SESSION 1: HUMAN FLOURISHING

Matthew T. Lee, PhD.

Director of Empirical Research at the Human Flourishing Program, Harvard University

What is human flourishing? How is it related to happiness and love? Can any of these lofty ideals really be measured by scientific methods? What are some of the essential ingredients of flourishing at the individual and community levels? Does flourishing serve a larger purpose, and if so, what is flourishing for? This session offers a synthesis of current research being conducted by the interdisciplinary team at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University and will provide an overview of the theme for this year’s forum. Insights from rigorous social science studies combined with deep wisdom from the humanities support the timeless quest to integrate beauty, truth, and goodness in a spiritual work of love.

 
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Matthew T. Lee, Ph.D., is Director of Empirical Research at the Human Flourishing Program in the Institute for Quantitative Science at Harvard University, where he also leads the Program's Community of Practice. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Health, Flourishing, and Positive Psychology at Stony Brook University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, a visiting scholar with the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, a non-resident Research Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.  He previously served as President of the North Central Sociological Association and as Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity.  His current research explores topics such as benevolent service to others, organizational compassion capability, and the integration of social science and the humanities.  He is co-editor of Measuring Well-Being: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Social Sciences and the Humanities and co-author of The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God’s Love, both published by Oxford University Press.  He is co-editing a book for Routledge titled, Transcending Crisis: Carework, Emotions, and Human Flourishing.

SESSION 2: THE MEANING OF SUFFERING

Paul Wong, PhD.

Professor Emeritus, Trent University

What is suffering? Why do terrible things happen to good people? How can we make sense of suffering? What can we do about it? In this session, we will introduce a new approach that can help people transcend and transform suffering especially during the pandemic. 

 

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C.Psych. is Professor Emeritus of Trent University. He is a Fellow of APA and CPA and President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (www.meaning.ca) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc.

Editor of the International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, he has also edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning. A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists.

The originator of Meaning Therapy and International Meaning Conferences, he has been invited to give keynotes and meaning therapy workshops worldwide.

He is the recent recipient of the Carl Rogers Award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div. 32 of the APA).

SESSION 3: CONNECTING TO OUR AWARENESS

Ann Weiser Cornell, PhD.

President & CEO, Focusing Resources, Inc.

How do we become aware of the pain and suffering that we are carrying in our mind and body? How do we befriend both our suffering, and our defenses against it, so that they no longer limit us? As a response to Session 2 on Suffering, we will be exploring practical measures to become aware of unprocessed emotional pain and to embrace the wisdom of suffering as we release it.

 

President & CEO, Focusing Resources, Inc.

Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Psychology

SESSION 4: HOPE

Everett Worthington, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Psychology

There are different types of hope. How does hope benefit our spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical life and contribute to our well-being? Can we learn to hope? Or perhaps a better question is, can interventions make us more hopeful? This session will discuss some scientific research on hope and open questions about whether, and if so, how we can learn to be more hopeful when hope seems difficult or even impossible.

 

SESSION 5: SELF-COMPASSION

Mirabai Bush

Senior Fellow, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Compassion, which is empathy for the suffering of others with the desire to relieve that suffering, is important in all our relationships, including successful leadership. Compassion for others requires that you first tune in to your own needs and learn to care for yourself so that you understand what another person feels when his/her needs are not met - what we call suffering.  During this session, we will do simple practices that can help you tune to what you need right now to alleviate your own suffering so that you can flourish and go on to create a just and compassionate world.

 

SESSION 6: BELONGING

Various research on well-being and happiness points out that the health of our relationships plays an important role. We will be looking at the landscape of research on relationships and discuss the effects of personal relationships as well as the group dynamics in community settings. We will ask if there are lessons to be learned to improve our personal and community relationships and enhance our happiness and well-being. 

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Mirabai Bush is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Founding Director. Under her leadership, the Center introduced contemplative practices into higher education, law, business, environment leadership, military, and social justice activism. She also co-developed Search Inside Yourself for Google, the first program in mindfulness-based emotional intelligence.

 

She has been teaching workshops and courses on compassion and contemplative practice in life and work for 45 years. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, supporting sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. In the Seventies in Cambridge, MA, she founded and led Illuminations, a successful business based on principles of right livelihood.   

 

She is co-author with Ram Dass of Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying and Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service; co-author with Daniel Barbezat of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning; and editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live.

She has been a board member of Lions Roar, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Omega Institute, Seva Foundation, Military Fitness Institute, the Dalai Lama Fellows, and Love Serve Remember.  She is an advisor to Mindful magazine and Mindful.org.

 

Her spiritual studies include meditation in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She studied aikido with Kanai Sensei and has practiced Iyengar and Sivananda yoga.

 

SESSION 6: BELONGING

john a. powell

Professor of Law, African American and Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley

Humanity is confronting unprecedented global challenges. There are many paths we can take to respond to this moment: some incite fear, polarization, and competition while others encourage greater cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity. This session will explore the concept of belonging and the principles that offer a path forward toward a world where all belong. We will look at these issues through the framework of a challenge to our very sense of who we are and the need for a spiritual grounding and the implication for both policy and structure.  

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john a. powell is Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, and prior to that, the founder and director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota.

john formerly served as the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is a co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research
Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. john led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care, and employment and is well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “Targeted Universalism” and “Othering and Belonging” to effect equity-based interventions. john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University.

 

His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

SESSION 7: TAKING LOVE SERIOUSLY

David Cadman

Author

If Love is ‘of the essence’ what has she to tell us? And what would happen if we took Love seriously? David Cadman will reflect upon the discovery of Love and 0n Love’s relationship with the Divine Feminine, suggesting the urgent need to let go of the language of dominance and separation, and practise Love with intention.

 
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David Cadman is a Quaker writer living in England. Formerly an Urban Land Economist, he has been writing on love for more many years in both fiction and non-fiction.

 

In fiction, and writing under the name of William Blyghton, he has written four novels, all published by Panacea Books, the last of which was co-authored with Lorna Howarth and is titled The Language of Love. Under non-fiction, his two most recent publications are Love and the Divine Feminine (Panacea Books, 2020) and a collection of discussion papers titled The Recovery of Love, published on the Narrative of Love website (narrative-of-love.org).

 

He has held a number of professorships, visiting professorships and fellowships both in the UK and America and is presently a Harmony Professor of Practice at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, a Harmony Advisor to The Prince’s Foundation, and advisor to the Harmony in Education project in the UK.