DeMystifying Mindfulness is a massive open online course (MOOC) from Leiden University offered via Coursera.
Interest in meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation has grown exponentially in recent years. Rather than being seen as mystical practices from ancient Buddhism or esoteric philosophy, they are increasingly seen as technologies rooted in evidence from psychology and neuroscience. Mindfulness has become the basis for numerous therapeutic interventions, both as a treatment in healthcare and as a means of enhancing well-being and happiness. For millions around the world, mindfulness has become a life-style choice, enhancing and enriching everyday experience. Mindfulness is big business.
But, what actually is mindfulness? Is it really good for us? Can anyone learn it? How can we recognize charlatans? Would you want to live in a mindful society, and would it smell like sandalwood? What does it feel like to be mindful? Are you mindful already, and how would you know?
Evolving from the popular Honours Academy course at Leiden University, this innovative online course combines conventional scholarly inquiry from multiple disciplines (ranging from psychology, through philosophy, to politics) with experiential learning (including specially designed ‘meditation labs,’ in which participants get chance to practice and analyze mindfulness on themselves). In the end, the course aims to provide a responsible, comprehensive, and inclusive education about (and in) mindfulness as a contemporary phenomenon.
During the production of this course, we have been supported by Willem Kuyken, Director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and Stephen Batchelor, co-founder of Bodhi College. And we gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by Mark Williams, co-developer of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Rebecca Crane, Director of the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at the University of Bangor.
The fantastic art for this MOOC (including the character set) was conceptualized by Chris Goto-Jones and illustrated by Siku.