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"In truth we are always present; we only imagine ourselves to be in one place or another."
—Howard Cohn

Equanimity in the Dharma and in Your Brain
Rick Hanson, Rick Mendius
Saturday, May 13, 9:30am - 4:30pm
Community Meditation Center
Sliding Scale $75 - $200. Please bring your lunch. Code RH2D17.
OPEN-Register Here

Equanimity means not reacting to your reactions, and that is both a wonderful relief from upsets and traumas and a profound resource for spiritual growth.

In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four Brahmaviharas (Divine Abodes) and is often considered the foundation of the other three: compassion, loving-kindness, and altruistic joy. Equanimity breaks the chain of suffering by helping you to not react to the pleasant or unpleasant feeling tone of experience with craving and clinging. Your equanimity, which is a state of mind, is based on underlying states of your brain. Modern neuroscience is revealing new ways to cultivate those brain states using a potent combination with time-tested Buddhist practices.

This experiential workshop, led by a neuropsychologist, will offer user-friendly information with lots of practical methods useful for both self-guided practice and in therapeutic settings. We'll cover: the Buddha's teachings on equanimity; the neurological machinery of emotional reactivity; how equanimity works in your brain to prevent, cool and heal destructive emotions; strengthening top-down, frontal lobe influences through Wise View and other elements of the Noble Eightfold Path; training bottom-up, limbic system reactions to be less fearful and angry, and more peaceful, connecting and constructive; neurodharma perspectives on healing from trauma. There will be time for questions and discussion. No background with meditation or neuroscience is needed.

Teachings are appropriate for the general public as well as health care professionals. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program when working with clients. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. See below for more information.

Learning Objectives for participating health care professionals- Based on the content of this program, you will be able to:

  • Describe the key neurological circuits of emotional reactivity;
  • Explain why evolution has led to a brain with a "negativity bias";
  • Teach clients or patients ways to use mindfulness practices to step back from the hedonic tone of experience and thus not be so affected by it;
  • Teach clients or patients ways to heal painful experiences through the technique of "taking in the good."
Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited income) are invited to attend this day for $45.


General Information

Online registration for our programs is available until 12 noon of the last business day prior to the day of the event (e.g. online registration for a Monday program ends at 12 noon on the prior Friday). There is an additional $5 fee for registering at the door. If you can't attend an event you registered for, please see our Cancellation Policy.

Visit our Online Bulletin Board for Ride Sharing to find or offer a ride.

Volunteer/Work Exchange opportunities, as well as full or partial Scholarships, may be available for this program. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteering@spiritrock.org or (415) 488-0164 x224.

Scholarships are not available for events listed as “Benefits.”

Even if you have been to Spirit Rock before, please review our Non-Residential Programs FAQ for useful information about what to wear, what to bring, how to get here, and more.

Continuing Education

This course offers 6 CE credits for $60 for psychologists and California licensed MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs, and nurses. If you have a different license and are interested in CE credit, please check with your licensing Board to see if credits for programs from APA or BRN approved providers are accepted.

Continuing Education credit is co-sponsored by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP10318 for 6 contact hours. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal for programs from APA approved agencies.

Credit is awarded for instructional time only and does not include movement. For more information, including attendance and cancellation policies, see Continuing Education (CE) Credit.

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