Talks & Presentations

Below you will find a list of presentations I have offered to general and professional communities. I am available to give talks on the following topics:

Public Talks

The Essence of Meditation & The Nature Mind

In addition to exploring the meaning of meditation, we will look at the three stages of meditation: stillness, insight, and being. We will look at how meditation is able to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and compulsions and why it has become so popular in the field of psychology. We will explore the difference between mind and the nature of mind as well as how to practically develop and maintain a daily meditation practice. Practical advice as offered by meditation masters Sogyal Rinpoche from his landmark book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as well as from the American Buddhist Nun Pema Chödron will be shared.

Turning Suffering & Happiness into Enlightenment

In this presentation we will look at the pearls of wisdom Buddhist Psychology may offer modern Psychology. We will draw from an essential, short text called Turning Suffering & Happiness into Enlightenment by the 19th century Buddhist Master Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpa Nyima. Preempting many of the current findings from modern Cognitive Psychology as its starting point, the text launches into a masterful exploration of how the very things we are averse or attached to can be used directly to unfold our hearts and minds with wisdom and compassion. The text summarizes in a comprehensive manner instructions for training and taming the mind.

The Marriage of Karma & Emptiness: The Buddha on Managing Health, Wealth, and Relationships with Wisdom

This presentation presents the world-view of Buddhism on why things appear the way they do. We will look at what the words “Karma” and “Emptiness” really mean in Buddhism and how they can be practically applied to day to day modern problems. A powerful case will be made for re-examining our assumptions about reality, distinguishing the difference between how things happen and why they happen, and how karma and emptiness are inextricably tied together to make for a coherent and consistent world-view which can have far reaching effects on how we live.

The Wisdom of Addiction: Turning Poison into Medicine

This talk normalizes the multifaceted and prevalent phenomenon of addiction. I will examine how cultural and individual alienation from the self plays an important role in the foundation for compulsive and addictive processes. A brief introduction to the work of Heinz Kohut’s Theory of Self-Psychology will be given as a framework for understanding the psychological basis for addictions. Pema Chödron’s “Four Rs” of recognize, relax, refrain, and repeat will be covered as a way to cultivate and apply mindful awareness and compassion to the addictive process. Key points within Buddhist Tantra will also be explored so as to find the medicine within the very poison of the addictive process. These will include looking at the five fundamental qualities of awareness which can serve as either obstacles or aids to growth depending on how we relate to them.

Academic Presentations

Metacognition

The meaning and importance of metacognition as a conceptual construct in meditation research is presented. Important differences between ‘metacognitive awareness’, ‘metacognitive knowledge’, and ‘metacognitive insight’ are discussed with an aim to identify where in the research these concepts are being confused and used interchangably and the importance of maintaining a clear distinction between these terms.

Meditation Research: Three Trends

Reports from my literature review of nearly a thousand mindfulness-based research articles since the 1960s shows three genres within meditation research: a scientistic approach, an ethnographic approach, and a context-mapping approach. I discuss these three genres and propose that they may be used as potentially useful organizing tools to help sift through the ongoing explosion of research within the field. Lastly, I discuss the particular significance of context mapping as a means by which alternative paradigms such as Buddhism may be integrated within the mainstream.

Buddhist Psychology vs. Buddhism as a Psychology

The distinction is made between Buddhist Psychology vs. viewing Buddhism as a Psychology. A case is made against viewing Buddhism as a psychology and some of the theoretical pitfalls and clinical dangers of doing so are identified. Conversely, we will also explore the merits of Buddhist Psychology and the important contributions it has thus far made within the field of cognitive psychology, positive psychology, and transpersonal psychology.