Building a scientific understanding of the mind to reduce suffering and promote well-being...
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Heartfelt leaders will inspire everyone else to endure this year and the next, and will cause them to be courageous as they take risks and do things newly.
The call to lead requires those who are willing to sail into uncharted waters. This particular moment calls for exquisite leaders, those who know the depth and breadth of the need, who have been gifted (or cursed) with a vision of what might be and who are inspired enough for others to follow by choice.
As a nation, Americans are a hopeful people. It comes from our roots and explains why immigrants still come here. We are the land of opportunity. Our schools are critically linked to this national identity. Schools create hopeful futures. Yes, our success is measured now by performance on tests but our work is the future. Policy makers fear that we have or will fail. This fear has defined our current reality. They call upon us to restore the competitive edge for the nation. It may not be fair but it is fact.
Rick Hess, in his new book Cage-Busting Leadership, describes present leadership as being like Sisyphus, rolling a boulder up a mountain for eternity. "You take a leadership job full of hope and big-picture vision, and then are suddenly swamped wooing community players, stamping out fires, answering e-mails, dealing with irate parents, or running from meeting to meeting. Before you know it, you're working long days, every day, just to keep things from blowing up. The result is a loss of focus, a tendency to fall back on "more, better" strategies, and a lack of time or energy for precise, creative, empathetic problem-solving" (p. 209). This is not leadership. This may not even allow for excellent management. It certainly will not lead to systemic change. And it is rarely ever connected to the heart of the leader.
So, let's consider the relationship between heart and leaders and leadership. Let's go to the source. The root of the word courage from both its French and Latin origins is the word that means heart. There are seldom courses or meetings in which leaders discuss the growth of the heart or evidence of leading by heart.
We propose another source. Ask a child what is in their heart and you will likely hear a combination of facts, feelings and fantasy. Ask an adult and you will likely hear what they know or think. Let us restore ourselves by learning from the children. And let's not be complicate in leading educational systems where children lose heart. Let's instead lead systems where the hearts of the children, their clarity and confidence and simple goodness lead us. Then we will always remember who and what we serve.
Starting in June, colleges that want to deliver their own massive open online courses will be able to use a free software platform developed jointly by Stanford University and edX, the nonprofit MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The move is a merger of sorts between two previously competing software-development projects with the same goal. EdX has long said it would make the software it built to power its MOOCs freely available to anyone as an open-source package. And Stanford was working on Class2Go, its own free software for online courses. Now the two software teams will work together and focus on developing a single platform.
Here’s where it gets confusing. Despite the joint work on software development, Stanford has no plans to join edX as a partner, and it will not offer courses via edX. Instead, Stanford will create its own branded presence, with the jointly built software platform powering it in the background. Stanford will also continue to deliver some courses through Coursera, a company started by two Stanford professors that is now working with highly selective colleges around the world.
CD's replaced cassettes, and they in turn have been replaced by MP3's. GPS's replaced printed maps, and they are now being replaced by cellphones, which also happened to have replaced pay phones and many other products. There are lots of examples, but the outcome is the same:
New products replace older products, and those older products become obsolete. The new products are better or cheaper or more appealing to consumers. It is not just how capitalism works; it is alsowhy it works.
That dynamic is the wheels on the metaphorical car of the market system. Sure, some people are made worse off as a result, but the benefits to consumers and other producers generally far exceed the costs to those who are hurt. In the end, society as a whole is better off, and the car keeps moving forward. As for those who lose their jobs, well, they can go back to school to get trained with new skills and eventually find another job that is more relevant to the current needs and desires of society.
That's a description of creative destruction, and basically how I have always taught the process to my students. More than that, I have always believed it to be true. But in the case of MOOCs (massive open online courses), I've allowed myself to hold onto some doubt.
No one knows for sure how popular MOOCs will become or exactly how they will alter higher education. However, given the current trajectory, it seems inevitable that, at some point, college students will have the option of taking a course with a person in a classroom or as a MOOC for an equivalent number of credits. The MOOC option will not offer the same experience, students may not find it as enjoyable, and they may not learn as much, but it will be available at a fraction of the cost of the in-person alternative. Many students will choose the MOOC, and no one should berate them for it. It is a very rational decision.
When the MOOC is a viable option, it will probably not significantly affect most large public research and elite private institutions. Those institutions sell more than an education or a degree; they offer a college experience and a level of prestige that will not diminish as a result of online courses. Some institutions will benefit from such courses.
But at smaller, lower-ranked institutions like mine—those typically with a city rather than a state in their names—MOOCs present a greater concern. Cost is a more important factor for our students in deciding whether and where to enroll. We would see decreased enrollment and tuition revenue, and without an unexpected increase in public support, we would be forced to further reduce the number of tenure-track faculty positions and/or compensation to current faculty members as a result.
Which is just another example of creative destruction: Something that is more appealing to consumers is offered that makes the older product obsolete. But this time,I am that older product. So I ask myself, will society as a whole be better off as a result? I know what the economics textbooks say, and I know what I have always told my students. But it is a lot easier to believe in a theory when it is about the world in general, rather than about your world in particular.
When I talk about creative destruction with my students now, I am not quite as dogmatic as I used to be. I tell them that there are exceptions to every theory. I do not tell them that I hope that I am one of them.
To complete her homework assignment, Meran Hill needed total concentration. The University of Washington senior shut the blinds in her studio apartment. She turned off the music. She took a few deep breaths.
Then she plunged into the task: Spend 15 minutes doing e-mail. Only e-mail, and nothing else.
Soon enough, though, a familiar craving bubbled up. For some people, the rabbit hole of Internet distraction begins with cat videos. For Ms. Hill, who calls herself "a massive weather geek," it starts with a compulsion to check conditions in outer space.
As Ms. Hill plowed through e-mails, the voice beckoned: If I could only just leave and go to Spaceweather.com ...
But the assignment had her trapped. After a while, she says, staying on e-mail felt more natural.
The e-mail drill was one of numerous mind-training exercises in a unique class designed to raise students' awareness about how they use their digital tools. Colleges have experimented with short-term social-media blackouts in the past. But Ms. Hill's course, "Information and Contemplation," goes way further. Participants scrutinize their use of technology: how much time they spend with it, how it affects their emotions, how it fragments their attention. They watch videos of themselves multitasking and write guidelines for improving their habits. They also practice meditation—during class—to sharpen their attention.
Their professor, David M. Levy, sees these techniques as the template for a grass-roots movement that could spur similar investigations on other campuses and beyond. Mr. Levy hopes to open a fresh window on the polarized cultural debate about Internet distraction and information abundance.
At its extreme, that debate plays out in the writing of authors whom the critic Adam Gopnik has dubbed the Never-Betters and the Better-Nevers. Those camps duke it out over whether the Internet will unleash vast reservoirs of human potential (Clay Shirky) or destroy our capacity for concentration and contemplation (Nicholas Carr).
On college campuses, meanwhile, educators struggle to manage what the Stanford University multitasking researcher Clifford Nass describes as a radical shift in the nature of attention. Mr. Nass, who lives in a freshman dormitory as a "dorm parent," sees that shift on students' screens. They write papers while toggling among YouTube and Facebook and Spotify. They text and talk on smartphones. They hang out in lounges where the TV is on.
BODIES OF LIGHT by Lee Vickers with Audiobook, book, E-Team energy challenge, and Online 8 Week Course for Bodies of Light- Enlightenment for every body and by every body, I mean bringing light in your physical body, like doing acupuncture on your...
The contemporary study of spirituality encompasses a wide range of interests. These have come not only from the more traditional areas of religious scholarship—theology, philosophy of religion, history of religion, comparative religion, mysticism—but also more recently from management, medicine, and many other fields.
This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to expand the range of ideas, fields, and locales of Spiritual work for the 3rd Global Conference. Perspectives are sought from those engaged in the fields of Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation, Business, Counseling, Ecology, Education, Healing, History, Management, Mass/Organisational/Speech Communication, Medicine, Nursing, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Reconciliation/Refugee/Resettlement Projects, Social Work, and Theatre. These disciplines are indicative only, as papers are welcomed from any area, profession and/or vocation in which Spirituality plays a part.
The Tree of Contemplative Practices
The Tree illustrates some of the contemplative practices that have been developed over the past few thousand years. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list; the practices listed on the Tree are drawn from those mentioned by survey respondents during our 2001-2004 research project.
Since its inception in 1974, Naropa University has been a pioneer of contemplative education.
Contemplative Education—Master of Arts
The low-residency Contemplative Education master's degree at Naropa University is designed for classroom teachers at all levels—pre-K through college—as well as people interested in transforming teaching and learning.
Combining the study of holistic Western educational theory and philosophy with Eastern meditation practices, the low-residency MA in Contemplative Education will give you a strong foundation in contemplative teaching, curriculum development, and personal awareness.
Students who graduate with a degree in Contemplative Education are uniquely prepared to create compassionate and successful learning communities and effect meaningful educational reform—in the classroom and beyond.
Teacher educator Peter Skillen reflects on the role of passion in learning, highlighting the research and reminding us that emotion energizes the brain. Mesmerize!
“You can’t separate intellect and feelings in the work of the mind. They’re both there all the time. Real learning—attentive real learning, deep learning—is playful and frustrating and joyful and discouraging and exciting and sociable and private all at the same time, which is what makes it great.” ~ Eleanor Duckworth
Know when to memorize. Know when to mesmerize!
If we want students to learn deeply and efficiently we need to understand the role emotions play in different types of learning. We could spend much time discussing what it means to learn. In fact, Seymour Sarason has a whole book called “And What Do You Mean by Learning?”
Without getting into it too deeply, we could probably agree that we want students to acquire some knowledge, skills and attitudes. So how should kids ‘get that knowledge’? A constructivist approach would suggest that kids need to assimilate information into existing schema or indeed construct new schema to accommodate new information and ideas. Lev Vygotsky might add that this happens best in a social setting.
Should Students Memorize Content?
Other approaches would involve getting students to memorize content or procedural knowledge. While I believe there are times when this is quite appropriate, rote memorization continues to be an overused strategy that is often implemented without a deep understanding of its nuances. It becomes “memorization of decontextualized facts” rather than “active construction of new schema.”
These days, there is a very vocal anti-memorization movement! We hear about collaboration, project-based learning, student agency, constructionism, and passion. All of which I support. I’ve been a fan of passion-based learning since I started teaching in 1970. Somehow it just seemed a matter of ethics and the culture of the day. Kids should love learning and love school. It was after all, the “love, peace and happiness” era.
Passion Constitutes More than Engagement
Passion-based learning has gained more ground recently. Why? Apart from the anti-memorization sentiments, the main rationale seems to be focused on engagement and motivation. Students are more likely to learn if they are captivated, motivated and engaged with the curriculum or projects in hand.
We could unpack types and levels of engagement, but I’m sure we’d all agree on this: if the child is deeply engaged in a task there is greater likelihood that she will attend to it better and build requisite understandings and new schema that serve to increase the base of content and process knowledge desired.
But passion isn’t just about the motivational aspect. It’s deeper than engagement.
There are cognitive processes in the brain that are “turned on” by emotion – be that passion, anger, anxiety or other emotions.
A growing appreciation of the practical and societal value of creative thinking has prompted colleges to make it compulsory.
Einstein was blessed with a rare genius. He also understood the intellectual weight of a flight of fancy.
When he was 16, he wondered what would happen if he were to ride alongside a beam of light.
He turned over the idea in his mind for a decade before concluding that the light beam next to him would appear to be at rest even though it was traveling at the speed of light. Einstein's image eventually helped unlock one of the most-consequential theories in the history of science: his special theory of relativity.
It was not the force of his intellect that was most responsible for bringing the theory into existence, according to Walter Isaacson's 2007 biography of Einstein. "His success came not from the brute strength of his mental processing power," he wrote, "but from his imagination and creativity."
While it may be tempting to focus on Einstein's cognitive supremacy, it makes more sense, faculty at some colleges believe, to train students in how innovative thinkers like him use the tools of creativity to solve problems.
Today's students will need such tools to tackle the problems they stand to inherit. Climate change, income inequality, and escalating health-care costs cannot be remedied by technocratic solutions alone, say advocates of teaching creativity. Knowledge will need to be combined across disciplines, and juxtaposed in unorthodox ways.
Deans, provosts, and faculty members are also aware that many of their students will shift careers several times in their lives and work at jobs that do not exist yet. If students can gain some facility with creative thinking now, colleges reason, perhaps they will be more adaptable both as employees and citizens in an uncertain future. This growing appreciation of the practical, societal, and personal value of learning creative skills has prompted colleges both large and small to make creativity a compulsory part of their undergraduate education.
Starting this fall, Stanford University, for instance, will require incoming students to take a course in "creative expression" as part of its new general-education curriculum. Students at Carnegie Mellon University's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences must satisfy a "creating" requirement, in which they produce a painting, poem, musical performance, piece of technology, or design an experiment or mathematical proof. And Bryant University requires students to take a first-year seminar in design thinking.
Adrian College, in Michigan, started an Institute for Creativity to weave the subject into the curriculum. The University of Kansas and the City University of New York recently adopted new general-education requirements that students in all disciplines take a course to develop their creative skills.
One of the earliest and most pervasive efforts is at the University of Kentucky, which started in the fall of 2011 to require its undergraduates, who number more than 20,000, to take a three-credit course in creativity.
The goal in developing students' creative skills, say these institutions, is to train them to look at familiar problems or sets of data and view them from a fresh perspective.
The global pace of change makes creative capacities essential, says Robert J. Sternberg, a professor of psychology and provost at Oklahoma State University, where the Institute for Creativity and Innovation trains faculty members in teaching creativity and sponsors a campuswide creativity challenge.
"How is our society going to compete in a global economy if we're teaching students how to adapt to yesterday's world or to today's world?" asks Mr. Sternberg, who studies creativity. "We're going to be left behind in the dust."
To skeptics, who sometimes include students and taxpayers, the notion of teaching creativity conjures images of classrooms full of students laboring in front of easels in a misguided attempt to become the next Picasso. Such assumptions bear little resemblance to what colleges are attempting.
Creativity is not synonymous with art or beauty. The value is in "the thought process itself," says Thomas R. Fisher, a professor of architecture and dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and an expert in design thinking. Such patterns of thinking train people to use metaphor and analogy to reframe problems, break them down to component parts to view them from different perspectives, and work iteratively—that is, revising again and again—to find answers.
The approach can apply to any discipline, he says. "We want to create more creative businesspeople, engineers, and mathematicians."
Creativity, when conceived of as a thought process rather than an inherent attribute or talent, has theoretical roots in psychology and philosophy.
J.P. Guilford, the psychologist, drew a distinction between two forms of thinking, convergent and divergent. With its frequent use of standardized tests, education today tends to skew heavily toward convergent thinking, which emphasizes the importance of arriving at a single correct answer.
Divergent thinking, however, requires coming up with alternative theories and ideas, sometimes many of them, to produce a useful solution.
Guilford devised tests of divergent thinking, including one in which the test taker invents as many uses as possible for a paper clip. Children typically clobber adults on this test, says Mr. Fisher.
"Humans are naturally playful, creative beings," he says. "We're doing something to kids in grade school that drums the creativity out of them."
The philosophical antecedents harken to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Charles Sanders Peirce, the American pragmatist, drew on the forms of inductive and deductive logic categorized by Aristotle in his Prior Analytics. Peirce added a third strain of logic, which he often called abductive.
Each has its advantages. Deductive reasoning confers a high degree of certainty in its conclusions. Inductive logic works well when data are readily observable. Abductive logic, Peirce posited, relies on inference to make creative leaps in situations in which information is incomplete. It yields a large number of possible answers.
The emphasis in the curriculum on Peirce's and Guilford's ideas is particularly notable given the current context. Colleges are weathering criticism that they fail to prepare students to be productive citizens and effective employees. Traditional humanistic disciplines must continually justify their relevance. The rising cost of college is adding urgency to the popular perception that colleges' main task is to train students in practical skills that will enable them to get jobs.
Practically focused programs in business have been among the first to embrace creativity and design thinking in their curricula. Such efforts typically serve these programs' efforts to teach entrepreneurship and innovation, which are thought to spark new businesses, create jobs, and stimulate the economy.
Established companies understand the value of creativity, too. IBM surveyed 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries around the world in 2010 to gauge how much they valued characteristics like creativity, integrity, management discipline, rigor, and vision in an increasingly volatile, complex, and interconnected world. Creativity topped the list.
The appreciation for creativity is also growing despite lingering cultural baggage. For many, the belief persists that creativity is a rare gift given to a select few. According to this view, artists and creative thinkers are lone geniuses with innate talent who must rely on flashes of inspiration that arrive without warning. These "myths" are ultimately destructive, says R. Keith Sawyer, an associate professor of education at Washington University in St. Louis who studies creativity and learning.
"It's a matter of hard work, and a lot of it, and consistently engaging in practices that help you come up with good ideas," he says. "It's a series of small sparks over a long period of time."
Creativity courses at the University of Kentucky try several ways to produce those sparks.
The university's creativity requirement came about when its previous general-education curriculum was being revised, dropping from 45 required credits to 30 in four thematic areas.
The arts-and-creativity requirement is part of a 12-credit "intellectual inquiry" cluster that also includes one course in the physical and natural sciences, or mathematics; one in a social science; and one in the humanities.
Rather than confine the creativity requirement to arts courses, Kentucky welcomed proposals across a range of disciplines, says Benjamin C. Withers, a professor of art history and interim associate provost for undergraduate education.
He shepherded the new creativity requirement into being, and says the decision to allow different types of courses to fulfill the requirement bolstered faculty members' support for the idea.
The decision also acknowledged that creativity takes many forms, Mr. Withers says, and can be as applicable to the natural, physical, and social sciences as any other discipline. Kentucky students can satisfy their creativity requirement in an art, dance, music, or theater course. Or they can take one in chemical engineering, geography, or landscape architecture.
What is contemplative education? Contemplative education emphasizes innovation and academic scholarship with development of self-awareness, insight, and compassion.
What is a contemplative liberal arts education?
It's been said that a liberal arts education teaches you to think. A contemplative liberal arts education, on the other hand, teaches you to know.
From studying the humanities, social sciences, and arts you will develop analytic and creative skills, research know-how, and the ability to express yourself eloquently in writing and in speech.
From the study of meditation and other contemplative practices, such as yoga, Aikido, T'ai-chi Ch'uan, and others, you will learn courage, mindfulness, discipline, self-awareness, and compassion.
From Naropa, you will learn to integrate thinking and knowing into a life of doing, establishing a meaningful career from the depths of your mind, heart, and soul.Can meditation make you smarter?
Increasingly, the answer seems to be "yes."A 2005 study by a Harvard researcher showed that areas of the brain associated with attention, sensory awareness, and emotional processing were thicker in meditators.Research published in a 2009 edition of The International Journal of Psychophysiology demonstrated that college students who practiced transcendental meditation for ten weeks reported less sleepiness, anxiety, and irritability than the control group, plus they scored higher on a brain functioning test.Another study published in 2011 demonstrated similar findings: People trained in meditative techniques showed increased density in their brains, in regions associated with learning and memory, empathy, and compassion as compared to those in the control group.
A Webinar with Deborah J. Haynes Professor, Art and Art History, University of Colorado-Boulder Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Professor Haynes writes, “For several…
A Webinar with Deborah J. Haynes
Professor Haynes writes, “For several years, I conducted formal research with students in both small and large lecture-format courses. My research will be published in the journal Buddhist-Christian Studies later this year.
“The blue pearl” is how one of my students described the experience of developing mindfulness. She said that the ability “to draw inwards and be peaceful shows as a concentrated blue light in my brain.” In this webinar I will describe the results of my research with undergraduate students on the efficacy of and their experiences with contemplative pedagogy. I teach first-year students both techniques of meditation and contemplative approaches to making art. My presentation will focus on conceptual issues raised by my formal human-subject research with students over three years, research that included qualitative feedback from them through narrative exercises and journals, a series of quantitative questionnaires about their experiences, and their own works of art.”
Before coming to CU-Boulder, Deborah was Director of Women’s Studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.
With an M.F.A. degree from the University of Oregon and Ph.D. from Harvard University, she is the author of two books published by Cambridge University Press, "Bakhtin and the Visual Arts" (1995) and "Vocation of the Artist" (1997), as well as "Art Lessons: Meditations on the Creative Life" (Westview, 2003). Haynes also edited "Opening our Moral Eye" (Lindisfarne, 1996), a book of M. C. Richards’ last talks and essays; and was a consulting editor for "The Subjective Eye" (Wipf and Stock, 2006). She has published numerous articles and reviews in the last 17 years. Her latest book, "Book of [THIS] Place: Spirituality, Art, and the Land," reflects the integration of her scholarly and creative work, which includes drawing and writing in marble.
Deborah has practiced yoga for more than 30 years, and has experience in Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan Buddhist meditation traditions. After helping to care for several friends who died, during 2007-08 she completed training to serve as a hospice volunteer.
Interspirit is a point of convergence. Though our network system, we are providing support for many organizations and groups working to build understanding and relationships between diverse cultures. We combine ideas from spirituality, religion and science, within the framework of an emerging new holistic context, where the full range of human understanding is held together in a single framework. As these aspects of understanding continue to come together, we are beginning to explore the implications of universal spirituality for politics.
We work primarily with groups and organizations in mainline interfaith, in new consciousness and new thought, and in the women's movement. Behind everything we do, there is an emerging sense of wholeness, of integrity, of commonality across all borders and boundaries. We are increasingly aware that "everything is connected to everything else", and that new visions and capacities must be forged, capable of sustaining and nurturing an emerging new world of absolute interconnectivity and interdependence. Seen this way, we are truly emerging as "one human family", free to pursue our own destiny as we choose, and free to respond with cocreative respect to all those other human beings everywhere, who dream similar dreams, and are reaching for similar goals.
A new kind of revolution is in the air - a revolution in "integral" understanding. The tremendous diversity and full range of human differences - in languages, in beliefs, in psychological types and tendencies - can be held and honored within a single spectrum, in a single "field". Through Interspirit, we fully honor that diversity, while at the same time, we are building that integral spectrum, and drawing together every sort of insight and level of understanding that can contribute to the harmonious and vibrantly creative interconnectivity of all things human and divine.
The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
Promoting the emergence of a broad culture of contemplation in the academy by connecting a network of leading institutions and academics committed to the recovery and development of the contemplative dimension of teaching, learning and knowing, the Association serves members by:
Stimulating scholarship and research concerning contemplative pedagogy, methodology and epistemology within and across disciplines;
Sponsoring forums for the presentation of research and exchange of ideas through webinars, regional and national meetings and an annual conference;
Supporting the development of courses and curricula through one-week residential summer sessions;
Supporting the deepening of contemplative teaching through retreats for academics offering a variety of traditional and secular practices;
Distributing scholarly work and general information relating to the field of contemplative education online, including a quarterly e-newsletter;
Providing online resources for members to participate in discussion forums and share profiles, publications, papers, and syllabi.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society...
We envision an education that promotes the exploration of meaning, purpose and values and seeks to serve our common human future. An education that enables and enhances personal introspection and contemplative awareness cultivates the realization of our inextricable connection to all beings, opening the heart and mind to true community, deeper insight, sustainable living, and a more just society.
The experiential methods developed within the contemplative traditions offer a rich set of tools for exploring the mind, the heart, and the world. When they are combined with the powerful set of traditional practices in higher education, an enriched research methodology and pedagogy become available for deepening and enlarging perspectives, leading to lasting solutions to the problems we confront. None of these methods require an ideology or creed and each is available equally to all.
We envision higher education as an opportunity to cultivate a deep personal and social awareness, stimulating inquiry into what is most meaningful to us as interconnected human beings. Through the inclusion of contemplative modes of teaching and learning, we seek to recast the traditional foundations for education into a truly integrative, transformative, and communal enterprise that is wholly open and inclusive of all backgrounds and that cultivates each person in the fullest possible way.
The Mind and Life Education Research Network (MLERN I) was formed in 2006 to create a multidisciplinary intellectual forum dedicated to exploring issues at the intersection of mind, brain, education and contemplative practice. This intersection was very novel; there was little in the way of systematic developmental-educational thinking in the Buddhist traditions despite interesting sets of practices such as debate in the training of young monks. Because of this, a primary agenda of MLERN became scientific and intellectual dialogue and discovery. A primary goal of the network for the entire three years was to explore, from various scientific, applied and contemplative perspectives, with various assembled groups of individuals.