Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) and the Promise of Making Refuge

Oh man… once again this blog has become half-dead.

Let me try this again.

I’ve just received word that Ron Purser and Zack Walsh and I have been awarded the funding to the Mind & Life Institute’s Think Thank initiative.

Our project is entitled: Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) and the Promise of Making Refuge.

Below is the draft of the abstract that will eventually appear on the Mind & Life Institute’s website (we are formalizing the agreement now).

Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) and the Promise of Making Refuge

This Think Tank brings together engaged Buddhist and secular mindfulness practitioners, teachers, scholars, and activists from areas like minority rights and struggles, environmentalism and sustainability, critical pedagogy and liberal arts education.


We draw on Buddhist and feminist and posthumanist thinking for inspiration to formulate our working questions: what is refuge? where or when do we encounter refuge? who or what creates space for refuge?


We experiment with Socially-Engaged Mindfulness Interventions (SEMI) in order to probe the limits of prevailing outlooks. How might we develop more caring ways of relating the human to the nonhuman and vulnerability to resistance in “social”, “ecological”, or other modes of engagement with the world-in-becoming? What are the dangers accompanying the pathologizing connotations of “intervention”?


What new ways of engaging with mindfulness might be discovered by investigating these questions? What is the role of mindfulness in the investigation of these questions?


We perform these inquiries to resituate mindfulness as part of a larger praxis-ideal of making refuge, understood as the collective work of cultivating conditions of trust and safety necessary for living and dying well together as co-inhabitants of a precarious planet.


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