Boulder, Colo (February 14, 2014): As part of its fortieth anniversary celebration, Naropa University will inaugurate
its Varela Lecture Series with a lecture and workshop by respected University of Miami
brain researcher, Amishi Jha, PhD. Jha's lecture, "Mindfulness & Neuroscience: Befriending
the Mind," will take place on Friday, February 21, 2014 at Naropa University's Nalanda
Events Center, 6287 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder. On February 22, Jha, along with Jane
Carpenter, associate professor of contemplative psychology at Naropa, will facilitate
a workshop exploring the same topic in depth, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at the
Nalanda Events Center.
"Mindfulness & Neuroscience: Befriending the Mind" offers a fascinating exploration of findings from cutting-edge neuroscience on the profound and positive effects of mindfulness practices on the brain, psychological health, wellness, and resilience. The workshop, co-facilitated by Jha and Carpenter, weaves current scientific research on mindfulness with experiential practice and interactive discussion. The afternoon includes discussion of brain imaging techniques that reveal alterations to foundational brain networks, as well as simple meditation practice that reveals the power of attention and mindfulness. Amishi Jha, PhD, currently serves as associate professor of psychology and director of the contemplative neuroscience, mindfulness research and practice initiative at University of Miami. Jha's research focuses on the brain bases of attention, working memory, and mindfulness-based training. Current projects investigate ways to promote resilience in high-stress cohorts using contemplative/mind training techniques that strengthen attention networks in the brain. Learn more about Jha's research.
The Varela Lecture Series is named for Chilean philosopher of science and early Naropa University faculty member, Francisco Varela (1946-2001). At Naropa's early summer sessions, Varela spearheaded dialogues between Buddhism and cognitive science, and he later became known for scientific dialogues with Buddhism that led to the founding of the Mind and Life Institute, which, through diverse research projects, seeks to better understand the human mind and the benefits of contemplative practice. During Naropa's summer session in 1979, a conference titled, "Contrasting Perspectives in Cognition: Buddhism and the Cognitive Sciences," brought together renowned scientists and scholars for one of the first conversations in the field. This lecture series celebrates Naropa University's role in initiating these groundbreaking dialogues, and honors Varela and his innovative colleagues.
Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education. This approach to learning integrates the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions, helping students to know themselves more deeply and engage constructively with others. The university comprises a four-year undergraduate college and graduate programs in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology, and religious studies.