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Mindfulness and Meditation Talks at Google

Compared to most other companies who have started jumping onto the mindfulness train over the past few years, Google has a long and established history with mindfulness, which can be traced back to the hiring of Chade-Meng Tan back in 2000. Chade-Meng became known as Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow”  and launched the Search Inside Yourself class at Google, which became a hugely popular class at the company and has evolved into the Search Inside Yourself Institute.

Over the years, Google has hosted a number of mindfulness and meditation talks, given by the top names in the field, including scientists and Buddhist monks. This is a list of some of those talks.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page and check back often, as I’m planning to update this list regularly.

Mindfulness – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center.

His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of science. He teaches mindfulness, which he says can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness. The stress reduction program created by Kabat-Zinn, called Mindfulness-based stress reduction, is offered by medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations.” (from Wikipedia)

Mindfulness Stress Reduction And Healing – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn will describe the revolution in medicine over the past 30 years that has integrated the mind back into the body and developed a remarkable range of practices for integrating one’s experience, reducing stress, healing the body, coping more effectively with emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression, and cultivating greater well-being and happiness. His work has been instrumental in bringing Buddhist meditative practices, as he likes to say, “without the Buddhism” to full acceptance within the mainstream of medicine, psychology, and health care.

Mindfulness as a Foundation for Health – Thich Nhat Hanh

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay in his circles) made a rare visit to the Googleplex to lead a half-day Health@Google workshop in the fundamentals of mindfulness. The exercises and rituals of mindfulness lay the path to optimal health and happiness.

Thay may be the second most famous Buddhist monk in the world, right after the Dalai Lama. He is certainly one of the best known and most respected Zen Masters in the world. Thay is a best-selling author, poet, and peace activist who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. He is a key pioneer in actively applying insights from meditation to solving real-world social, political and environmental problems. Thay most recently published Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, with Harvard School of Public Health nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung. At 85, he’s touring North America before retiring to his monastery in France.

Life at Google is fast, furious and fun, yet it can take a toll on ourselves and our loved ones. Through Thay’s specially crafted workshop, you’ll learn how to reduce stress, eat for health, sleep better, find emotional stability, improve concentration and sustain optimal performance.

Mindful Schools: Mindfulness, Neurobiology and Children – Chris McKenna

Chris McKenna is Program Director at Mindful Schools, one of the leading organizations in the U.S. integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. Mindful Schools has trained thousands of educators and mental health professionals in all 50 U.S. states and 60+ countries, impacting approximately 200,000 children and adolescents.

Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain – Richard J. Davidson

In this talk, Richard J. Davidson will explore recent scientific research on the neuroscience of positive human qualities and how they can be cultivated through contemplative practice. Distinctions among different forms of contemplative practices will be introduced and they will be shown to have different neural and behavioral consequences, as well as important consequences for physical health in both long-term and novice practitioners.

New research also shows that meditation-based interventions delivered online can produce behavioral and neural changes. Collectively, this body of research indicates that we can cultivate adaptive neural changes and strengthen positive human qualities through systematic mental practice.

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple – Russell Simmons

Master entrepreneur, original hip-hop mogul, and New York Times bestselling author Russell Simmons shares the most fundamental key to success—meditation—and guides readers to use stillness as a powerful tool to access their potential.

In the New York Times bestseller Super Rich, Russell Simmons proved that to be rich is more than just having money in the bank—wealth is about balance, joy, and conscientious living.

In Success Through Stillness, Simmons shows the connection between inner peace and outward success through interviews with other successful leaders in various industries, and how learning to be still has been instrumental in his own career. Simmons attributes his meditation practice with changing his life for the better and says that there is no “bad” way to meditate, only different forms for different people.

In this new book, Russell Simmons guides readers into finding greater clarity and focus, and explains how to be healthier in both mind and body. Simmons breaks down what he’s learned from masters of meditation into a guide that is accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice.

Why Meditation is the New Caffeine – Emily Fletcher

Emily Fletcher, one of the world’s leading experts on meditation, will explain the differences between the two most popular styles of meditation, how they affect the brain differently and the impact of stress on performance. Emily will also lead you through a simple breathing technique and guided visualization that will help balance the right and left sides of the brain.

This talk will cover:

– How the fight or flight reaction can work for you or against you- Why emotional intelligence is so important for not only personal happiness, but professional success and how anyone can learn it- How to not let goals get in the way of success

How to Meditate in a New York Minute – Mark Thornton

A revolution is occurring in business: meditation is being practiced at McKinsey & Co,Harvard Law School, INSEAD and global banks. The ability for a leader to find his center, source and authentic truth is what meditation delivers. Authentic leadership. Greater perspective. Creativity and intuition. These are critical skills you can now learn for your career.

This Health@ Google talk will cover:

– How you can build superior focus and concentration- How to create leadership advantage by reducing unwanted stress on a consistent basis- Meditation techniques you can master in a NY Minute

Don’t Worry. Be Grumpy – Ajahn Brahm

Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm will describe how to upload ancient wisdom into modern technology. He will reveal the code for the antivirus to stress, show how to delete depression, and give Buddha-tech support to peace of mind. Synergizing Mindfulness with Kindness, we can transform the iPad into the UsPad and the SmartPhone into the SillyPhone. Google, your searching is over, the Google Gooroo has arrived!

The Buddha Walks into the Office – Lodro Rinzler

Lodro Rinzler, Buddhist author and meditation teacher, stops by Google NYC to talk about his latest book, “The Buddha Walks into the Office: A Guide to Livelihood for a New Generation”

Chade-Meng Tan: “Search Inside Yourself”, Authors at Google

In designing Search Inside Yourself, a popular course at Google, early Google engineer and personal growth pioneer Chade-Meng Tan (Meng) has distilled emotional intelligence into a set of practical and proven tools and skills that anyone can learn and develop. Created in collaboration with a Zen master, a CEO, a Stanford University scientist, and Daniel Goleman (the guy who literally wrote the book on emotional intelligence), this program is grounded in science and expressed in a way that even a skeptical, compulsively pragmatic, engineering-oriented brain like Meng’s can process.Search Inside Yourself reveals how to calm your mind on demand and return it to a natural state of happiness, deepen self-awareness in a way that fosters self-confidence, harness empathy and compassion into outstanding leadership, and build highly productive collaborations based on trust and transparent communication. In other words, Search Inside Yourself shows you how to grow inner joy while succeeding at your work. Meng writes: “Some people buy books that teach them to be liked; others buy books that teach them to be successful. This book teaches you both. You are so lucky.”

Authors@Google: Mingyur Rinpoche

This refreshing book is yet another sign that the next generation of Buddhism is creative, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary. Born in 1975 in Nepal, the author is among the generation of Tibetan lamas trained outside of Tibet, and he’s also a gifted meditator. His brain activity has been measured during meditation, earning him the enviable sobriquet of “happiest man on earth.” He fuses scientific and spiritual considerations, explaining meditation as a physical as well as a spiritual process. Mingyur Rinpoche knows from experience that meditation can change the brain. He experienced panic attacks as a child that he was able to overcome through intensive meditation. If diligently practiced, meditation can affect the “neuronal gossip”—his imaginative rendering of brain cell communication—that keeps us stuck in unhappy behaviors. The meditation master offers a wide variety of techniques, counseling ease in practice to avoid boredom or aversion. Less is more; practice shorter periods more often, he says. His approach will be especially welcome for anyone frustrated by meditation or convinced they’re “not doing it right.” This book is a fresh breath from the meditation room, written with kindness, energy and wit. Three cheers for a cheerful contemplative.