Saybrook University Trustee, Dr. Rick Hanson, offers “Just Twelve Things” — Rich Guidelines on Finding Resources for the Soul.

Hanson full - Saybrook University Trustee, Dr. Rick Hanson, offers "Just Twelve Things" -- Rich Guidelines on Finding Resources for the Soul.
Dr. Rick Hanson


Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a Trustee of Saybrook University, and an expert on mindfulness, neuroscience, and the cultivation of compassion.  Dr. Hanson is a neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 22 languages) and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time (in 9 languages). Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR,  FoxBusiness,  Consumer Reports HealthU.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine and he has several audio programs with Sounds True.

Dr. Hanson’s weekly e-newsletter – Just One Thing – has over 67,000 subscribers, and also appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites.  For the holidays, he offered his readers the following special compilation called “Just Twelve Things.”  He has given permission to reprint the item for the School of Mind-Body Medicine community. The Twelve Things include upcoming workshops, blogs, poetry, courses, all supportive of mind-body-spirit learning.  Our thanks to Dr. Hanson for his service to Saybrook University and for this blog entry.

Just Twelve Things

1.  Compassion and Joy from Christian and Buddhist Perspectives is a four-hour workshop taught by James Baraz and Andy Dreitcer in the San Francisco Bay Area on January 13, 2013. This is a benefit for the Wellspring Institute that I founded, which freely offers practical methods at the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative practice. It publishes the Wise Brain Bulletin, provides the tools at, hosts the Skillful Means Wiki of tools for psychological and spiritual growth – a fantastic ressource! – and sponsors research. If you can’t come to the workshop itself, you can tell others about it in the Bay Area, and still support Wellspring if you want through a tax-deductible contribution through the Donate button.  

2.   I’m honored to be on the advisory board of the Greater Good Science Center – a world-class resource for mindfulness, compassion, empathy, parenting, and positive psychology. They offer a free newsletter and a phenomenal website chock-full of useful articles, videos, podcasts, quizzes – with a unique combination of academic prowess, heart, and service. As a non-profit organization, they rely on the help of their volunteers and donors. You can offer support by becoming a member, or gifting a membership to someone close to you. Our world faces many challenges, and the GGSC can help you find more good in it and in yourself.  

3. Tom Bowlin has been writing poems for many years, scribbling them down on everything from notepads to napkins, and he’s published a collection of them – titled “Us” – in an e-book available for both Kindle and Nook. Tom’s poetry is short but not always sweet. It comes raw from his own gritty life and cuts right to the bone – yet is still often funny, heart-opening, and inspiring. I love it!   

4.  Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Check out the workshops and retreats from this peaceful, welcoming, world-renowned center. 

5.  James Baraz has created Awakening Joy, a five-month course starting this January to develop your natural capacity for happiness and well-being. Over 10,000 people have taken it worldwide, and it’s been featured in O Magazine. It’s available both live in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the internet. The course is grounded in modern science and ancient wisdom, and it’s not fluff. It very honestly faces the hard parts of life while also exploring the healing, refueling, and awakening powers of joy. It’s unique and frankly not to be missed.

6. Deconstructing Yourself is a wonderful blog started by author (Ego) and meditation teacher, Michael Taft, and now with additional writers. It’s lively, edgy, brilliant, no-bull, practical, fun, direct, and straight from a deep heart. I love this site and wish there were 50 more like it. But there’s only one, and this is it. 

7.  The Mind and Life Institute is the legendary non-profit that brought together world-class scientists and contemplative practitioners such as the Dalai Lama. Now 25 years old, it is seeding a whole generation of researchers and practitioners, and I consider it to be one of the major forces for good in the world today.  

8.  Community Partners International provides concrete community benefits in Burma – for the child with malaria, for the mother needing emergency obstetric care, and for the father injured by a land mine.  

9.  Pariyatti provides valuable and inspirational resources related to the teachings of the Buddha. I get a daily quotation, and they also offer other free resources.

10.  I am a trustee of Saybrook University, which offers graduate degree programs for residential or online learning. At the center of the long tradition of humanistic psychology, Saybrook has great faculty, and financial aid is available.

11.  Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom covers how to use modern science, informed by ancient contemplative wisdom, to change your own brain for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more inner peace. OK, I wrote this one, but would put it on the list even if I hadn’t!  

12.  And for a bonus, check out these multiple extra offerings.  Animal Odd Couples is a deeply endearing PBS film about animal cross-species friendships; see the trailer for The Fear Project, a book that’s both thrilling and hopeful about our primal emotion; here is some old school Moody Blues with incredible harmonies; see 500 years of women portrayed in Western art; and enjoy one of the most weirdly impressive athletic performances I’ve ever seen. 

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