Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Power of Friends -- and Mindfulness

Lately I’ve been reflecting on another way in which I am rich… rich in the people I’ve been blessed to come to know and work with over the past seven years, people on the cutting edge of the movement to integrate meditative and spiritual practices into all realms of life.

Recently, the intersection of meditation and neuroscience has been big in the news. If you haven’t yet seen it, watch this video interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who had the chance to watch her own brain as she experienced a stroke. It’s a powerful tale that illustrates how our brains define our ‘reality,’ and how that reality can so quickly be altered.

I am so blessed to have these folks in my life and to collaborate with them on offering this healing path to wider circles. Here are a few of them.

* Roshi Joan Halifax (pictured above), recently featured in this blog interview with Danny Fisher. Over the past few months, I’ve been helping Roshi to coordinate a Buddhist chaplaincy training program at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s such a great program that I’m tempted to enroll myself at some future point!

* Diana Winston, who is the Director for Mindfulness Education at the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center based at UCLA. Diana is an old friend and co-worker from my days at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF). Listen to this interview with Diana to get a sense of her culturally hip yet deeply spiritually grounded perspectives on young people and Buddhism.

* Mirabai Bush, the founder and director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, where I used to be the research director. I've been assisting the Center in a search for a new executive director -- Mirabai will be retiring after leading the organization since 1997. She will be missed! Her work to integrate mindfulness into society has impacted thousands of people from all walks of life -- university professors, lawyers, social justice activists, CEO's... really quite amazing.

* Alan Senauke, another colleague from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Alan has now founded the Clear View Project whose mission is to direct Buddhist-based resources toward relief in social change. One big area of Alan's focus right now is Burma, in the wake of the terrible cyclone that hit last month.

All of them are gifted leaders and healers, and I am truly grateful that they are part of my circle friends. In another blog, I'll highlight some more dear friends and their work.

No comments: