Two WashU psychologists are teaching students about mindfulness, both as practitioners and as scientists. Todd Braver and Heather Rice explore the historical, religious, and scientific roots of the practice. You are invited to read the following three stories in any order.
'Mindfulness' is a word that seems to appear everywhere today, but what is it? Meditation or yoga? And does it deserve all the hype? Todd Braver and Heather Rice break down what mindfulness is and how you go about practicing it.
Some companies and schools are embracing mindfulness, touting the many beneficial effects it's been shown to have. But what are those effects? And can we trust the research? Heather Rice shares her concerns about some of the studies in popular culture, and Todd Braver explains where he and others are forging ahead with neural imaging techniques.
Mindfulness research may just be ramping up, but Buddhists have been practicing mindfulness for millennia. In Western cultures, mindfulness is often divorced from its spiritual background; isn't that cultural appropriation? Heather Rice and Todd Braver grapple with this question, sharing opinions from their students, their experience, and the Dalai Lama himself.
In 2014, groundbreaking neuroscientist Richard Davidson visited campus for two days of lectures hosted by the Religious Studies program as part of the Assembly Series, discussing the emotional life of the brain and how well-being can be learned. Check out the recordings of his conversations with psychologist Randy Larsen and religious scholar Beata Grant.