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Saki Santorelli, director of the Center for Mindfulness, got things going Friday night by declaring that “the time has come… for practice, discipline, turning inward, so that we can find the capacity to act in the world in new ways.”

Kabat-Zinn then emphasized that, in the face of the world’s many troubles, mindfulness is not a quick fix, but it does offer ways to find a deeper experience of our minds and hearts. And this deeper experience can influence society at all levels and in many ways. “Seeds are being planted by many people,” he said, “people who are on fire with dedication and enthusiasm to live authentically and share that with others. The seeds will grow into something much larger.”

The field reports began with Rhonda Magee, professor of law at the University of San Francisco, who talked about how she had gradually brought more and more elements of mindfulness into the curriculum. Kristi Nelson, director of resource development and community relations at the Center for Mindfulness, suggested that the practice can help us align our money habits with our deepest values. Jenny Lykken, of Google, reported on a variety of programs at her company that promote emotional intelligence and mindfulness. Ali and Atman Smith outlined their program for at-risk youth. And finally, retired Army Captain Elizabeth Stanley talked about how the program she started, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training, has been teaching soldiers and marines how to increase their mind–body awareness while on duty.

Congressman Tim Ryan posed some timely questions during his talk: Is slowing down, paying a little more attention, and being kinder a radical agenda for America? Who can argue with those values?

Videos of the conference, including guided meditations, keynote addresses, field reports, and the town hall, are available free at live.soundstrue.com.

From the January 2012 Shambhala Sun magazine. Click here to browse the entire issue online.






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