Page 1 of 2
Meeting of the Mindful
Left: Jenny Lykken, Ali and Atman Smith. Right: Town hall panel: Congressman
Tim Ryan, Richie Davidson, Janice Marturano, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and moderator Tami Simon.
By BARRY BOYCE
and Atman Smith and Andres Gonzales work in the Druid Hill area in
Baltimore’s inner city. Through the Holistic Life Foundation, they teach
yoga and reach at-risk children through hip-hop, dance, basketball,
tutoring, organic gardening— whatever works. But on the first weekend of
October, they were at the New York Society for Ethical Culture
headquarters on Central Park West to take part in the Creating a Mindful
Society gathering—the firstever conference devoted exclusively to how
mindfulness is being applied across a broad spectrum of our society.
the end of their presentation, Atman Smith reported on the progress of
their first twenty students, a group they started working with nearly a
decade ago. “We had the toughest cases in the school,” he said. “We’ve
continued to work with them over the years and now they help us with the
program. All of them graduated from high school. Nineteen of them are
working or in college. None are incarcerated.” The audience rose in
unison, applauding and cheering.
than 500 people gathered on September 30 and October 1 for the
conference—sponsored by The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health
Care, and Society; the Omega Institute; Mindful.org; and Sounds True—and
another 5,000 registered to take part through live streaming. It began
on a Friday night with a keynote address by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
next day, Richie Davidson, director of the Center for Investigating
Healthy Minds, talked about the evidence of mindfulness’ effectiveness.
Janice Marturano, who recently created the Institute for Mindful
Leadership, reported on how valuable it has been for leaders to
synchronize their hearts and minds through mindfulness. Morning sessions
focused on health and healing, what mindfulness means, and how
mind–body practices are being used in schools and colleges, while the
afternoon featured field reports from pioneers working in law, personal
and organizational finance, the workplace, the military, and the inner
city. The conference wrapped up that night with a town hall in which
participants explored how to bring mindfulness and related practices
into their lives and communities.