International Conference on Mindfulness 2024

Strand 5: Political, environmental, and global initiatives

political, environmental, and global initiatives

How can we turn mindfulness into action – personally, politically and socially?

Mindfulness has the potential to make a significant impact in our world at a time when we are facing multiple challenges. But for this to be realised, we all need to step up to meet the current issues of our time. We need to engage with policymakers, politicians, and influencers to establish sustainable and structured frameworks for mindfulness to thrive. As we draw the conference to a close, this strand will support us to reflect deeply about how each of us can make a difference and move forward with the work that is needed. We’ll consider our own unique contexts, life experience and skills that enable us to play a part in the bigger whole.   

The strand includes, but is not limited to:

  • Future Generations Act in Wales
  • Mindfulness and the interface with politics
  • Meditation practice and environmental/political attitudes and behaviour
  • Eco-anxiety
    Effects of climate change on individuals and society
  • Mindfulness and sustainability
  • Mindfulness and consumer behaviours?

Strand 5 begins with a Keynote from Jamie Bristow that incorporated a Panel and audience discussion. After this you can choose to attend either: a workshop, research symposium, or guided practice, which will be held across various spaces in Bangor University’s Pontio Centre. Strand 5’s closing Keynote is presented virtually with Jon Kabat-Zinn. 

Bristow, J., Bell, R., Wamsler, C. (2022). Reconnection: Meeting the Climate Crisis Inside Out.

Research and policy report.’ The Mindfulness Initiative and LUCSUS.

Bristow, J., Bell, R., Nixon, D. (2020). Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times. The Mindfulness Initiative.

Bristow, J. (Ed.). (2021). Responding to Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times – A compilation of essays. The Mindfulness Initiative.

Hundreds of millions of people have been introduced to mindfulness through apps (e.g., Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm), books (e.g., Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World) and tens of thousands through face-to-face mindfulness-based interventions (such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy). This workshop will step back to take an overview of the demands of our contemporary world. It will explore the growing field of mindfulness and its applications. What have we learned from research, from developing and teaching mindfulness programs, and from our own mindfulness practice? How can we unlock all that we have learned to create a world without the devastating effects of depression, where people enjoy mental health and well-being and are resourced to meet the challenges of the next 50 years.
Whether we are aware of it or not, the world’s most pressing issues affect us directly and indirectly–climate change, an explosion of information, new technology that is driving many societal trends, the prevailing culture. This resonance may be urgent and loud, like someone living in an area where crops are failing because of water shortages, or persistent and pervasive, such as the algorithms feeding us information via our digital devices, or subtle but constant, as in the background pollution of a busy city.
Many of the pressing issues in our world will need to be solved by human minds and hearts. This is true for smaller, local issues in our lives, and the larger issues facing not only our generation but also future generations. There are reasons to be hopeful. Throughout history well-trained minds working individually and together have addressed major health problems like smallpox, HIV-AIDS, and most recently COVID-19. Our forebears learned to farm so people could rely on food being available year around. More and more people around the world are living in economic conditions that create financial and material security. Nations and international bodies have created treaties and structures for preventing wars and maintaining security.
Being the change you’d like to see in the world is keeping yourself, other people, and our planet in mind, with the compass of your values, a map, and a route map. With curiosity, open-heartedness, and courage to keep learning as you move through different transitions in your life. Imagine an education that helps us develop the wisdom to see how things are, the imagination to see how we’d like them to be, and the creativity and courage to create the world we’d like to live in.
The workshop sets out an approach to teaching mindfulness as a transformative, lifelong practice. It will provide a map and route plan for anyone learning or teaching mindfulness. It draws on the mutuality and dialogue between ancient contemplative traditions and modern psychology to provide a road map, compass and a set of foundational skills for life. More than this, it considers how these skills can help us to flourish in the midst of the challenges of the contemporary world. This synthesis of ancient and modern can clarify intentionality, offer an ethical framework and provide a novel perspective on what it means to be “the change we’d like to see in the world.”
The workshop is based on Willem Kuyken’s research program at the University of Oxford, the 2019 book, co-authored with Christina Feldman Mindfulness. Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Psychology and two forthcoming books on Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for life. Jon Kabat-Zinn has described these ideas as: “A tour de force that elaborates in exquisite detail – yet with utter accessibility and clarity – what mindfulness is and where it comes from, as well as its profound ethical foundation, clinical applications, growing evidence base, and potential for healing.” A large body of research is attests to mindfulness-based cognitive-therapy’s effectiveness in preventing depression, promoting mental health and in the latest randomized controlled trial, enabling flourishing.
Learning and teaching methods
The workshop will include teaching, opportunities for discussion, small group work and mindfulness practice. Extensive resources will be provided.
Learning outcomes
The masterclass will provide answers to these questions:
  • What is mindfulness?

  • How can ancient wisdom and modern psychology together help us understand how distress and suffering are created and recreated? How can they help us understand how joy and well-being are created and sustained?

  • How does mindfulness support the path from suffering to flourishing? Is mindfulness a technique or a way of being in the world – or both? How does it enable transformation?

  • What would it take to reconceptualize secular mindfulness training as a transformative lifetime practice that helps people to live in the contemporary world – and more than this to shape the contemporary world in positive ways?

  • What are the important questions around ethics and integrity for mindfulness practitioners, teachers and the wider field? What supports this inquiry?

  • What does it mean to be the change we’d like to see in the world?
Who is it for?
The workshop is primarily for anyone teaching mindfulness-based programs. However, it will also be of interest to those who are learning mindfulness who wish to deepen their understanding.

Learning aims:

  • Examine the potential of embodied interdependence as a formal practice

  • Engage in a guided meditation on embodied interdependence

  • Assess and consider future applications for your personal practice and your life in community

ICM:2024 Mindfulness in a changing world

conference sessions centred around five key strands
en_GBEnglish (UK)