There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what mindfulness is and what meditation can do for those who practice it. In this video, professors, neuroscientists, psychologists, composers, authors, and a former Buddhist monk share their experiences, explain the science behind meditation, and discuss the benefits of learning to be in the moment. “Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience,” explains psychologist Daniel Goleman. The science shows that long-term meditators have higher levels of gamma waves in their brains even when they are not meditating. The effect of this altered response is yet unknown, though it shows that there are lasting cognitive effects. “I think we’re looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution,” says ABC News anchor Dan Harris. “Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you.” Closing out the video is a guided meditation experience led by author Damien Echols that can be practiced anywhere and repeated as many times as you’d like.
Brian Dias is a researcher in the field of neurobiology and an active participant in scientific innovation and education. Dr. Dias grew up in India and received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Over the years, he has investigated the neurobiology underlying depression, anxiety, PTSD, and anti-social behavior. Currently, Dr. Dias and his team are studying how mammalian neurobiology, physiology and reproductive biology are impacted by stress, and how legacies of stress perpetuate across generations. Among other outlets, Dr. Dias’ work has been featured in Nature, on the BBC, in a list of the 10 Most Important Discoveries of 2014 published by La Recherche Magazine. Most recently, Dr. Dias was quoted in articles about the legacy of trauma (BBC) and the neurobiology of family separation (BrainFacts). In 2017, Dr. Dias received a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar Award from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and is currently an Associate Fellow in CIFAR’s Child & Brain Development Program. In addition to research, Dr. Dias is interested in scientific innovation and education. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Generation X writer Neal Pollack thought he had it all: a good writing career, a strong marriage, even a lucrative 3-day run on “Jeopardy”! That brought him national attention. Like many in his generation, he also smoked a lot of marijuana. He had discovered that food, music and even his beloved yoga was much better when he smoked. In 2014, as several states in the country legalized pot, Pollack scored a writing gig for a marijuana site that provided free weed. He saw his drug use as harmless and joked about it often in his writing. But as more states, including California, began to legalize the drug, Pollack’s life began to fall apart, in part because of his drug use. Both of his parents died and he soon found himself spiraling out of control, sometimes in public. By 2018, Pollack admitted publicly he had a marijuana addiction and set about to conquer it, through honesty . . . and humor. Pollack’s new book, Pothead, is about coming to terms with his marijuana problems just as the country increased its recreational availability. The book is a cautionary and timely tale for those who think the drug isn’t dangerous and can’t cause serious addictive problems. Join us for a special evening program as Pollack discusses his story with Los Angeles novelist Bucky Sinister.