San Diego Awakening To Mindfulness - March 2010


8:30-10 a.m. KEYNOTE

MINDSIGHT: The Power of Connection, the Science of Reflection

This presentation will explore ways in which seeing the mind can integrate the brain and deepen our relationships – with each other, and ourselves. By examining a range of sciences, we can view “mindsight” as the fundamental skill that illuminates the nature of our internal sea and enables us to navigate its waters with more clarity and calm. Highlighted in this presentation is the interconnected nature of Mind, Brain, and Relationships in our lives.

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine
Author, Mindsight, Bantam, 2009

10:15-11:45 a.m. KEYNOTE


Mindful awareness can be seen as harnessing the power of a “resonance” circuit in the brain to enable us to attune to ourselves. By drawing on the science of mindfulness practice, we can see how the intentional creation of a neural state of mind becomes an enduring trait in our lives. Encouraging the power of reflection to promote resilience and empathetic relationships, we can help ourselves and others to bring more compassion and resourcefulness into our lives.

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

11:45-12:45 p.m. LUNCH ON YOUR OWN

1:15-2:45 p.m. (Concurrent Workshops)

THE TROUBLE WITH BEING SPECIAL: Starting a new conversation about America’s children

America’s parents and children have overdosed on the individual self. Raised with an over-focus on praise, individualism, and pressures to be or have the best, a generation of teens and young adults feel unready to take on the normal responsibilities and adversities of life. Instead of self-confidence and a spirit of adventure about the future, these young people wrestle with feelings of inferiority or superiority, restlessness, and unrealistic fantasies of achievement, wealth, power, and celebrity, as well as a hair trigger for humiliation.

How can parents, educators and young people themselves respond to this problem without blame or shame? How can we find a new foundation for confidence that is rooted in the wisdom of ordinariness, sharing and compassion? At this moment in American society, we are challenged to discover a new responsible interdependence. Answering this challenge, I will examine the “self-esteem trap” –its roots and character – and suggest some solutions for those who are raising the next generation as well as for those young adults who are stymied by an over-focus on self. This presentation will explicate a new model for developing responsible interdependence that is derived from the dialogue between Buddhism and contemporary psychotherapy.

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont
Author, The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident & Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance

BEFRIENDING FEAR & PAIN PART 1: Mindfulness in the Treatment of Anxiety

The first part of this workshop presents guidelines for when and how to introduce mindfulness techniques to clients, along with a step-by-step, mindfulness based program for treating anxiety. You will see how to use mindfulness to augment cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, and systems approaches, and will learn ways to deal with the obstacles and challenges that arise when working with particular personalities.

Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Author, The Mindfulness Solution, Guilford Press

3:15-4:45 p.m. (Concurrent Workshops)

GETTING FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR FEELINGS: How Buddhism & Psychology Improve your Intimate & Family Relationships

Drawing on Shirzen Young’s Vipassana approach to working with feeling states & Carl Jung’s model of psychological complexes, this talk addresses the relational suffering that arises from emotional habits, especially those rigid and repetitive patterns that interfere with our seeing ourselves and others as we are.

Of particular focus will be interactions between partners & parents in family life and romance.

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

BEFRIENDING FEAR & PAIN PART II: Resolving Chronic Pain & Stress-Related Medical Disorders

This workshop examines the common mechanisms underlying chronic pain, insomnia, digestive distress and sexual dysfunction. You will see how to use mindfulness practice as part of a four-step program that can help resolve these disorders for many patients.

Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.

FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010

8:30-10 a.m.

THE ART & SCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS: Integrating Mindfulness into Psychotherapy & the Helping Professions

This workshop offers scientific research and meditative practices for therapists interested in awakening the mind and opening the heart. Drawing on current research we investigate the effects of mindfulness mediation on decreasing pathology & increasing positive psychological & physiological states.

Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D.

Professor of Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University
Co-author, The Art & Science of Mindfulness, 2009
Previously Adjunct Professor, Andrew Weil’s Integrated Medicine Program, University of Arizona

10:30-12 noon (Concurrent Workshops)


Meditative and mindfulness practices to explore ways of applying mindfulness personally & professionally to cultivate greater happiness, health & freedom.

Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D.

NARCISSUS MEETS BUDDHA: Transforming Narcissistic Relationships

This lecture will focus on the integration of mindfulness practice work with narcissistic clients as well as developing a new understanding of the causes of this form of psychological suffering. We will examine creative ways to deal with the obstacles and challenges that arise when working with narcissists as well as contraindications for using mindfulness techniques. Techniques for treating the underlying emotions of shame, anxiety, dysphoria and anger in narcissists will be introduced. Finally, because these clients are often challenging this presentation will also address how to maintain our own mindfulness and empathy with difficult clients.

Rokelle Lerner

Author, Living in the Comfort Zone: The Gift of Boundaries in Relationships.
President, Lerner & Associates, St Paul, MN.
Consultant, Cottonwood de Tucson

12- 1:30 p.m. LUNCH – on your own

1:30-3 p.m.


The Buddha, one of the world’s first great psychologists, often said he taught one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering. Despite the fact that, to us, this appears to be two things, the Buddha chose his words carefully. There is something in the Buddha’s teachings that, when correctly understood, helps us to find release from suffering in the midst of our experience of it.

Today’s meditations and discussion will center around this possibility.

Mark Epstein, M.D.

Psychiatrist, private practice in NYC integrating Buddhism
Author, Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart
Author, Psychotherapy Without a Self

Sharon Salzberg

One of America’s leading meditation teachers & writers Author, The Kindness Handbook, 2008
Author, Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, and many other books

3:30-5 p.m.


The core Buddhist strategy of bare attention is defined as the clear and single-minded awareness of what happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception. This is a capacity of self-reflection, and a method of self-acceptance, that can be cultivated, as we will see this afternoon. It is the key, according to the Buddha’s psychology, to freeing the mind from reactive emotions that distort the perception of reality.

Epstein and Salzberg


8:30-10 a.m.


Buddhism has been called the most psychological of the world’s religions and the most spiritual of the world’s psychologies. In this morning’s session, we will explore the core psychological insight of the Buddha, shunyata: the absence of absolute self in person and phenomena. While many people have a sense of fear or apprehension when they first hear of this concept, the actual discovery of shunyata is often likened to the joy of being reunited with a long lost friend or relative. “I was like a mad child long lost his old mother.” Begins one famous verse, which goes on to equate voidness with the face of the mother.

10:30-12 noon


We suffer because we misperceive, taught the Buddha. We experience ourselves as all alone in the world, disconnected and struggling. We exaggerate our aloneness & operate as if we are always on the defensive. To counter this perception, the Buddha taught meditations on compassion and sympathetic joy that we will explore this morning.

12-1 p.m. MINDFULNESS LUNCH – Box Lunch Provided

1-2:30 p.m.


Within longing, behind addiction, beneath rage and under confusion lies a joy accessible to all. Uncovered by the Buddha during a period of self-investigation preceding his enlightenment, this joy became the wellspring of his psychology and the foundation of his Middle Path. We will relate this discovery to the pioneering work of D.W. Winnicott and show how essential it is for the practice of psychotherapy.

3-4:30 p.m. EMOTIONAL LIFE: Strategies of Transformation

Buddhist tradition teaches that greed, hatred, and delusion are the roots of suffering; the three poisons that bind us to the wheel of dissatisfaction. It also teaches that each of these destructive traits can be transformed into a corresponding wholesome quality.

Through the practice of compassionate awareness, greed transforms to faith, hatred to wisdom and delusion to equanimity. This afternoon’s concluding discussion will focus on how a Buddhist perspective can help make emotional life a vehicle for awakening.

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