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The Mindfulness Revolution: Zombie Apocalypse or Productive Peace in a Frantic World?


This course is an Honours Class and therefore only available for students of an honours college

Enrolling in this course is possible until the 15th of November, using the link at ‘registration’ during this period.


Secular mindfulness’ has become pervasive in ‘Western’ societies: hundreds of popular books promise to enhance our mental, spiritual, professional and physical health; academic research has mushroomed. Mindfulness is now in hospitals, schools, universities, corporations, militaries, and governments. Many private teachers have set up business in a largely unregulated industry amidst talk of a ‘mindfulness revolution.’

But a vital central question remains under analyzed: what actually is mindfulness?

In this course, we will explore the possible roots of mindfulness in various philosophical, psychological, and spiritual traditions, looking for the parameters of a comparative and global concept, including its critical, ethical, and political implications. We will take seriously the idea that mindfulness has to be experienced to be understood, and hence the classes will comprise a combination of theory and practice; participants will be their own laboratories in ‘experimental philosophy.’


The week in January is imagined as an intensive ‘retreat.’
The morning sessions in January will include meditation-labs, for class practice.
The afternoon sessions will include more conventional academic seminars, covering the interrogation of mindfulness from the standpoint of various different scholarly disciplines, including psychology, philosophy, politics, history and religious studies.

The full-day in May will take the form of a student-led conference, at which students will test-drive their research findings.

Additional ‘refresher’ sessions can be arranged in Feb-April if desired.


Intensive week and one full day in late May for final conference.
25, 26, 27, 28, 29 January (10:00 – 17:00), exact date in May in consultation with students.


De Oude Sterrewacht / Old Observatory, Sterrenwachtlaan 11, Leiden

Assessment method

Daily written exercises (reflection), daily pracitces, presentation, final essay



Maximum number of students





Enrolling in this course is possible until 15 November via this link .


Prof.dr. Chris Goto-Jones