Events at Berkeley
The Mindfulness Initiative organizes retreats, speaker events, conferences, workshops, and weekly meditation sessions throughout the year. Most events are open to students, faculty, staff and alumni. Please check back in mid-August 2014 for fall events.
March 2014The Lawyer's Brain on Meditation: Insights from Neuroscience
Dr. Simon-Thomas discussed the effects of meditation on the brain, and how the practice can rewire the brain to improve the wellness, resilience, and effectiveness of lawyers. She also presented results of pilot studies demonstrating these effects among Berkeley Law students who participated in mindfulness-in-law courses.
Finding Calm Amidst Challenges: Mindfulness for Lawyers
March 10, 2014
Professor Angela Harris (UC Davis) and Tirien Steinbach ('99), Executive Director of the East Bay Community Law Center, gave a lunchtime presentation on the importance--and challenges--of mindfulness practice in social justice work.
Harris highlighted the apparent tensions between mindfulness and activism, in particular the mindful attitude to "accept things as they are" on the one hand, and the activist's desire to make change. As she and Steinbach explored in a riveting dialogue, a closer look at these apparent tensions reveals that mindfulness offers a crucial balancing force to the outward, striving attitude of the activist, and provides a source of strength to sustain the activist in the long run.
See video here: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/9r1yw
Mindfulness-based Programming at San Quentin: Turning Violence and Suffering Into Gateways for Learning and Healing
Verduin, McSween & Withaker spoke about the transformational, mindfulness-based programs that began more than 15 years ago at San Quentin and whose success has led them to be adopted by several other California prisons. Verduin is the director of Insight-Out, and founder of Insight Prison Project, the organizations that have pioneered these programs. Withaker and McSween have practiced mindfulness at San Quentin and are now Peacekeepers who promote non-violence in their communities.
Video of the talk: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/29ies
(Above left, two men embrace at the graduation ceremony for Insight-Out's year-long, Guiding Rage Into Power program at San Quentin)
On February 22 the Mindfulness Initiative hosted a Working Group on Mindfulness & Criminal Justice, featuring a number of leaders in bringing a meditative perspective into criminal justice work. Read our report here. Later in the day, the Mindfulness Initiative screened "Dhamma Brothers: East Meets West in the Deep South" a documentary about meditation programs in an Alabama maximum security prison. Working Group members Sujatha Baliga, David Onek and Jonathan Simon led an engaging discussion after the film (YouTube) with a sizable audience of students and faculty.
Restorative justice expert Sujatha Baliga came to Berkeley Law on Monday, Oct. 22 to present "Law's Middle Way: Mindfulness and Restorative Justice" as part of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice's Ruth Chance Lecture series. Click here to access the video from Sujatha's talk.
In her talk, Baliga addressed the value of mindfulness practice in both her prior work as a criminal defense lawyer and in her current role as the Director of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s Restorative Justice Project. She discussed the parallel paradigm shifts invited by the practices of mindfulness and restorative justice, as well as the place of forgiveness in restorative processes.
More than 70 people turned out for Sujatha's talk, and engaged in a rich dialogue after her prepared remarks.