YSF Updates

2/5/18 – Brief report
Three items of significance:
Most significantly for yoga science, two of our YSF grantees – leading meditation teacher Daniel P. Brown of the Pointing Out The Great Way Foundation (and Harvard Medical School), and leading meditation researcher Judson Brewer at the Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical School – collaborated in a breakthrough scientific project to bring awakened awareness into the lab for the first time. Brown and a colleague meditation teacher first identified thirty of their students whom they agreed appeared skilled in four advanced practice conditions (including awakened awareness). Brewer then studied the meditators using state-of-the-art EEG analysis while they were engaged in the four conditions. The findings are strikingly clear, consistent across subjects, and unlike any previously reported. The detailed publication of this research moves the field of contemplative neuroscience into new territory. The paper can be downloaded here.

Over the last year and a half, Wolfgang Lukas has continued to work steadily on developing the Contemplative Collaboration initiative. This project aims to foster the integration of refined contemplative practice and rigorous scientific collaboration such that each enhances the depth and quality of the other. We see this as a long-term project that may take some years or decades to reach fruition – that being a genuine and happy marriage between the contemplative/yogic traditions of spiritual practice and the very best quality science possible.

Our team held it’s first “YSF Day” event last October during which we gathered to review the history of the first decade of the Foundation, its current activities, and several possible future scenarios. We look forward to holding such events on an annual basis going forward.

11/23/16 — Director’s Note
Today we’re launching this revised website. Our old site was ten years old, site tech has evolved, security issues have been pressing in hard, our offices have moved to Oregon, and it was clearly time for a new look. Content-wise, the main changes have been to more clearly distinguish the activities of the Foundation from those of the Yoga Science Project of our Director, to enlarge and categorize the grants we’ve made over this past decade, and to add a new type of project—contract research—with the first being Wolfgang Lukas’ Custom Post-Doc Project.

9/16/16 – Strasbourg Conversations with the Dalai Lama
This day-long series of conversations between leading European contemplative scientists and His Holiness the Dalai Lama was held at one of the oldest and the finest universities in Europe. It was outstanding for the depth of respect and feeling expressed between the presenters and His Holiness. At the same time, His Holiness was given the opportunity to share his thoughts on key issues related to yoga science—perhaps most outstanding in his responses to Wolf Singer (Director Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, and founding Director, Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI)) featured in the partial transcript below.

Videos of both 2+hr sessions have been posted on YouTube (Session 1, Session 2) and feature excellent overviews of current cutting-edge research in contemplative science by leaders in our field in Europe. You can read an unedited, partial transcript of Session 1 here.

9/20/16 – Contract with Wolfgang signed — his study project begins. See Projects for details.

3/28/16 – B. Alan Wallace presents the Open Mind Study
“The Open Mind Study, a long-term project to develop a network of centers dedicated to the rigorous, empirical investigation into the nature and potentials of the mind. The Open Mind Study will be a collaboration among a variety of traditions — religious, scientific, and philosophical — designed to explore the inner resources of the mind and the role of consciousness in the natural world.” More on the Open Mind Study can be found by downloading these slides. The Santa Barbara Institute introduced the project in a letter early in the year.

4/16/15 – Work begins on preparing for a “custom post-doc” for Wolfgang.

4/18/14 – Website updated for clarity of language and to bring Projects and Content up to date.
Our two main foci since the last update have been ongoing support for a young physicist-in-training involved in the Large Hadron Collider who wants to make a career transition to something closer to yoga science. One of our Board members suggested we look into an innovative research project at Carnegie Mellon University using mobile apps to both support and monitor meditation training (for details, see Projects).