This course explores the rise of a revolutionary new approach to the scientific study of mind and spirit that promises to heal the divide between science and spirituality, technological prowess and human well-being.
For centuries, modern physical science has gained a more complete understanding and mastery of nature than any other knowledge system in human history. Yet until recently that progress has taken science and the modern world farther and farther away from the timeless traditions of psyche and spirit that had long helped humanity cultivate self-knowledge, personal well-being and inclusive community.
This course explores how one recent breakthrough in brain science—neuroplasticity—has been a historic game-changer in science’s relationships with psyche and spirit.
The discovery that our brains are not hard-wired but constantly sculpted by acts of mind and will has in a real sense extended the revolutions in quantum physics and social biology into the realm of neuroscience, by showing that our brains are not the solid, isolated organs we long assumed they were. The finding that our brains grow and change constantly through experience allows science to begin to study the long mysterious, experiential domains of the human psyche and spirit. In particular, the new science of plasticity has allowed researchers to explain the powerful mind/body effects of learning, positive human development, psychotherapy, and even contemplative practice and experience.
In this four-week course, we will explore how these breakthroughs are paving the way for a science of the lived experience of embodied mind. We will relate these discoveries to our personal practices of yoga & meditation, as well as how we can implement this new knowledge into our therapeutic and healing modalities.
Finally, we will take a look at how humanity’s timeless contemplative traditions have now come together with science to help us cultivate the open mind, warm heart, and altruistic spirit we need to thrive in our interdependent age.
Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D. is a contemplative psychotherapist, clinical researcher, and Buddhist scholar-teacher who integrates ancient contemplative science and technology with current breakthroughs in neuroscience and optimal health. After training in psychiatry at Harvard and completing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Columbia, he founded Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, a non-profit that helps people build sustainable happiness, compassion, and leadership through integrating science-based contemplative skills into their daily lives.
On faculty at the Weill Cornell Center for Integrative Medicine and the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies, Dr. Loizzo lectures widely on the role of meditative learning in the future of heath, education, and leadership, and teaches regular public classes and workshops at his Nalanda Institute, and Tibet House US. In 2007, he published NagarjunaÕs Reason Sixty with ChandrakirtiÕs Commentary, a translation study of contemplative self-analysis in Buddhism. His second book, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration, appeared in the Routledge Behavioral Science Series in 2012. He has published dozens of chapters and articles on contemplative science in peer reviewed books and journals including The Journal of Religion, the Annual Review of Psychiatry, and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Loizzo has a private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife, Gerardine, and their sons Maitreya and Ananda.