Why Do We Meditate?

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

With Ira Helderman and Lisa Ernst

Nashville Friends Meeting, 530 26th Avenue North

What are we looking from meditation practice? What brings us to first take it up and where do we believe it will lead?
In this talk, religious studies scholar and practicing psychotherapist Ira Helderman explains that, for well over a century now, psychologists have contemplated these questions and the answers they have put forward have significantly shaped contemporary Buddhist communities in the United States. From early talk therapists like Carl Jung and Erich Fromm to contemporary “mindfulness” practitioners and their critics, clinicians have held shifting understandings of the ultimate aims of both Buddhist and psychotherapeutic practice. Some have posited that psychotherapeutic and Buddhist traditions are intended to achieve identical ends. Others have believed that, though their methods may be similar, they are intended for very different purposes. Sharing both personal stories alongside his academic research, Helderman suggests that an awareness of the history of this discussion can grant greater insight into the intention that meditators bring to their own daily practice.

Ira Helderman PhD, LPC is a religious studies scholar, practicing psychotherapist, and adjunct instructor in Vanderbilt University’s Department of Human Development Counseling. His recently published book Prescribing the Dharma: Psychotherapists, Buddhist Traditions, and Defining Religion (University of North Carolina Press) is the first comprehensive examination of the surprisingly diverse ways that psychotherapists have approached Buddhist traditions throughout history. For more information on Ira’s research and publications please go to irahelderman.com

Suggested donation: $10 – $20, no one turned away.