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Mindfulness-based Interventions – Moving from Health Outcomes to Self-Transcendence

on demand Sep 29, 2021

In many compassion meditations, the meditator focuses on growing and extending love and compassion for others. In Benefactor Practice, a contemplative application adapted from an ancient form of Tibetan devotional practice by Lama John Makransky, we visualize receiving love and acceptance from a trusted other. Using visualizations rooted in our memories, we relive “benefactor moments,” times when we have felt loved and accepted by a family member, friend, or loved one. Using these moments as inspiration, we subsequently, in a meditative state, visualize our bodies and minds receiving unconditional love and acceptance, radiating from the benefactor’s form. We allow every part of ourselves, including our difficult feelings and negative mind states, to be held in love and acceptance. Over time, by cultivating this basic contemplation, a meditator gradually rebuilds confidence and trust in the basic safety of relationships, and establishes the foundation for extending compassion to others. (adopted from Willa Blythe Baker, PhD, founder and spiritual director of Natural Dharma Fellowship)

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Featured Speaker: Dr. David Vago

Dr. David Vago is Research Associate Professor and Director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Mind-Body (CNMB) Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University. He is core training faculty for the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation. Dr. Vago maintains a research associate position in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Vago is also Research Lead for the mental health and well-being platform, Roundglass. Dr. Vago has previously held the position of Research Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt and Senior Research Scientist for the Mind & Life Institute. Dr. Vago is currently a  Mind and Life Fellow, supporting the Mind and Life mission by advising on strategy and programs. He is also a consultant for the mindfulness, well-being, and psychedelic research and industry community. He received his Bachelors Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 1997 from the University of Rochester. In 2005, David received his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the department of Psychology, University of Utah. Dr. Vago has completed post-doctoral fellowships in Biological and Social Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatric Neuroimaging, and Mind and Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical School, and University of Utah School of Medicine.

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