The Mind and Life Institute can be found on http://www.mindandlife.org/

Founded in 1987 it was largely the inspiration of the current Dalai Lama. Its aim is to bring together contemplative practitioners and the academic community to investigate contemplative states and their value. Although it has a largely Buddhist orientation, it is not confined to Buddhists.

One of their current offerings is the 2015 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute (MLSRI) to be held from 13-19 June 2015 at the Garrison Institute, Garrison NY. The topic is ‘Fear and Trust in Self and Society’. (For anyone interested, the application deadline is 18 February,) The Institute says:

“This is is a week-long program to advance collaborative research among scientists, contemplative scholars, other humanities scholars, and contemplative practitioners, based on a process of inquiry and dialogue. With this unique program, we are not only nurturing a new generation of scientists interested in exploring the influence of contemplative practice and meditation on the mind, but are also fostering the development of new fields of research collectively referred to as the ‘contemplative sciences.’ This year’s institute will be held June 13-19, 2015 and will be located at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley.

“The 2015 MLSRI will be devoted to examining fear, trust, and social relationships. Presentations and discussions will draw on research in both the sciences and the humanities, including neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, religion, and contemplative studies. Over the week, we will explore biological and experiential aspects of fear, its influence on our cognition and emotion, and its expression in both healthy states and clinical disorders. Critically, we’ll also be examining the role of trust and interpersonal connection as a counterpoint to fear, so we will also address the protective functions of secure attachment and compassion. Finally, we will ask how contemplative practices might be used to help us work with fear and cultivate social bonds.

“We encourage interested scholars to apply as either a Research Fellow or Senior Investigator:

  • Research Fellow candidates include students in contemplative traditions, as well as undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in relevant academic fields.
  • Senior Investigator candidates are established researchers, faculty, teachers, scholars, or practitioners in a relevant field.

“We are now accepting applications online. Applications close on February 18, and applicants will be notified of selection by April 3. There is a $45 application fee. The all-inclusive program cost is $525 for Research Fellows and $775 for Senior Investigators. For more information, please visit our event website: MLSRI 2015.”

Although I sometimes worry about topics like this becoming over-academic, I like the way in which contemplative inquiry is being given increasing attention through initiatives such as  the Mind and Life Institute.