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Courses

The Science of Spirit: How the New Science of Embodied Mind is Changing the World

  • MindBody Studies
  • By Joe Loizzo
  • On Demand

About the Course

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.

This module provides an overview of the history of modern science and the Indic contemplative approach to studying nature first-hand. Through attention training, interoception, and reason, Indic methods and practices anticipated many recent findings of modern science, such as neuroplasticity. In this module, we will look at how modern science, which has long been focused on external expressions of nature, is now coming into alliance with contemplative theories and methods to support a new multi-disciplinary science of mind and spirit.
This module reviews the state of the art in meditation research, presenting a comprehensive framework that integrates the benefits of mindfulness, compassion training, imagery and breath-work with the new science of stress-reduction, neural integration, and polyvagal theory. Based on this survey, we are go on to explain and predict the rapid unfolding of new contemplative approaches to psychotherapy, healthcare, education, and business in our two remaining classes.
In this module, Dr. Loizzo shares his pioneering work integrating the very different worlds of Indic contemplative practice and modern psychotherapy, as well as his experience practicing at that interface and training other therapists in contemplative science and skills. The class reviews the framework laid out in his recent book, Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy, aligning the three main approaches in psychotherapy with the three great vehicles of contemplative practice—mindful, compassionate, and embodied—as well as with the three broad levels of stress-reactivity and neural integration.
Given the revolution already underway in contemplative neuroscience and psychotherapy, other key disciplines and institutions in our culture are beginning to shift away from mechanistic approaches towards more mindful, compassionate alternatives. In this module, we will look at mindfulness and compassion-based approaches that are already making headway in multiple fields of healthcare—notably oncology, cardiology, rehabilitation and palliative care. We will investigate the role of yoga and mindfulness in educational settings. We will look at mindful business leadership and its affects on corporate culture. Given the rise in human connectivity, the digital pace of change, our growing awareness of the effects of stress and trauma, and our need to adapt to global interdependence, there has never been a time when a science of embodied mind and spirit has been more crucial for the future of every individual and society on this planet.

Students who take this course will:

  • About some of the latest and most exciting neuroscientific research on the study of embodied mind
  • How neuroplasticity and other discoveries are changing our view of human nature and modern science
  • Why modern science has dismissed contemplative psychology as “pseudo-science”
  • How the new science is transcending the old mind/body problem
  • About the intersubjective methods of Indic contemplative science
  • What we can do as contemplative practitioners and researchers to harness these important discoveries
  • How neuroplasticity extends the revolution in physics and biology into brain science
  • How neuroplasticity helped spark the new alliance between neuroscience and meditation research
  • Why psychotherapy has spearheaded the integration of the new science of spirit
  • Why the new scientific paradigm of mind and spirit is so vital to our future on this planet

About Joe Loizzo

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.

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  • Access to this course, plus…
  • Member Only Content
    Unlimited access to premium articles, special podcast series, and other member only content.
  • EPTV Streaming Video Service
    Access to EPTV Original Series and our video library of over 250+ hours of lectures, talks and workshops.
  • Wisdom School Courses
    Access to 60+ on-demand courses plus two new courses every month.