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AWARE: The Science and Practice of Presence
August 25 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Please join Dan J. Siegel MD. and InsightLA Founding Teacher Trudy Goodman for a day of practice exploring Dr. Siegel’s groundbreaking new book Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence.
In this intensive day of practice we will explore and experience the ways in which our inner subjective lives, our interpersonal relationships, and our objective empirical knowledge can be woven together to illuminate the importance for meaning, connection, and equanimity in our lives. AWARE brings us directly into an intensive discussion of what the Greeks called, “eudaimonia”, the kind of well-being that is contrasted to “hedonia,” which is filled with a sense of deep meaning, compassionate connections, emotional equilibrium, and a sense of belonging to something larger than a bodily-defined, solo-self. Recent scientific studies support what ancient spiritual traditions have taught regarding the health benefits of living such a life of meaning and connection. In many ways, wisdom practice and the term “spiritual” each refer to the quest for finding authenticity, meaning, and true connection so profoundly needed in a modern world that now confronts us with distractions of all sorts that keep us from living such a eudaimonic way of being.
Amazingly, science demonstrates that even the regulation of our genes is made healthier with this form of living with meaning, compassion, and connection. We not only feel better, but our very genetic machinery that prevents inflammation and disease and supports medical health is improved in its regulation. But why does feeling a part of “a larger whole” matter so much, and why does not simply living as an isolated self, limited to our skin-defined boundaries, improve our immune system functioning? What are the scientific insights that reveal why a spiritual life, a life with meaning and connection, is “good for you”? Why does such a life of “presence” also improve our cardiovascular health, optimize our enzyme, telomerase, that repairs and maintains the ends of our chromosomes, and even improves our immune system functioning? And what does the science of spirituality reveal about how we can cultivate such well-being in our own lives?
In this daylong we’ll explore the integration of science and spirituality and engage in scientifically-inspired experiential exercises into the deep nature of our subjective inner and interpersonal lives that will enable participants to learn how to use their mind in integrative ways to transform their lives. Integration—the linkage of differentiated parts—will be explored in depth as a practical link between the science of well-being and the experience of spiritual fulfillment. We’ll dive deeply into the nature of presence, and how learning the Wheel of Awareness practice can build skills of focused attention, open awareness, and kind intention that research suggests are the three pillars of mind training that have been empirically shown to cultivate these important aspects of flourishing.
Whatever the objective data of science, whatever concepts and facts, studies and theories, we still remain with a wonder-filled challenge of blending the power of the objective with the reality of the subjective nature of our lives. Embracing this tension between science and subjectivity, between synapse and soul, will be made effective, efficient, and perhaps even fun as we combine progressive experiential immersions in subjective experience with scientific discussions on the nature of our minds, our collective lives and the reality of the natural world. We’ll explore the notion that the mind may be an “emergent process” that arises from energy and information flow. Seeing the mind this way will help us illuminate the nature of consciousness and the central role of being aware, of being present in life. Linking differentiated elements into a coherent whole is what integration is. And in this way, our workshop will provide the setting for integrating both consciousness itself with our Wheel practice and science with spirituality. Health and healing each derive from the notion of a whole, the core of spiritual growth, the heart of scientific inquiry, and the setting for our exploration of what it means to awakening the mind, to be present, to be aware.