By Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD
I write this sickened by what has come to feel like a new normal: each week another outbreak of the epidemic of gut-wrenching violence that has been eating away at our body politic, increasingly in recent years. The latest blow: thirty one innocent people killed in El Paso and Dayton—including the people of color, women and Mexican nationals targeted—by two young white men infected with the violent ideologies of white nationalism and toxic masculinity. How can such tragedies happen here and now? How can families back-to-school shopping and couples on date nights be unsafe in twenty-first century America? While the voices of white blindness point the finger at mental illness or video games, mental health professionals, women, gender non-conforming individuals and people of color—for very different reasons—know better. This kind of violence is directed every minute every day at people with black or brown skin, couples of mixed race, all women, the LGBTQA+ community, refugees, immigrants and at those who practice non-Christian faiths such as Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
By Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD
Editor’s note: Joe will be teaching a new course this fall in the Sustainable Happiness program. Learn the potent art of role-modeling imagery in the Nalanda tradition to enable deep transformation. More here.
How can a face launch a thousand ships? Why do lullabies quiet an infant’s cries? Must we be mystics to “still our beating hearts”? Over millions of lifetimes, we mammals evolved a range of special neural structures that have equipped us for an increasingly social life. Three of these help resolve a puzzle that has long stumped modern science: Why do archetypal images, prayers and gestures exert a stubborn hold even on scientifically schooled minds? Breakthroughs in the neuroscience of empathy, emotions and our conscious control of the breath have radically changed our view of our nature, helping explain the stubborn power of spiritual imagery, prayers and ritual.
By Helen Park
Students from a previous year present their Capstone Projects during a year-end celebratory dinner.
The 2018–19 Compassion Year was an inspired and challenging year full of transitions and growth for us all at the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program in New York City. Over the course of the year, our dedicated and altruistic cohort of practitioners, therapists, coaches, educators, healthcare professionals, and artists engaged with the Mahayana teachings of lojong (“mind training”), Shantideva’s fourfold teachings on compassion, Vajrayana visualization practices, as well as contemporary neuropsychology and research. One of the primary goals of this program is to support our students in a process of embodied learning so that they may take these teachings and implement them into their lives and work, and one of the pathways toward this goal is the Capstone Project.