ISCR 2018 Schedule

Schedule

Keynotes, Master Lectures,
Arts and Contemplative Practice

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Note: to view a live schedule that includes concurrent and poster sessions, last-minute changes, and updates, keep an eye out for the ISCR2018 app coming soon for your web browser or smartphone.

Thursday, November 8

5:00 pm – 6:15 pm
Opening Keynote
Master Lecture Panel “Contemplative Practice Enters the Digital Age”

Jack Kornfield, Acacia Parks, Tania Singer, and Darnell Lamont Walker
Moderated by Zindel Segal

Digital didactics, such as MOOCS and browser-based online programs have opened up realms of content to thousands who for reasons of geography, expense or convenience would otherwise not have had access to these materials. Allowing anyone around the world to take a course at Stanford or learn Geometry on Khan Academy has helped address educational inequalities due to social class and the opportunity divide between developed and developing countries. The same principles of e-learning used in these programs are among those used to digitize content that is interpersonal and interactional and the last 10 years has seen significant growth in Apps and online programs devoted to contemplative practices such as various forms of meditation, mindfulness and compassion. In the best of worlds, a program designed to provide training in contemplative practice via the web should have inputs from both contemplative teachers and technology experts. This would guarantee a measure of quality and integrity in what is being built and how it is being offered. Although numerous such programs already exist, their adherence to these principles is largely unknown, and this is potentially problematic.

This panel will discuss the pitfalls and promise of transferring practices that have been traditionally taught within a dyadic context onto an automated, online platform. Panelists who are active in this digital space will engage in an interactive conversation around a key set of questions/concerns, including:

  1. Meditation apps are accessed by millions of people and yet, strikingly few continue to use them one month later. Is this a positive or negative development, or something we don’t yet fully understand?
  2. Is there an experiential limit on how well contemplative practices can be taught through video and online interactivities in the absence of relationship with a contemplative teacher?
  3. Apps rely on constant notifications and reminders to engage users. Do they inadvertently reinforce the types of automatic, doing based mindsets that meditation practice is intended to address?
  4. How can we safeguard intentions to be of service to users from the desire to monetize their participation?
  5. Can we as a field set standards and educate users through the identification of programs that are high integrity exemplars of this work?
6:45 pm – 8:00 pm
Welcome Reception

Friday, November 9

6:00 am – 7:00 am
Yoga

Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman

7:15 am – 7:45 am
Contemplative Session

Jack Kornfield

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Standing Meditation and Qigong

Louis Komjathy

8:00 am – 8:30 am
Contemplative Session

Pir Zia Inayat Khan

9:30 am – 10:30 am
Keynote
Toward A Transformed Vision of Contemplative Education Centering Social Justice

Laura Rendon

Our world is currently being confronted with chilling social issues which call for a framework of contemplative education that fosters what Latina feminist theorist, Gloria Anzaldúa, called “conocimiento,” a high level of enlightenment fostered through creative contemplative practices such as art, poetry, dance and meditation. The path toward enlightenment connects inner work with public acts involving social change and personal transformation. This session will address the notion that the field of contemplative education can play a central role to engage students in liberatory and socially conscious deep learning experiences. This session will also seek to address a transformed vision of contemplative education that recognizes cultural patterns of oppression, incorporates theoretical lenses rooted in social justice, and employs a diverse ecology of culturally–validating contemplative practices.

10:45 am – 11:45 am
Master Lectures
Social Justice Panel: “From Awareness to Embodied Change: A Conversation Toward Contemplative Justice”

Panelists: Rhonda Magee, J.D., Helen Weng, Ph.D., Oliver Hill, Ph.D.

Moderator: Dominique Malebranche, Ph.D.

In her Keynote at ISCS 2016, Rhonda Magee posed the idea of “creating science that resonates with the suffering of the world” by considering how colorblindness and implicit bias impact contemplative research and practice communities. We are called to consider the ways in which it is necessary to move beyond identifying these individual factors toward exploring the barriers in institutional and structural systems in the contemplative field. The urge is to examine how contemplative culture supports conditions of silence related to systemic oppression, and how this culture represents the misapplication of deep contemplative principles. Therefore, we seek to increase our discernment to consistently address the blind spots of White American cis-male privilege that has been historically embedded in the sciences, organizational leadership and Western practice communities. This includes the blind spots (e.g., offloading, various forms of bypassing) and implicit assumptions of Western academic inquiry in general, and the limits of third-person inquiry. The dialogue will attempt to negotiate new trajectories for contemplative studies by focusing on embedded social power and privilege in research methodology, organizational bodies and leadership, as well as dismantling hierarchical structures that reinforce power and control in practice communities. It will attempt to bear witness to the process of critically interrogating contemplative studies and exploring examples of restructuring institutional practices toward equitable action. Furthermore, the panel will engage community members and scholars active in this critical contemplative inquiry around a key set of questions pertinent to structural reorganization and personal transformation in service of social justice.


Contemplative Studies Panel: “Contemplative Studies: What is it and what is next?”

Amishi Jha, Hal Roth, Ed Sarath

Moderated by Erin McCarthy

11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Lunch Break
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Master Lectures
Mindfulness Training in High Demand, Time-Pressured Real-world Settings: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Amishi Jha
The science and practice of mindfulness-based interventions have witnessed exponential growth in recent years with applications in diverse settings, including health care, education, the workplace, sports, and the military. Such expansion raises complex and engaging questions. This lecture will discuss efforts to offer short-form mindfulness training programs contextualized for various high demand, time-pressured groups. Three key questions will be discussed. 1. What are the key cognitive vulnerabilities in such groups? 2. Is short-form mindfulness training protective against these vulnerabilities? 3. If so, how can training delivery be made both scalable and sustainable? Our ongoing results suggest that there is promise. Yet, considerable challenges remain regarding research and implementation. Possible solutions will be discussed.


The Ceremony of Art: Mindfulness In Indigenous Art and Vision

Gregory Cajete

This lecture follows the tracks of the visionary/artist of Indigenous America as a path of mindfulness. The first track reveals the nature of dream and vision as viewed through the eyes and words of American Indian visionaries and artists, past and present. The second track explores the central role of vision in the context of Tribal educative endeavors. The third track reflects on the alchemy of the creative process from the perspective of transformation and orientation. The fourth track enters the realm of the Ceremony of Art as both a process and context for deep learning and understanding among Indigenous peoples. The integrated whole of Indigenous mindfulness becomes more apparent as we explore this dimension of that place that Indigenous people talk about, that place of dream and vision.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Concurrent Session I

Discussion and Paper Sessions across 12 rooms

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Concurrent Session II

Discussion and Paper Sessions across 12 rooms

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Poster Sessions

Community Resource Fair

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Contemplative Arts Evening Performance

Saturday, November 10

6:00 am – 7:00 am
Yoga

Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman

7:15 am – 7:45 am
Contemplative Session

Cynthia Bourgeault

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Standing Meditation and Qigong

Louis Komjathy

8:00 am – 8:30 am
Contemplative Session

Zvi Ish–Shalom

9:30 am – 10:30 am
Keynote
To Be of Benefit: The Promise of Contemplative Science and Practice

Sona Dimidjian, Ph.D.

In 2002, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote, “The desperate state of our world calls us to action…We all are responsible for creating a better future.” Over 15 years later, those words are no less true. Enormous suffering exists in our world today. Mental health problems and adversity are prevalent and impairing, including among our children and youth. Few people who need care receive it, and many existing interventions fail to provide sustained benefit. The social and personal costs of inattention to these problems are clear. A sense of commitment to creating a better future draws many of us to this field and together at this convention. How can we harness the promise of our field to be of benefit? How can we most effectively promote individual healing and social change? In this presentation, I put forth a conceptual and methodological framework and present empirical findings that direct us to better realize our potential, and avert paths of peril, during these critical times. I highlight ways in which we can work in partnership with one another and with communities guided by the intention to create a better future for all.

10:45 am – 11:45 am
Master Lectures
Integrating First–person Inquiry in the Higher Education Classroom

Judith Simmer–Brown

At the heart of contemplative pedagogy is the cultivation of what psychologist DeWit (1991) and neurobiologist Varela (1996) have called “first–person inquiry,” a method that valorizes critical subjectivity in science and social science endeavors. This lecture briefly surveys diverse theoretical foundations of this method, with emphasis on application to higher education teaching and learning in a variety of academic fields.

Drawing on paradigms developed at Naropa University, a 45–year experiment in contemplative higher education, we will explore how first–person inquiry may be cultivated in a variety of disciplines.  What does first–person inquiry add to the learning journey, and how do we ensure that it is not merely reinforcing opinion, anecdotal narrative, or bias? How do we create inclusive methods of contemplative inquiry that do not violate the agency and privacy of our students?  For example, in Naropa University’s undergraduate course on compassion, students train in first–person methods adapted from Buddhism while comparing their personal observations with those from compassion science. How can mindfulness or compassion practices be effectively adapted to a nonsectarian secular university setting without compromising its traditional profound methods?

In our investigation, we will pose key questions for further scientific inquiry:  Does contemplative training ensure introspective accuracy––that is, is first–person inquiry actually critical, and how?  Where are the challenges or blind spots? From a related perspective, one particularly important to higher education, can first–person inquiry be assessed and evaluated, and how?  The presentation concludes with practical examples from Naropa’s assessment methods from selected courses.


The Neural and Physiological Mechanisms Supporting Mindfulness–induced Pain Relief

Fadel Ziedan

Pain is a multidimensional experience that involves interacting sensory, cognitive, and affective factors, rendering the treatment of chronic pain challenging and financially burdensome. The widespread use of opioids to treat chronic pain has led to an opioid epidemic characterized by exponential growth in opioid misuse and addiction. The staggering statistics related to opioid use highlight the importance of developing, testing, and validating fast–acting non–pharmacological approaches to treat pain. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that has been found to significantly reduce pain in experimental and clinical settings. This master lecture will delineate findings from recent studies and unpublished work demonstrating that mindfulness meditation significantly attenuates pain through multiple, unique mechanisms. Fadel will demonstrate that mindfulness meditation attenuates pain by reducing low–level nociceptive processing through multiple, unique top–down and bottom–up integrated mechanisms. He will also present work showing that mindfulness–based analgesia is distinct from placebo and engages non–opioidergic processes, an important consideration for the millions of chronic pain patients seeking narcotic–free, self–facilitated pain therapy.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Lunch Break
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Master Lectures
Seeing Reality: Interdependence, Relationality and the Expansion of Contemplative Practice

Chikako Ozawa De–Silva

What is transformative insight, what methods lead to it, and what results come from it? Beyond short term benefits, lasting transformation from contemplative practice appears to come from shifts in the way practitioners see themselves, their experiences, their world, and others. Has the time come for a broader approach to contemplative practice, one that builds off of popular practices like mindfulness, attention training, open monitoring, and loving kindness, but that taps into our relationality to bring in forgiveness, gratitude, interdependence, mutual respect, humility, and common humanity through a fuller recognition of ourselves as social beings, not isolated practitioners? From a research perspective, are we ready to evaluate not just the individual health and psychological benefits of contemplative practice, but the quality, quantity and sustainability of transformative insights? One such method is self-examination through the eyes of others, as done in the Japanese practice of Naikan. At the intersection of therapy and meditation, this deceptively simple practice involves asking only three questions: “What have I received? What have I given back? What trouble have I caused?” It requires individuals to look at their past from the perspectives of others in their life, resulting in a confrontation with interdependence, one’s own and others’ fragility, and the system dynamics that have shaped and continue to shape one’s life. This approach to transformative insight hits both self-cherishing and the natural sense to see oneself as a self-made, self-sufficient individual, and invites us to develop a more comprehensive and expansive approach to contemplative practice.


Mindfulness to Meaning: Healing Hedonic Dysregulation in Addiction, Stress, and Pain with Mindfulness–Oriented Recovery Enhancement

Eric Garland

Meaning–making is fundamental to biological survival, insofar as hedonic valuation (i.e., “is this good for me, or bad for me?”) drives behavior to facilitate homeostatic goal attainment. Yet, the dysregulation of hedonic value is at the root of many of the most pressing maladies afflicting modern society, including addiction, stress, and chronic pain. For instance, the current opioid crisis may be propelled by a process of hedonic dysregulation that renders opioid misusers increasingly sensitive to stress, pain, and drug–related cues and increasingly insensitive to the pleasure and meaning derived from natural rewards in the social environment. To restore adaptive hedonic regulation, novel contemplative clinical interventions are needed. This lecture will describe the Mindfulness–to–Meaning Theory and its application to the development, optimization, and testing of one such contemplative intervention, Mindfulness–Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE). MORE is distinct from extant mindfulness–based interventions in that in unites traditional meditation practices with higher–order cognitive and affective strategies designed to reverse the downward shift in salience of natural reward relative to drug reward, representing a crucial tipping point to disrupt the progression of addiction. Behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging data from multiple NIH and DOD–funded clinical trials (completed and ongoing) will be presented to elucidate the effects of MORE on restructuring reward processes as a means of treating prescription opioid misuse and other addictive behaviors. Findings suggest that MORE may exert salutary effects on addiction and its comorbidities by enhancing the value of the most basic natural rewards, opening a path toward purpose, meaning, and self–transcendence.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Concurrent Session I

Discussion and Paper Sessions across 12 rooms

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm
Concurrent Session II

Discussion and Paper Sessions across 12 rooms

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Social Justice Breakout Session

Rev. angel Kyodo williams

This will be an experiential workshop that includes critical contemplative practice and dialogue through the lens of Radical Dharma (Kyodo williams, Owens, Syedullah, 2016). It will further expand one’s field of practice and develop the concept of a social justice orientation to extend more deeply into practice and related communities. The experience will highlight the inherent struggles to study contemplative practice as a means to alleviate suffering without understanding the legacy of oppression and its impact in practice, community and academia.


Sunday, November 11

6:00 am – 7:00 am
Yoga

Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman

7:15 am – 7:45 am
Contemplative Session

TBD

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Standing Meditation and Qigong

Louis Komjathy

8:00 am – 8:30 am
Contemplative Session

Matthieu Ricard

9:30 am – 10:30 am
Catherine Kerr Award Ceremony and Presentations

Tish Jennings

Education for Peace: Transforming our Schools with Mindfulness and Compassion

Educators and philosophers have pointed to the importance of quality education for building a peaceful world. This requires the intentional cultivation of wholesome school environments where students feel supported and encouraged to thrive. However, increasing demands on teachers have resulted in high levels of stress and burnout, which can hinder their sustained commitment to teach and their ability to support their students. Indeed, there is a growing teacher shortage that threatens education quality worldwide. How can we better prepare teachers for these demands so our students and teachers can thrive? Prof. Jennings will present evidence that mindfulness- and compassion-based approaches for teachers and students have the potential to transform our schools into safe, peaceful and nurturing spaces where our children and teens can thrive.


Norm Farb

How to Choose Between Beautiful Stories

Given the rising popularity of meditation and many scientific claims about its benefits, it seems important that we understand how and why contemplative practice works. Indeed, there are many wonderful, inspiring, and beautiful stories for why meditation is helpful, descriptions that often serve to justify a particular system of practice. Unfortunately, not all accounts agree on what makes a given practice effective. And, just like many technologies, our ability to benefit from contemplation does not mean we truly understand how it operates. So, how do we choose which beautiful story to believe? It may be that the scientific method can help—as long as we provide opportunities for empirical data to “push back” against ideas that are simple and attractive, but ultimately incorrect. Examples will be drawn from over a decade of research on meditation’s influence on the self, emotion, and well-being.

10:45 am – 11:45 am
Closing Keynote
Where Is This All Going, and What’s Love—and Insight, Embodied Wisdom, and Community—Got to Do With It?

Jon Kabat–Zinn

In this closing keynote, Jon will ask some hard questions about the mindfulness explosion and contemplative studies at the intersection and cutting edges of science, scholarship, society, and the larger world.  As background, it might be helpful to read his paper: “Too Early to Tell: The Potential Impact and Challenges—Ethical and Otherwise—Inherent in the Mainstreaming of Dharma in an Increasingly Dystopian World”

10:45 am – 11:45 am
Closing Remarks