Week 1: Settling the Mind

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Your Brain on Meditation an article by Kelly McGonigal. A great review of research demonstrating how meditation can lead to improved attention, reduction of stress, and more compassion.

“Meditation: It’s Not What You Think”  Mind and Life Institute



Shauna Shapiro on the Power of Mindfulness – TedTalk (14 mins)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeblJdB2-Vo

John Kabat-Zin on mindfulness (5 ½ mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmEo6RI4Wvs

Thupten Jinpa on developing Compassion (A Fearless Heart) (57 mins)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_gV3voD7MY

Thupten Jinpa (3½ mins) http://bigthink.com/videos/thupten-jinpa-on-modern-day-compassion

Thupten Jinpa (29 mins)  Thupten Jinpa defining compassion  defining compassion for scientific research.

Dacher Keltner on the evolutionary roots of Compassion (5 mins)  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition

Kelly McGonigal (20 mins)  reviewing research on the default mode network  Note: her audience are Buddhist meditation instructors, so some the language may or may not be familiar – please focus on the science she reviews



Goleman D. & Davidson R. (2017) Science of Meditation: How to Change your Brain, Mind and Body

Goleman D. & Davidson R. (2017) Altered Traits: Science Reveals how Meditation Changes your Mind, Brain and Body



 Jazaieri, Jinpa and McGonigal (2012):  Enhancing Compassion: A Randomized control trial of a compassion cultivation training program.  Journal of Happiness Studies. Jazaieri et al 2012 Journal of Happiness Studies 
“Compared to the waitlist control condition, CCT resulted in significant improvements in all three domains of compassion—compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. The amount of formal meditation practiced during CCT was associated with increased compassion for others. Specific domains of compassion can be intentionally cultivated in a training program. These findings may have important implications for mental health and well-being.”

Jazaieri, Jinpa and McGonigal (2012):  A Randomized control trial of compassion cultivation training: effects on mindfulness, affect and emotion regulation.  Motivation and Emotion Journal  Jazaieri et al., 2013 Motivation and Emotion

“CCT resulted in increased mindfulness and happiness, as well as decreased worry and emotional suppression. Within CCT, the amount of formal meditation practiced was related to reductions in worry and emotional suppression. These findings suggest that compassion cultivation training effects cognitive and emotion factors that support psychological flexible and adaptive functioning.”

Mark G. Williams & Jon Kabat-Zinn (2011) Mindfulness: diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma. Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12:01, 1-18,

“In the cultivation of mindfulness in secular settings, a spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding is central. This is one reason why we take pleasure in the coming together of Buddhist scholars, scientists, educators and clinicians in this format and are optimistic about its value. Our hope is that this kind of scholarly inquiry and cross-discipline dialogue will continue and will yield new fruit, and nourish our ongoing understanding and practice of the meditative disciplines that rest firmly on a foundation of respect for the traditional understandings of dharma and value remaining faithful to those understandings in new and appropriate ways.”

 Shapiro (2006): Mechanisms of mindfulness.  Journal of Clinical Psychology Mechanisms of Mindfulness” by Shauna Shapiro and colleagues

“Recently, the psychological construct mindfulness has received a great deal of attention. The majority of research has focused on clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulnessbased interventions. This line of research has led to promising data suggesting mindfulnessbased interventions are effective for treatment of both psychological and physical symptoms. However, an equally important direction for future research is to investigate questions concerning mechanisms of action underlying mindfulnessbased interventions. This theoretical paper proposes a model of mindfulness, in an effort to elucidate potential mechanisms to explain how mindfulness affects positive change.”