Telluride Institute: Language Of Mental Life Conference

[click “Play” to hear Dr. Philippe Goldin’s conversation with Susan]

IMG_5912 Hosting a conference in conjunction with Stanford University, the Telluride Institute was tapping into the zeitgeist. While some people appear ready to storm the barricades, others are turning inward, trying to find ways to play nice in not so nice times: compassion as an antidote to overheated passions. In June, when the Drepung Monks performed at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, they painstakingly created a mandala to generate energies for global healing. Between chants, the message was compassion for oneself and others in equal measure. On July 6, Telluride celebrated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday with events all day at the Wilkinson Public Library and the Sheridan Opera House. The Dalai Lama’s message: compassion.

The very next day the Telluride Institute weighed in with its variation on the theme, hosting the first ever “Exploring the Language of Mental Life” conference, July 7 – July 10.

The conference, organized by Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and co-sponsored by The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Telluride Institute, amounted to a brainstorming conversation among thoughtful people involved in investigating the workings of the human mind. The idea: to parse the language of mental life as it relates to mindfulness and compassion cultivation practices and the interface with Buddhist contemplative practices.

Among the luminaries attending the event were Dr. James R. Doty, director, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., adjunct professor, religious studies, McGill University/visiting scholar and executive committee of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Erika Rosenberg, consulting scientist, Center for Mind and Brain, UC Davis, and David Meyer, PhD., Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan. All four spoke Friday, July 9, at the SRO public session held at The Elks Lodge.

One of the byproducts of the open session was a suggestion by our Stanford guests and others who attended the conference that Telluride should host a Compassion Festival. One possible response: show us some compassion. Telluride’s cultural calendar is already chockablock with summer festivals. Can we support yet another event? Time will tell.

Conference guest Dr. Philippe Goldin, Ph.D., clinical researcher, Stanford, reviews some of the ideas generated at the conference. He also makes a cogent argument for moving forward with the proposed new festival. Click on his interview to learn more.

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