Cognitive Newsletter June 2014

A big concern about making Mindfulness available to all 9 million UK School children and then the world has been, how to do this in years rather than decades! While at the same time implementing in a manner that preserves the integrity of mindfulness training, extending the quantity without reducing the quality in new programmes.(1)(2)

 

I believe the solution to both aspects of this problem will come from two relatively new scientific areas: Cognitive Neuroscience, see the April 2014 Bangor University Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Conference;(3) and Cognitive Computing. The USA has created a $100 million fund for Neuroscience research as understanding the brain remains one of the most important scientific challenges of our time.(4) While cognitive computers are systems that learn and interact naturally with people to extend what neither humans or machine could do on their own - known as the 3rd Era of computing.(5) IBM are investing $1 billion in Cognitive Computing and has already focused development and research bringing cloud-delivered cognitive applications and services to areas such as health care and smarter energy.(6) Cognitive computing technology will help present confidence-weighted, evidence-based mindfulness steps related to the pupils learning style.(7)

 

The intersection between mindfulness and technology is interesting as they appear to pull in opposite directions, so is this an example of the evolution of knowledge! While the digital revolution is speeding up our lives and filling our heads with vast quantities of information, mindfulness practice is all about slowing down and emptying the mind to find as Osho said that "Emptiness and unknown are one"!(8) So it is no great surprise that Thich Nhat Hanh, who has sold more than 2m books in the US, after being invited to Silicon Valley by Google to lead a private day of mindfulness for CEOs of 15 of the world's most powerful technology companies said "If they begin to practise mindfulness, they'll experience joy, happiness, transformation, and they can fix for themselves another kind of aspiration. Fame and power and money cannot really bring true happiness compared to when you have a way of life that can take care of your body and your feelings".(9)

 

Yoga Bowers

The Mindfulness Foundation
22 June 2014 

 

(1) Bangor, Exeter & Oxford Mindfulness-Based Interventions TAC


(2) Guide for Monitoring Scale-up of Health Practices and Interventions

 

(3) 2014 Neuroscience of Mindfulness Conference ~ Bangor University
 

(4) The BRAIN Initiative is launching with $100 million funding


(5) IBM are investing $1 billion in Cognitive computing


(6) IBM Cognitive Computing Launch + 3d Era - New York 9 Jan 2014

 

(7) Cognitive computing confidence-weighted and evidence-based 

 

(8) Experiments with emptiness and the unknown ~ Osho

 

(9) Mindfulness and Technology ~ Thich Nhat Hanh