The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
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2010 Events: Save the Date

2010 Mindfulness in Education Conference
March 19 - 21, 2010
Cambridge, MA

6th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative
Curriculum Development

August 8 - 13, 2010
Smith College
Northampton, MA

2nd Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education
September 24 - 26, 2010
Amherst College
Amherst, MA

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We've got lots of events lined up for fall 2009!

Educators will want to check out our continuing webinar series. This Thursday, Michelle Francl (professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr) will discuss her experiences adapting contemplative practices for use in the science classroom. On December 9th, Joel Upton (professor of art history at Amherst) will explore how the inner harmony nurtured by contemplative practice may be externalized and represented through architecture and art.

You may notice that our Fall 2009 Academic Retreat is not included on this list of upcoming events. That's because, I'm happy to report, it is full! If you would like to add your name to the waiting list, you may do so here.

For those who work in service to others--activists, caregivers, therapists, social workers, teachers--we hope that John Makransky's retreat on November 14th (Accessing our Best Inner Resources for Service and Social Action) will be valuable.

Mirabai Bush will also be giving a couple of public talks between now and the end of October, in Boston and NYC. Of course Mirabai has a lot of unique experience in bringing contemplative practices into contemporary settings, but she's also a great storyteller and a lot of fun. So, I recommend that you check out these talks, if you can.

As always, you can learn more about us and our upcoming events at

Have a wonderful autumn,


Carrie Bergman
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Upcoming Events: Fall 2009

Contemplative Practice in the Science Classroom: Practical approaches to the impractical / Impractical approaches to the practical

Michelle Francla Webinar with Michelle Francl,
Professor of Chemistry, Bryn Mawr
Thurs., October 22, 2009
3:00 - 4:00 pm EDT

Free for ACMHE members
$5.00 for non-members

Click Here to Register

Michelle Francl, 2008 Contemplative Practice Fellow, is professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr and a writer for Nature Chemistry.  She teaches writing and chemistry and embeds contemplative practices into both.  Her courses demonstrate the value of this approach for learning and doing science, where practice provides nascent scientists with another set of ways to reflect on their work in relationship to the larger world.  She explores the use of many practices adapted for classroom use including "stilling" (breath and body awareness), contemplative writing, "beholding" and lectio divina, and finds that a curriculum that includes contemplative practices has the potential not to merely produce science, but to form scientists.

About Webinar Registration
After submitting the registration form, you will be forwarded to a payment page. If you are a member of the ACMHE, disregard this step (webinars are free for members); if you are not a member, you must submit the $5 payment for your registration to be approved. After your registration has been approved, you will be sent instructions for connecting to the webinar.
If you have any questions regarding registration or connection, please email

Beyond Hard Times

Mirabai Bush & Bokara Legendre
Thurs., October 22, 2009
8:00 - 10:00 pm
New York Open Center, NYC

Click Here to Register

We don't need to be victims of circumstance; we can use difficult circumstances to grow, using courage, insight and humor. The evening will weave together practices and stories with dialogue and questions to help us see more clearly into our present situation, develop kindness, let go of fear and communicate a transformed story.

Bokara Legendre and Mirabai BushBokara Legendre, artist, writer and TV host, will share stories from her explorations in the far corners of the world to heal body and heart, and Mirabai Bush, who has taught meditation to unlikely students from Google engineers to Army chaplains and medics, will lead the practices.

How We Live Now: The Power of Mindfulness in Shaping American Public Life
A Talk by Mirabai Bush
Weds., October 28, 2009, 7:00 pm
Newton, MA

Click Here to Register

We often think of meditative practice as only personal, separate from our lives at work and in community. But the transformations that often happen with regular contemplative practice-more patience, compassion, insight, wise discernment, and action, for example-can play a part in positive changes in our organizations, businesses, professions, and community life. Mirabai will share her insights and experiences in bringing mindfulness into American life, from Google to Yale Law School, from higher education to the US Army. She will also share practices that cultivate mindfulness in daily life.

2009 Mindfulness in Education Conference
Oct. 30 - Nov. 1, 2009
Oakland, CA

While tickets last, enter discount code "mindfulness003" to receive 50% off registration!

Click Here to Register

The Role of Mental Strengths in Developing Athletic and Academic Excellence

Keynote Address by George Mumford
Friday, October 30th, 2009
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tech High School, Oakland CA
Cost: $25

George T. Mumford is a Sports Psychology Consultant, Personal and Organizational Development Consultant, Executive Coach and a Teacher. As part of Phil Jackson's support staff, he worked with the Los Angeles Lakers (1999-2003) and the Chicago Bulls (1993-1998). George will draw on his experience working with elite athletes, inner city populations, corporate executives and prison inmates to explore the mental strengths that create the foundation for excellence.

Conference for Educators, Counselors and Administrators
Saturday, October 31st, 2009
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Tech High School, Oakland CA     
Cost: $95 (includes breakfast and lunch)

Research shows that mindfulness skills enhance concentration, attention, emotional balance, physical well-being, and openness to learning. Educational institutions including early childhood centers, public and private school systems, and national universities have embraced mindfulness as valuable educational practice. Join educational colleagues to explore the cutting edge of deep learning.
Day of Mindfulness
Sunday, November 1st, 2009
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Park Day School, Oakland, CA
Cost: $60

In this full-day workshop participants will explore the many ways in which mindfulness can deepen and enrich their experience of life. Through direct instruction, mindfulness practice, and group exercises, participants will learn potent new tools for living
Information and Registration:
Call: (650) 575-5780
While tickets last, enter discount code "mindfulness003" to receive 50% off registration!
Association for Mindfulness in Education 
Mindfulness in Education Network 
Mindful Schools 
Friends Council on Education 
Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

a retreat with John Makransky

Accessing our Best Inner Resources for Service and Social Action: Meditations of Natural Wisdom and Compassion

with John Makransky, PhD
Assisted by Julie Forsythe and Leah Weiss Ekstrom
Sat., November 14, 2009
10 am to 5 pm; Registration from 9:30-10 am
First Churches, Main Street, Northampton, MA

Click Here to Register

Registration fee: $75.00
Scholarships available; students may attend for free

Co-sponsored by the Foundation for Active Compassion and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

This day-long retreat is for people who serve others, whether professionally, at home or in their community, and who want to revitalize their spiritual lives in action. It is both for new and experienced meditators: social workers, social justice activists, teachers, therapists, pastors, health care providers, hospice volunteers, people taking care of elderly parents, etc. To be effective in service and social action, we need to embody the deepest spirit and motivation of our work. But our work can be so challenging that we get overwhelmed or burned out, losing our compassionate connection to others, experiencing more frustration and anger than joy. The meditation practices offered in this retreat can help participants return to their deepest inspiration, energy and motivation for action so as to embody the spirit of service that inspires others.

Participants will be guided in powerful meditations of compassionate communion and presence adapted from the Tibetan tradition in newly accessible ways for people of all backgrounds and faiths. These meditations help the mind relax into its most natural state of tranquility, openness and simplicity, a place of deep rest and replenishment, where we can be more fully present and attuned to self and others. The retreat provides guided meditation, lively discussion and instruction on bringing the practice home into relationships, service and social action.

View the flyer for the event. We encourage you to print one out and post it, or save a copy on your computer and email it to your friends and coworkers.

John MakranskyJohn Makransky has practiced meditations of wisdom and compassion from Tibetan Buddhism for thirty years and has pioneered new ways of taking them into the worlds of social service and social justice by making them newly accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths.  A professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College and senior advisor to the Centre for Buddhist Studies in Nepal, John was ordained a Tibetan Buddhist lama in 2000.  He is co-founder and guiding teacher of the Foundation for Active Compassion, which provides contemplative training for social justice and service.  John is the author of Awakening through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness (Wisdom Publications, 2007;

Webinar: Visualizing Contemplation

with Joel Upton, Professor of Art History, Amherst College
Weds., December 8, 2009
3:00 - 4:00 pm ET
Free for ACMHE members; $5.00 for non-members

Click Here to Register

Joel Upton"In my experience, contemplative knowing is an especially potent reality, but it is interior. Although we often speak about contemplative knowing, we normally practice contemplation in silence and within the inescapable solitude of our being. There are, of course, obvious musical and dance alternatives to still, even shared, silence. Nevertheless, the contemplative goal remains the inner peace and heightened awareness contemplative practice will foster. Beyond the manifestation of outer calm through inner harmony, however, one might ask how specifically this essentially interior and private reality might be made explicitly public for others to see and perhaps emulate. With this question in mind, my presentation will attempt to visualize contemplation as one way to exteriorize and communicate this interior reality.

Using images and schematic drawings, I will offer an exemplary model that draws on meditative space as one might find it in Japan generally and in the sub-temple of Daisen-in at Daitoku-ji in Kyoto. Although I will give a Japanese name, "ainoma," to the conceptual reality that informs this space, I will relate this particular visualization of contemplation to the more familiar language of Simone Weil and Henry David Thoreau."

About Webinar Registration
After submitting the registration form, you will be forwarded to a payment page. If you are a member of the ACMHE, disregard this step (webinars are free for members); if you are not a member, you must submit the $5 payment for your registration to be approved. After your registration has been approved, you will be sent instructions for connecting to the webinar.
If you have any questions regarding registration or connection, please email
Recommended New Books

You Don't Have to Be Buddhist to Know Nothing: An Illustrious Collection of Thoughts on Naught

by Joan Konner

Whether a subject of dread or of fascination, nothing (often spelled with a capital "N") has intrigued writers, philosophers, and scientists since ancient times. In this sound-bite history of the concept of nothing, distinguished journalist Joan Konner (a longtime Center board member and Dean Emerita of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism) has created a unique anthology devoted to, well, ... nothing. The collection brings together, in one portable volume, the thoughts of well-known writers and philosophers, artists and musicians, poets and playwrights, geniuses and jokers, demonstrating that some of the finest minds explored, feared, confronted, experienced, and played with the real or imagined presence of nothing in their lives. 

You Don't Have to Be Buddhist to Know Nothing shows that, like many Eastern sages, deep thinkers in the West also recognized and pondered nonexistence as an essential component and complement of existence itself. Organized in short topical chapters from "Knowing Nothing" to the "Joy of Unknowing" and "Nothing is Sacred," the verbal snapshots captured in this collection create a coherent work of insight, wisdom, humor and wonder.

Civil Society

by Michael Edwards

Since its publication in 2004, Civil Society has become a standard work of reference for all those who seek to understand the role of voluntary citizen action in the contemporary world.

In this thoroughly-revised edition, Michael Edwards (currently serving on the Board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society) updates the arguments and evidence presented in the original and adds major new material on issues such as civil society in Africa and the Middle East, global civil society, information technology and new forms of citizen organizing. He explains how in the future the pressures of state encroachment, resurgent individualism, and old and familiar forces of nationalism and fundamentalism in new clothes will test and re-shape the practice of citizen action in both positive and negative ways. This new edition will be required reading for anyone who is interested in creating a better world through voluntary citizen action.