Monthly Archives: March 2012

Integrative Journey into the Mind with Dan Siegel, M.D. at UCLA. Join interpersonal neurobiology pioneer Dr. Dan Siegel on his adventures bridging science and contemplative practice. Interpersonal neurobiology is an approach to the mind that explores how our relationships with other people, and the planet, interact with our neural circuitry to give rise to our mental experiences.

One of the fascinating findings from this approach is that virtually all academic fields, including that of mental health, do not have a definition of the mind. Dan has surveyed over 100,000 therapists, and
nearly 5,000 educators, and has found that over 95% of these professionals have never had even a single lecture on what the mind is. A more positive finding from his exploration is that it is not
only possible to offer a definition of the mind, but that we can actually provide a working definition of a healthy mind.

This presentation will explore these fundamental ideas through engaging discussions and illuminating inner experiences that may expand your mind, integrate your brain, and deepen your relationships
with others, and yourself.

Attendees will receive a copy of Dr. Dan Seigel’s book Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (W. W. Norton & Company, April 2012)

Date: Saturday May 19
Time: 10am- 1pm
Venue: NPI Auditorium, Semel Institute, 760 Westwood Plaza, LA, 90095, UCLA
Cost: $75
Discounts: $60 UCLA Staff, Seniors, Students; $65 UCLA 50Plus Program & KCRW subscriber; $35 UCLA Students

For more information and registration:

Online Mindfulness Classes: 6 Week UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) Classes. Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPs) are the signature educational programs of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. These six-week class series are open to the public and to all UCLA staff, faculty, and students.

MAPs I for Daily Living – (6 week introdcutory class, May 7-June 16)
MAPs II: Finding Happiness – ( 6 weeks advanced class, May 7- June 16)

MAPs I for Daily Living
This is an excellent introduction to mindfulness. You will learn mindfulness meditation practices including sitting meditation, walking meditations and how to work with difficult thoughts and emotions.

These mindfulness practices have scientific support as means to reduce stress, improve attention, boost the immune system, reduce emotional reactivity, develop greater mind-body awareness, and promote a general sense of health and well-being. You will learn how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

The online course can be accessed from anywhere in the world. You can work at your own pace during this 6 week course. The online course is pre-recorded. Participants will have access to audio and video materials as well as participate in a weekly live chat with one of the instructors and other participants.

Testimonials from previous participants:

“I appreciated the online format which gave me the flexibility of when and where to listen to lectures and practice the exercises.”
“Wonderful experience. I learned to be present in my thoughts and emotions, which bring me more peace in difficult situations.”
“I enjoyed the practicality of the lessons to modern daily life. It was a fortunate opportunity for me to deal with my stress in such an appropriate way.”
“I did not think I would enjoy taking a class in the solitude of my own house. However, it was such a wonderful experience that I plan to take other online classes in the future and explore MAP further.”
“Very helpful to help me relax and feel peaceful and send the same to others. Thank you for the gift.”
“Good balance of explanatory materials and practices, and of teacher instruction and student participation.”
“This is the kind of course that contributes so much to your life.”

You will receive more information on how to enroll in the course AFTER you register. This information will be sent to you on Fridays May 4th.

Date: Week of May 7 (May 7-June 16)
Instructor: Diana Winston and Gael Belden
Cost: $165 (no discounts)
CEUs: Not available.

For more information and registration:

Mukti Vancouver Satsang
What is the most essential you that is present regardless of thought or emotion? Who or what has been present for all of your life experience? How does this spirit of constancy touch your life? Mukti will speak on these compelling topics and follow with satsang, questions and answers pointing directly to the true nature of Self.

Vancouver Satsang
May 24, 2012
Vancouver, BC

$15 Contribution in US or Canadian Dollars.

Thursday, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Please arrive early as seating is limited. Doors will open 30 minutes prior for silent sitting.

The University of British Colombia
Asian Centre
403-1871 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

More information on:

The Secret Life of the Dog: a BBC Documentary. We have an extraordinary relationship with dogs – closer than with any other animal on the planet. But what makes the bond between us so special?

Research into dogs is gaining momentum, and scientists are investigating them like never before. From the latest fossil evidence, to the sequencing of the canine genome, to cognitive experiments, dogs are fast turning into the new chimps as a window into understanding ourselves.

Where does this relationship come from? In Siberia, a unique breeding experiment reveals the astonishing secret of how dogs evolved from wolves. Swedish scientists demonstrate how the human/dog bond is controlled by a powerful hormone also responsible for bonding mothers to their babies.

Why are dogs so good at reading our emotions? Horizon meets Betsy, reputedly the world’s most intelligent dog, and compares her incredible abilities to those of children. Man’s best friend has recently gone one step further – helping us identify genes responsible for causing human diseases.

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part I

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part II

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part III

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part IV

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part V

The Secret Life of the Dog – BBC Documentary Part VI

Thomas Hubl – Wednesday, April 4, Vancouver
Birthing a New ‘We’

Centre for Peace, 1825 W. 16th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
To lead an awake, integral existence in the midst of daily life is one of the greatest challenges. How do we express the timeless wisdom and our insights of an alive, awake life in all our relationships, in our sexuality, with our children and our colleagues at work? How does awakeness turn into our daily practice and thus into our reality?

During this evening, Thomas Hübl will present four pillars that are crucial to his work:
Integration of unintegrated parts,
Connection to the future potential of life,
Transcendence into timeless ever-present consciousness, and
Being active in the market place of daily life.
Then, working extensively with both collective emergence and collective shadow work, Thomas will show how radical presence allows us to see what we don’t see. He reveals how a committed “Yes” to every moment to experience it in its fullness, and the courage to make a creative contribution to life, works towards an awakened society for all.

Tickets are $20 if pre-paid before April 2, 2012 or $30 after April 2 and at the door.

More information on:

Not just genes: Epigenetics. What causes the complex illnesses associated with aging, like cancer and heart disease? Each day we discover new genes associated with these diseases. But as we learn more about the genetic code, it becomes clearer that what’s written in our DNA is only part of the story. There are other factors, such as socioeconomic status, that seem to play an important role in health.

Tuesday, March 27 2012, 7 p.m.
Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston St., Vancouver BC

Now a new area of research, known as epigenetics, is building upon our knowledge of the human genome. Epigeneticists study the ways that our environment can have a long-term impact on the activity of our genes. And recent advances in technology are giving researchers remarkable new tools to study how nature interacts with nurture.

Want to learn more? Join us for a discussion with some of the leading Canadian epigenetic researchers.

This free event is hosted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and its Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, in collaboration with the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium. Space is limited.

W. Thomas Boyce, MD
Professor, Sunny Hill Health Centre/BC Leadership Chair in Child Development
School of Population and Public Health and Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia

Michael Kobor, PhD
Scientist, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,
Child and Family Research Institute;
Associate Professor, Dept. of Medical Genetics,
University of British Columbia

Martin Hirst, PhD
Scientist, Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology,
Centre for High-Throughput Biology,
University of British Columbia

Anthony Phillips, PhD
Scientific Director, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

More information on

After being Top rated book for Mental Health, for a while, “A course in happiness” has been for days the overall top 1 rated book on Amazon (fiction and non fiction):

Amazon Top book a course in happiness

Thanks to all the book readers for making this possible!

Everyday, fresh insights from science and philosophy shed new light on the processes of human experience – the how of feeling, thinking and believing – and invite us to redefine who we are as human beings. Pioneers on the frontier of human understanding will guide an exciting exploration of what it means to be human.
How has evolution shaped our brains to construct a model of reality?
How does the subconscious mind influence the decisions we make?
What is the relationship between self and culture?
Are you who you think you are, or is that just an illusion?
What does science tell us about our interactions with fellow humans?
Is humanity still evolving?

Being Human 2012: science of human experience – Free streaming event with Richard Davidson etc.

Being Human 2012: science of human experience: program
9:00 – 9:20 am Opening: Welcome & Overview
Jeff Klein, Executive Director, The Baumann Foundation
Peter Baumann, Author and Founder, The Baumann Foundation
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
9:20 – 10:30 am Perception • Sensations
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Beau Lotto, Ph.D., Neuroscientist and Artist, Founder of Lottolab Studio
V.S. Ramachandran, Ph.D., Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California-San Diego
10:30 – 10:50 am Break
10:50 am – 12:20 pm Mental + Self Representations & Decision-Making
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Laurie Santos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University
Thomas Metzinger, Ph.D., Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
David Eagleman, Ph.D., Neuroscientist, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine
12:20 – 12:30 pm Reflection & Poem by Jane Hirshfield
12:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 – 2:10 pm Welcome back and orientation by Jeff Klein, Short film by Tiffany Shlain
2:10 – 3:40 pm Individual + Society • Morals + Culture
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Anne Harrington, Ph.D., Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Hazel Markus, Ph.D., Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University
Paul Ekman, Ph.D., Manager, Paul Ekman Group, LLC
3:40 – 4:00 pm Break
4:00 – 5:00 pm Conscious Experience
Peter Baumann, Author and Founder, The Baumann Foundation
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Founder, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society
Gelek Rimpoche, Founder, Jewel Heart, Tibetan Buddhist Center
5:00 – 5:15 pm Poem & Reflections by Jane Hirshfield
Peter Baumann, Author and Founder, The Baumann Foundation
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, Founder and Chair and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Peter Baumann
Author and Founder, The Baumann Foundation

Peter Baumann was born in 1953 in Berlin, Germany. After joining the musical group Tangerine Dream in 1971, he toured with the band worldwide and recorded multiple Gold records until 1981. Mr. Baumann moved to New York in 1982 and founded the record company, Private Music. He served as CEO of Private Music until 1994 when the company was sold to RCA.

David Eagleman, Ph.D.
Neuroscientist, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, New York Times best selling author and Guggenheim Fellow who holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Eagleman’s areas of research include time perception, vision, synesthesia, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system.

Paul Ekman, Ph.D.
Manager, Paul Ekman Group, LLC

Paul Ekman’s research on facial expression and body movement began in 1954, as the subject of his Master’s thesis in 1955 and his first publication in 1957. In his early work, his approach to nonverbal behavior showed his training in personality. Over the next decade, a social psychological and cross-cultural emphasis characterized his work, with a growing interest in an evolutionary and semiotic frame of reference. In addition to his basic research on emotion and its expression, he has, for the last thirty years, also been studying deceit.

Anne Harrington, Ph.D.
Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

Anne Harrington is Professor and former Chair of the History of Science at Harvard University, specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind and behavioral sciences. Professor Harrington received her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Oxford University, and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, and the University of Freiburg in Germany. For six years, she co-directed Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative.

Jane Hirshfield
Prize-winning International Poet, Translator, and Essayist

Jane Hirshfield’s poetry speaks to the central issues of human existence—desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, the many dimensions of our connection with others and the wider community of creatures and objects with which we share our lives. Demonstrating with quiet authority what it means to awaken into the full capacities of attention, her work sets forth a hard-won affirmation of our human fate.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Founder, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society and of its world-renown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic. He is the author of numerous best-selling books that have been translated into over 30 languages. Dr. Kabat-Zinn received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Salvador Luria, MD.

Beau Lotto, Ph.D.
Neuroscientist and Artist, Founder of Lottolab Studio

Beau Lotto is founder of Lottolab, a hybrid art studio and science lab. With glowing, interactive sculpture – and good, old-fashioned peer-reviewed research – he’s illuminating the mysteries of the brain’s visual system.

Hazel Markus, Ph.D.
Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

Hazel Rose Markus is the Davis-Brack Professor in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Her research examines how the self regulates behavior and how the self is shaped by the social world. This work shows how the self-system organizes perception, reasoning and memory and reveals the constructive role of the self throughout the life course.

Thomas Metzinger, Ph.D.
Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Thomas Metzinger is currently Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Study (FIAS). He is also Director of the Neuroethics Research Unit in Mainz and Director of the MIND Group at the FIAS.

V.S. Ramachandran, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California-San Diego

V.S. Ramachandran is a neurologist best known for his work in the fields of behavioral neurology and psychophysics. He is currently the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the author of several books including Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind (1998) and The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientists Quest for What Makes Us Human (2010).

Gelek Rimpoche
Founder, Jewel Heart, Tibetan Buddhist Center

Born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1939, Kyabje Gelek Rimpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama at the age of four. Among the last generation of lamas educated in Drepung Monastery before the Communist Chinese invasion of Tibet, Gelek Rimpoche was forced to flee to India in 1959. He later edited and printed over 170 volumes of rare Tibetan manuscripts that would have otherwise been lost to humanity. He was director of Tibet House in Delhi, India and a radio host at All India Radio. He conducted over 1000 interviews in compiling an oral history of the fall of Tibet.

Laurie Santos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University

Laurie Santos is an associate professor of psychology at Yale University and the director of Yale University’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory. Laurie received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University and her PhD in Psychology from Harvard.

Tiffany Shlain

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, and cofounder of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. A celebrated thinker and catalyst, Tiffany is known for her ability to illuminate complex ideas in culture, science, technology, and life through her unique films, dynamic talks, and projects. Her films and work have received 50 awards and distinctions.

Tami Simon
Founder and Publisher, Sounds True

Tami Simon is the Founder and Publisher of Sounds True, an independent multimedia publishing company based in Boulder, Colorado. Founded in 1985, the company’s mission is to inspire and support personal transformation and spiritual awakening. Familiar to many as “the voice of Sounds True,” Tami conducts in-studio author dialogues and hosts the popular free podcast series “Insights at the Edge”.

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index is a multidimensional measure and it is linked with a set of policy and programme screening tools so that it has practical applications. The GNH index is built from data drawn from periodic surveys which are representative by district, gender, age, rural-urban residence, income, etc. Representative sampling allows its results to be decomposed at various sub-national levels, and such disaggregated information can be examined and understood more by organizations and citizens for their uses. In the GNH Index, unlike certain concepts of happiness in current western literature, happiness is itself multidimensional – not measured only by subjective well-being, and not focused narrowly on happiness that ends and begins with oneself and is concerned for and with oneself. The pursuit of happiness is collective though it can be experienced deeply personally. Different people can be happy in spite of their disparate circumstances but the options for trade off must be wide.

GNH Index is meant to orient the people and the nation towards happiness, by primarily improving the conditions of not-yet-happy people. We can break apart GNH Index to see where unhappiness is arising from and for whom. For policy action, GNH Index enables the government and others to increase GNH in two ways. It can either increase percentage of people who are happy or decrease the insufficient conditions of people who are not-yet-happy. In the way the GNH Index is constructed, there is a greater incentive for the government and others to decrease the insufficiencies of not-yet-happy people. This can be done by mitigating the many areas of insufficiencies the not-yet-happy face. Not-yet-happy people in rural Bhutan tend to be those who attain less in education, living standards and balanced use of time. In urban Bhutan, not-yet-happy people are insufficient in non-material domains such as community vitality and culture and psychological well-being. In Thimphu, the capital, for example, the biggest insufficiencies are in community vitality.

GNH Index provides an overview of performances across 9 domains of GNH (psychological wellbeing, time use, community vitality, cultural diversity, ecological resilience, living standard, health, education, good governance). The aggregation method is a version of Alkire Foster method (2007, 2011). The index is aggregated out of 33 clustered (grouped) indicators. Each clustered indicator is further composed of several variables. When unpacked, the 33 clustered indicators have 124 variables, the basic building blocks of GNH Index. Weights attached to variables differ, with lighter weights attached to highly subjective variables. A threshold or sufficiency level is applied to each variable. At the level of domains, all the 9 domains are equally weighted as they are all considered to be equally valid for happiness.

A cut off point is set to be counted as happy. Not all people need to be sufficient in each of 124 variables to be happy. People are diverse in the ways and means they can have fulfilling life. Not all variables need to be present to be happy. People have freedom of choice in which ways they can make life fulfilling, so not all variables have universal applicability. For such reasons cut off was set at 66% of the variables. People can be considered happy when they have sufficiency in 66% of the (weighted) indicators. The GNH Index value for 2010 is 0.737. It shows us that 40.8% of people in Bhutan are extremely happy and the rest are moderately happy. The rest – 59% – are considered moderately happy because they enjoy sufficiency in 57% of the 124 variables, not 66% on average as required by the index to be extremely happy. Cut off does make a difference in the GNH Index. The low score of GNH index is a result of its requirement that a diverse set of conditions and states, represented by 124 variables, must be simultaneously prevalent for a person to be robustly happy. It is a tougher measure because it is not focussed on survival like poverty measure, but rather of flourishing over a wide array of conditions.

The GNH survey in 2010 covered an extraordinarily large sample of 7100 people. One of the questions in the survey was how an individual considers his happiness to be on a scale of 0-10. The results to this question show subjective happiness or subjective wellbeing, and the national average was 6.06 (SD = 1.6) for 2010 suggesting a very good level of happiness in Bhutan. Not only the national average, the distribution of the people over the scale of 0 to 10 is important. If we group the people into three classes according to the level of their scores, 3.87% of the population scored between 0 and 4. We might consider this group to be clearly not-yet-happy people. The bulk of the population 78.79% score between 4 and 7, and 17.3% score between 8 and 10.

Article courtesy of Dasho Karma Ura on

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