Deploying Mindfulness to Unlock Our Human Potential
If we are to be successful in our careers and in our lives, we must overcome the barriers that hold us back from engaging in life and develop our distinctly human attributes of wisdom, creativity and love. To this end, I will show how we can deploy the tools of mindful awareness to take advantage of the potential for neural plasticity to counter anxiety and distraction and cultivate positive cognitive and emotional faculties.
The intended outcomes of this course are:
- To increase our capacity for stability and relaxation in an increasingly frenetic world
- To enhance our powers of concentration through taming restlessness and distraction
- To reduce the hold of negative emotions—especially fear, anxiety, and loneliness
- To reinforce positive emotions—especially joy, compassion, and love
- To cultivate wisdom and creativity
- To enhance our capacity of engage with one another—deploying empathy and compassion to embrace diversity and inclusion
- To assist our quest for purpose and meaning in our lives.
To achieve these objectives, we shall draw upon a growing body of knowledge about the human mind provided by philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and religion but, most of all, we shall explore the insights available from nurturing mindful awareness through meditation.
For those that wish it, the instructor will be available for short individual consultations outside of class hours.
The principal vehicle for cultivating mindful awareness is meditation. To provide a taste of meditation, classes will begin and end with a few minutes of quiet sitting.Campus Life currently offers meditation spaces and classes, learn more here!
The course is divided into two self-contained modules. Please feel free to join the second module even if you have not taken the first module.
Module 1: 3, 10, 17 October 2023 at 6:15 pm — 7:30 pm (on campus)
Module 2: TBD
Tues. 03 October. 18.15-19.30. SESSION 1. The Potential that Awaits
How evolution has failed to equip us for the challenges of 21st century life. The potential to develop the attributes that can make us happier, more effective human beings. How meditation and mindfulness practices can help us to achieve this. The starting point: calming the mind, combatting restlessness.
• Daniel Goleman & Richard Davidson, “Does Mindfulness Really Work” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBg2i7ZsXgk
• James R. Doty “Hacking your Brain for Happiness” Ted Talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4TJEA_ZRys
Tues. 10 October 18.15-19.30. SESSION 2. Living with Anxiety
Why are we fearful? Anxiety and the pathology of fear. The problem of self-consciousness. Living with difficult emotions.
• Sam Harris, “How To Never Be Anxious Again & Stay Calm” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldRx7ZJBwqI (from min. 4:00) or Sam Harris, “How to Instantly Achieve a Calm State” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StzNlYXnCm4 (from min. 18:55 to min. 27:00)
Tues. 17 October 18.15-19.30. SESSION 3. Beyond Conceptual Knowledge: Nurturing Wisdom and Creativity
Outline: How do we become wise? Acquiring knowledge vs. freeing ourselves from habit and delusion. Inspiring the imagination to assist creativity.
• Neel Burton, “What Is Wisdom? The psychology and philosophy of wisdom”, Psychology Today, 14 Nov. 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201811/what-is-wisdom
• “Can 10 minutes of meditation make you more creative?” Harvard Business Review, Aug. 2017. https://hbr.org/2017/08/can-10-minutes-of-meditation-make-you-more-creative
• Guided meditation to enhance creativity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSqEYFsF3w8
Registration to the first module of the course should be made through yoU@B Student Diary (Home > Various activities) starting from 11 September 2023.
About your Instructor
Robert Grant is emeritus professor of strategic management in Bocconi’s Department of Management and Technology. I joined Bocconi in 2008 after faculty positions at Georgetown University, London Business School, City University, California Polytechnic, University of British Columbia, and St. Andrews University. In addition to teaching and research in business strategy, I have pursued Buddhist meditation for the past 25 years. This course draws primarily upon the insights I have gained through contemplation and reflection.