by presentations on Muslim and Jewish practices, and was preceded by presentations on Dharmic practices. Until this gathering, the CDMP had focused on neuroscientifically “mapping” only Buddhist practices.

In March, Dreitcer was the guest speaker for Stanford’s compassion-cultivation training program. His presentation focused on the nature of compassion-formation within Christian contemplative practices.

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Andy Dreitcer Appointed Mind & Life ‘Fellow’

by Facilitator on October 8, 2012

Andy Dreitcer has accepted an invitation to become a Fellow of the Mind & Life Institute (MLI). MLI was founded in 1987 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, neuroscientist Francisco Varela, and social-change entrepeneur Adam Engle. From it inception it has sought “to understand the human mind and the benefits of contemplative practices through an integrated mode of knowing that combines first person knowledge from the world’s contemplative traditions with methods and findings from contemporary scientific inquiry. Ultimately, [MLI’s] goal is to relieve human suffering and advance well-being.”

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International Mind & Life Event April 26-29

by Facilitator on February 7, 2012

Claremont’s Center for Engaged Compassion is co-sponsoring the inaugural 2012 International Symposia for Contemplative Studies on April 26-29 in Denver.

Facilitated by the Mind & Life Institute, the Symposia are a collaborative effort among centers and laboratories around the world to explore the correlates and consequences of contemplative practice, and bring together world-renowned researchers, scholars, teachers, and students in keynote addresses, master lectures, panels, and workshops.

Andrew Dreitcer will be one of the presenters for a panel on “Contemplative Science & the Relational Dimension: From Stress Regulation to Empathy and Compassion,” along with Princeton’s Brent Field, Max Planck Institute’s Tania Singer, Scripps’ Michael Spezio, and Institute of Noetic Sceince’s Cassandra Vieten.

Download the event postcard, and register now to reserve your spot.

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Self-Compassion Beneficial

by Facilitator on March 14, 2011

In retreats and workshops we try to emphasis the interconnectedness of self-compassion to compassion for others (“love your neighbor as you love yourself”).  Now new scientific research shows that compassion for yourself, though difficult, has health benefits.  Read the article from the New York Times here.

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What is happening with our brains, our minds, our bodies, when we pray, meditate, or engage in other contemplative practices? How is compassion related to such practices? Andy Dreitcer recently presented a “Christian perspective” on these questions to a gathering of world-renowned Buddhist contemplatives, neuroscientists, philosophers, and psychologists who met to explore neuroscientific understandings of contemplative experience.

Over the past twenty years neuroscientific advances (brain scans of various types, fMRI’s, EEG’s, neurotransmitter analysis, etc.) have made it possible to directly examine the activities of the brain (e.g., blood flow, chemo-electrical activity) that may be physical indicators of “mental processes” such as memory, compassion, attention, emotions, mindfulness, intention, and altruism. These advances have allowed scientists to begin to study what is happening in the brain during certain forms of meditative prayer practices. continue reading

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Andy Dreitcer has been invited to participate in a gathering in Telluride, Colorado, July 7-10, “Exploring the Language of Mental Life,” sponsored by The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.

The proposed conference aims to serve as a catalyst to bringing a systematic approach to understanding the key terms of our mental life. It seeks to bring together into a dialogue the perspectives of (a) modern science –neuroscience as well as psychology -, (b) philosophy of mind, (c) Buddhist phenomenology and contemplative practice, and (d) clinical and contemporary therapeutic traditions, especially Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). A central aim of the conference is to develop clear understanding of the ways in which the key mental terms are developed, defined and applied in the specific disciplines, so that an ongoing lexicon can be created for the use of researchers in the various related fields.

Andy will be the sole researcher representing the Christian contemplative perspective.

You can find a description of conference and participants here.

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