CBD 2023: Self-transformation through Contemplative Experience: A Neurobiological Perspective with David Vago, PhD

October 31, 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Evolutionary, contemplative, neurobiological, and clinical perspectives inform the phenomenology and function supporting the act of being a self in the world. Together, we will explore the multifaceted nature of the 'self' and its role in our interactions with the world around us. 

The 'self' is not a singular, unchanging entity, rather it is a dynamic, multi-dimensional phenomenon that is shaped by a myriad of cognitive processes and neurobiological mechanisms. A comprehensive conceptual framework will be presented to illuminate the cognitive processes and neurobiological mechanisms that support self-related processing. This includes the mechanisms of self-awareness, the ability to regulate one's thoughts and emotions (self-regulation), the capacity to transcend one's individual identity and connect with a larger non-dualistic reality (self-transcendence), and the integration of one’s de-reified insights into a unified experience of the whole individual (self-integration). How these processes and mechanisms can be harnessed for adaptive self-transformation will be highlighted. We will delve into the role of contemplative practices, such as meditation and other mind-body approaches, in facilitating this transformation. These practices offer systematic mental training that can contribute to the cultivation of a resilient, discerning, wise, compassionate ‘self’ as well as help individuals reshape their vulnerable, traumatized, or limiting aspects of 'self'. Recent research highlighting the role of contemplative practices in the reshaping of ‘self’ that leads to profound changes in their perceptions, emotions, and behaviors towards well-being and flourishing, will be presented.

This keynote is part of a two session series taught by David Vago. Attendees are encouraged to register for one or both sessions in the series.
The second session in the series is on Nov. 1 and titled,
"iPause Guided practice #11, Cultivating Self-awareness and transformation: A Noting & Labeling Practice with David Vago, PhD"

Dr. David Vago is an Associate Professor and visiting faculty at the Contemplative Sciences Center, University of Virginia, Director of Neurosciences and Communications for the International Society for Contemplative Research and Research Lead for the mental health and well-being platform, RoundGlass. Dr. Vago also maintains a research associate position in Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Vago is formerly the Research Director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt and core training faculty for the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation. Dr. Vago is also the former Senior Scientist for the Mind and Life Institute, for which he is currently a Research Fellow.

CBD 2023: Self-transformation through Contemplative Experience: A Neurobiological Perspective with David Vago, PhD is part of the free Contemplation by Design Summit, Oct. 24- Nov. 2, 2023.

The full Summit schedule is posted at: http://contemplation.stanford.edu/summit. All events are FREE and online.

Registration opens September 12, 2023