Journey into Systemic Mindfulness


On May 21 I will give a presentation at the Radboud University Symposium on Mindfulness titled ‘The Journey into Systemic Mindfulness’. The lecture, which is followed by a workshop, explores my latest thinking on the natural (and inevitable) evolution in mindfulness practice, based on my own practice as well as the changing context of our time.

Power & Care – Conference with the Dalai Lama


At Mind & Life Europe we will organize a major and groundbreaking dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama and leaders from science, society, economics and arts, in Brussels from September 9-11, 2016. The theme will be ‘Power & Care’ – How can these two primal forces – power and care – be conscientiously and fruitfully allied, and engender projects and actions that promote the flourishing of living beings and of our environment?

Tickets are online available. See the Brochure.

Mind & Life Europe


I am very pleased to share the announcement on my appointment of new Managing Director of Mind & Life Europe, as of January 2016. Mind & Life Institute was founded in 1989 by neuroscientist Francesco Varela, businessman Adam Engle and H.H. the Dalai Lama, with the aim of facilitating the dialogue between modern scientists and practitioners of Buddhism and other ancient contemplative traditions. This has produced a series of groundbreaking meetings, insights and publications, most prominently in the field of neuro-science and psychology. The exchange has spanned into many scientific fields: quantum- and astro physics, medicine, biology, economics, sociology  and environmental studies. Taken together, the emerging insights point to a new scientific paradigm in which the mind and its transformational power for positive change are the gateway to achieving personal, inter-personal, organizational and societal well-being. Truly amazing! Imagine my joy to support Mind & Life Europe in its next stage of evolution.

“Relatie” als het nieuwe (en eeuwenoude) economisch principe


Op 27 oktober 2015 op het congres Boeddhisme en Psychologie leidt Sander een workshop over de “relatie-economie”. De inhoud speelt zich af op drie niveaus: het macro-economisch systeem, de organisatie (het bedrijf) en het individu (werknemer/ondernemer). Op elk niveau wordt in de moderne tijd gewerkt vanuit bepaalde uitgangspunten (wereld- en mensbeelden), die samen te vatten zijn als de transactie-economie. Het boeddhisme zet hier andere uitgangspunten tegenover, die in economisch zin zouden kunnen worden betiteld als de relatie-economie. Sander betoogt dat de huidige economische (en politieke!) crisis alleen opgelost kan worden als we ons van het transactie-denken naar het relatie-denken kunnen ontwikkelen. Boeddhisme fungeert hier als grote inspiratiebron, maar ook moderne wetenschappelijke stromingen bieden vele aanknopingspunten. We zullen op elk van de drie niveaus (systeem-organisatie-zelf) onderzoeken hoe deze verschuiving van transactie naar relatie kan plaatsvinden, zodat we in ons economisch handelen actief kunnen bijdragen aan een nieuw en meer duurzaam economisch en politiek bestel.nijmegen-IMG_3257

Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership


In August 2015 I participated in the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership (ACEL) of the Mind and Life Institute in Vermont. In a 6 day interactive program with faculty including Daniel Goleman, Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Daniel Siegel and Diana Chapman, and some 120 participants, we explored emerging approaches in linking the ‘inner science’ domains of contemplation, psychology, and neuroscience, with the ‘outer science’ domains of system thinking, economics, business and social change, in an attempt to create and develop a new field of academic inquiry. As the world of systems is increasingly becoming inadequate in responding to the crisis, there is a stronger need for contemplative leadership aimed at unlocking transformational potential in individuals, organizations and societies. See for example this paper of Otto Scharmer: The Blind Spot of Leadership.

Sustainability Accounting is Hot

I presented my paper on the Creating Shared Value Practice Framework at the WBCSD-EMAN Conference in Geneva on October 1-2, for researchers and practitioners in Sustainability Accounting and Reporting. Global companies, as evidenced by those present of BASF, Syngenta, Unilever, DSM and KPMG, are increasingly committed to accounting for the social and environmental impact of their organizations. Our approach on the CSV Practice Framework presents an innovative approach to measuring these impacts from the viewpoint of value creation (rather than value destruction), opening up wider application opportunities for business leadership and strategy than the current sustainability accounting guidelines (such as GRI) provide for.

Flow Impact Fund Dinner met Matthieu Ricard


Op 29 september organiseerden we het jaarlijkse Flow Impact Fund Dinner, met Matthieu Ricard als key-note speaker en 120 gasten van Flow Foundation. Matthieu Ricard is een monnik en schrijver, o.a. bekend van de best- en everseller ‘De monnik en de filosoof’ en het recente boek ‘Altruïsme’. In 2009 werd hij door Time Magazine en neuro-science onderzoekers die zijn brein bestudeerden, betiteld als ‘de gelukkigste persoon ter wereld’. Matthieu komt dit najaar met een nieuw boek met een krachtige en universele boodschap: ‘Waarom ik mijn vrienden niet opeet’. Hierin laat hij zien hoe een andere visie op voedsel en dieren, op basis van een oprechte bezorgdheid voor het welzijn van anderen, de oplossing kan zijn voor de voedsel problemen van onze tijd.


Mindfulness for Football Coaches


At the World Football Academy Expert Meeting in Barcelona we launched the new program Football Mindfulness for Professional Football Coaches, with 50 top professional coaches from across the world. After a key note presentation I led 5 morning sessions at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou park, as a taster of the one-day intensive program Football Mindfulness, which is new in the football world. Incorporating the latest insights from brain-science and performance science, ancient techniques from yoga and meditation, the program will provide football coaches with a practical tool for self-management, enhancing capacity for resilience (bouncing back after setbacks), focus & concentration and clear tactical thinking.WFA2015-flowyoga-indoor

Speaker at FSA congress


In my address to the FSA (Financial Student Association) I spoke on the need for looking at the continued financial sector crisis with fresh eyes. Seven years of analysis of the crisis in banking has not given us a vision for a sustainable financial sector. Drawing on the Gross National Happiness experiment in Bhutan (which I reviewed again on my recent visit there), I suggested that we should explore our mindsets – the assumptions and beliefs that we collectively hold in our minds as to the purpose of finance, and even the purpose of economics. See the You tube clip.

Ideas of Tomorrow 2015 (35)
Ideas of Tomorrow 2015 (30)

Seminar with Dr Dan Siegel

Dr Dan Siegel accepted our invitation as key note speaker at the Education of the Heart Expert Session on April 14. Dan joined me and other speakers to continue the conversation started in May last year at the Education of the Heart symposium with H.H. the Dalai Lama in Rotterdam. Dan explained how we can understand the mind in the context of optimal learning and development, integrating insights from neuro-science, psychology and education science. “mental health and development can best be understood as a process of the integration of consciousness, which by nature is embodied and inter-personal. The heart – and therefore the ‘education of the heart’ – can be understood as a metaphor for optimal learning”, explained Dan, for an audience of 100 educational experts at Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch.

Design Arnoud Smits Communicatiedesign • header image: "Song of Shambala" (detail) by Nicholas Roerich