by Geri Loizzo
The Mindfulness Revolution has helped many taste a life of more clarity and ease, but the promise and depth of traditional Mindfulness goes much deeper. Our Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (CPP) Mindfulness Year will not only update you on the latest research and practical applications of mindfulness, self-compassion, and loving-kindness, but will also ground you in the profound wisdom and vast healing power of the timeless contemplative science and practice of Buddhist psychology, meditation, and ethics.
Current views on spiritual bypassing—using our practice to avoid difficult emotions or situations—are a good case in point. In this CPP class video, Joe Loizzo MD, PhD, Nalanda Institute Founder and Academic Director, explains the rigorous way Buddhist Psychology counteracts bypassing from the get-go while also challenging the opposite problem of spiritual nihilism that afflicts psychology today, a problem he calls psychological cave-dwelling.
Editor’s Note: Find out more about this year’s Contemplative Psychotherapy Programs. Offerings begin this fall.
by Dr. Joe Loizzo
I recently had the pleasure of connecting (in person!) with contemplative neuroscientist David Vago and some of our mutual friends at the inaugural meeting of the International Society of Contemplative Research (ISCR) he founded with Nalanda Institute board member Doris Chang and others. Set on the lovely campus of the UC San Diego, the meeting brought together Buddhist scholars, neuroscientists, social justice researcher-activists and clinical researchers to explore the future of interdisciplinary dialogue and inquiry in the fast-growing field of contemplative science and practice.
by Geri Loizzo
Editor’s note: Read on and then enjoy all of the videos from this special in-person event.
The laws of impermanence teach us that things are changing all the time — a teaching that has been especially apparent in the time of covid. Like all institutions of learning, Nalanda Institute has had to adapt to the change from in-person contact to online classes. For many of us, keeping a feeling of connection and intimacy in the little square boxes of Zoom has posed a challenge, even as the benefits of becoming more accessible to new friends connecting around the globe have been felt and greatly appreciated. While not IRL (in real life), you could say this new accessibility has provided more opportunities to experience a wider variety of the courses and daily meditation offerings IRT (in real time). Still, for some, the yearning for an in-person experience has been brewing for quite some time!
by Dan Donohue
On November 15th 2022, Dr. Joe Loizzo and Elazar Aslan, co-authors and co-developers of the Boundless Leadership award-winning book and program, offered a 90-minute webinar in which they shared three counter-intuitive steps (and the science behind these steps) to improving our relationships. The webinar also included a guided compassion meditation — a key ingredient to improving our social interactions. Joe and Elazar also took questions from the audience and discussed real world answers to questions such as ‘How do I feel compassion for coworkers that are mean and aggressive?’ and ‘How do I recover from feelings of shame after being put down by a coworker or boss?’
This short class introduced just a few aspects of becoming a Boundless Leader. The Boundless Leadership program was developed to help people optimize their whole being — mind, heart and body — to make better decisions, engage more deeply with others and overcome internal fears that limit their ability to realize their full potential, whether at work, or in their personal lives.
The Boundless Leadership program begins anew January 2023.
Learn more and register
Save 20% with our Earlybird discount if you register by November 30th!
by Nalanda Institute
On June 22, 2022, Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science along with the Wharton Center for Leadership and the Wharton Center for Human Resources hosted a panel discussion called The Great Return to Work: Ensuring Individual and Organizational Wellbeing in the New Normal.(more…)
by Nalanda Institute
On February 18, 2022 Nalanda Institute was honored to host an online Community Gathering with one of our favorite faculty, Sharon Salzberg, in dialogue with Nalanda Institute’s founder and academic director, Dr. Joe Loizzo.
It was a remarkable evening filled with mindfulness and loving-kindness meditations guided by Sharon Salzberg. Sharon also shared recollections and lessons from her life-long practice and teachings of loving-kindness.
(Video and audio documentation in English, Spanish and Portuguese may be found below)
In his Stages of the Altruist’s Path, the 5th century Nalanda master, Asanga, taught that gratitude emerges from acknowledging the kindness and the care we’ve been shown by all of life—the kindness of our parents in giving us life, of our human ancestors in tending and caring for the earth and creating our culture and way of life; and the kindness of nature that’s generative and sustains life. This practice requires accepting all of the difficulties and the harm we see and have experienced in a knowing but not passive way; yet sincerely remembering and connecting with all of the good. This is especially relevant as some prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Although it’s a holiday many recognize as an opportunity to express gratitude, it is also a national day of mourning for Native Americans. We must name and honor the entirety of this history. It is what’s necessary for gratitude to emerge.
by Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD
It’s no secret that our work lives are becoming ever-more complex, fast-paced and stressful in our global, digital age. We need only look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the workplace to see how rapidly and radically the conditions of living and working in today’s fluid environment can change. At the same time, the pandemic has also laid bare pressing social and environmental needs—for true racial, gender and financial equity, and for a more sustainable economy—that demand fundamental changes in the way we think, live and lead.
by Joe Loizzo
Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from Tarka, Volume 0, “Yoga Philosophy, On the Scholar-Practitioner,” a publication from Embodied Philosophy. The full article is available here as well, courtesy of Embodied Philosophy.
Have you ever wondered why the trend in modern science, scholarship, and practical expertise seems inexorably headed in one direction— towards more and more narrow specialization? I have. Since I was a teen, for some odd reason, this trend has felt so wrong to me that, in hindsight, much of my adult life and work have been dedicated to answering that question and reversing the trend. Here’s some of what I’ve learned and done on my journey thus far to bring the pieces of our humanity back together again. […]
By Elazar Aslan
“That was a terrible meeting,” my client said in exasperation. “Honestly, I think they had their mind made up and nothing I did really mattered. Apparently they’ve had conversations about my project that did not even include me. There’s no way I can win…I really can’t take it anymore. I need to find a way out of here.”
As an executive coach, this is not an uncommon starting point for a conversation. Every day I try to guide my clients to use the challenges of the workplace to strengthen their capacity to go inwards and find a skillful response. Using clarity and self-awareness, we all can grow to avoid the negative consequences of a reactive mind. My clients learn early in our relationship that true leadership is borne from the radical leadership of self.
Editor’s Note: Nalanda Institute’s Director, Dr. Joe Loizzo recently sat down with Dr. Emma Seppälä for a conversation about compassion science and their hopes for the future. Dr. Seppälä is the Science Director at The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research at Stanford University. We present a small portion of their conversation here.
Dr. Seppälä is also our Guest of Honor at our 10th Annual Benefit on June 12th. Her talk entitled “Compassion Science: Healing Our Interconnected World” further explores the topics presented here. Find out more about our forthcoming benefit.
Joe Loizzo: Welcome, Emma, and thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me about your work in the science of compassion. First of all, maybe you could fill us in about how you found your way to your unusual career.
Emma Seppälä: While I was doing my master’s degree at Columbia in East Asian languages in the late 90’s, I took a class with Bob Thurman, and decided to focus on Buddhist Studies. That lead me to the seminar you gave on Science, Spirituality and Healing in the Tibetan tradition, where I remember you urged me to go to a talk at Union Seminary by Richie Davidson and Dan Goleman on meditation research, remember?
By Joe Loizzo
Editor’s Note: In this post Nalanda Institute’s Founder and Director, Dr. Joe Loizzo reviews two books written and edited by Dr. Emma Seppälä, this year’s Guest of Honor at our 10th Annual Benefit (June 12, 2019). As you’ll see, her writing, research, and position as Science Director of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research aligns perfectly with Nalanda Institute’s mission. Read on to find out more about compassion in action.
Review: The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success (HarperOne, 2016), by Emma Seppälä, Ph.D.
For most of the modern age, our scientific view of human nature and our understanding of the social emotion of compassion have been drifting further and further apart. This is no accident. It reflects the widening gulf between modern science and religious ethics that has caused such a troubling divide in human culture and consciousness in our age. Specifically it reflects an intentional distortion of Darwin’s view of human “fitness” to mean that the traditional ethical values of love and compassion conflict with our natural strengths, and that such emotions are in fact sentimental weaknesses. Quietly over the last five decades, biology has begun to heal the modern divide and expose this distortion, helping us rediscover the wisdom in Darwin’s observation that “communities with the greatest number of sympathetic members would flourish best.”
by Fiona Brandon
During our recent Mindfulness Year fall retreat, Joe Loizzo emphasized to the cohort that the development of the self is “a creative project,” but one that is not always in our favor. “There is a tendency once we make an interpretation [about ourselves or an experience]…to forget it was an interpretation. [We] just stamp it with the seal of reality because for one moment [the interpretation] was serviceable.” It can be shocking to look under the hood of this habitual pattern and see that we create lifelong fundamental beliefs about ourselves, and the world around us, based on interpretations that may have been true in one moment, but are inaccurate for subsequent moments in our lives!
by Fiona Brandon
When Sharon Salzberg lead San Francisco’s 2017 Spring Mindfulness Year retreat, she playfully challenged the notion that Mindfulness, “Seems to imply a complacency: be in the present moment without reacting. Sounds dull!” The students laughed. I appreciated how Sharon addressed the popular misunderstanding that the goal of mindfulness meditation is to have no thoughts and sit in some kind of fixed non-reactive state. When in reality, the four foundations of mindfulness — the main meditation practices taught during the Mindfulness Year of the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program — are anything but static.