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Lions Roar : July 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN jULy 2009 83 both traditional academic third-person inquiry and the first-person inquiry of the great contemplative traditions.” the initiative began in 2002 with a vis- iting speaker series (the initiative’s website offers videos of presentations by promi- nent contemplative educators) and the de- velopment of a course integrating practice into the study of contemplative traditions. while roth’s dream of a full-fledged major in contemplative studies lies farther down the road, at present students can do an in- dependent study with a concentration in contemplative studies. obtaining approval for independent study is time-consuming, so only two to three students each year become “independent concentrators” in contemplative studies. the introduction to contemplative studies course that roth teaches, however, attracts more than eighty students each year, but to keep the course manageable (it was designed for a group of twenty), he caps it at thirty-five. like sarath, roth encountered resis- tance from faculty who thought that a “meditation practicum” amounted to forcing students to do religious practice, so he changed to having “meditation labs,” which emphasize the scientific and explor- atory nature of contemplative practice. the program now enjoys broad support, particularly as more scientific evidence has emerged to show, in roth’s words, “the distinctive neurological signatures, cognitive changes, and clinical benefits that come with mindfulness practice.” in 2007, the medical school at Brown began offering students elective-study op- tions that would help them become more well-rounded physicians, including one in contemplative studies that roth helped to create. in the first year, one concentrator fo- cused on contemplative studies, but this year seven students chose a contemplative study concentration. one is studying the effect of yoga practice on post-partum depression, and another wants to develop what he calls “mindfulness-Based positive psychology,” in an attempt to bring mindfulness into clini- cal settings on a much wider basis. ♦ Hear senior editor Barry Boyce talk about The Mindful Society at www.shambhalasun.com. Graduate Education at the Frontier of Psychology and Spirituality Kait is passionate about integrating Buddhism and women’s psychology into psychotherapy to help clients through the bereavement process. After earning her Psychology PhD, she received an important grant to expand her work and teach her techniques to local and international agencies. “ITP changed my life and now I am helping to improve the lives of others suffering from grief and loss.” Institute of Transpersonal Psychology 1069 East Meadow Circle, Palo Alto CA 94303 [ph] 650.493.4430 [email]