Dennis Johnson’s main interests are currently set within the interdisciplinary and applied fields of Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology and their potential to provide a new paradigm for individual, social and cultural transformation based on traditional knowledge as well as modern science. He has an academic background in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies from the University of Vienna and has worked as librarian, translator and editor. Recently, he has pursued additional training in various mindfulness-based, psychosocial and psychotherapeutic interventions, in the context of which he has also completed a clinical research internship at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. Next to teaching, lecturing and writing, Dennis is currently engaged as a freelancer in various professional activities through which he provides contemplative training and academic information services. Links: www.dennis-johnson.com, www.contemplativemetadata.wordpress.com
Beyond Mindfulness – Beyond Psychedelics
This lecture will address the emerging affinities and potential synergies between mindfulness-based interventions and the renaissance of psychedelic research in general as well as psychedelics as a pharmacological pathway for increasing mindfulness-related capacities and the possible role of mindfulness in navigating psychedelic experiences in particular. An overview of recent clinical and neuroscientific research will provide evidence for this curious relationship by highlighting the increasing use of mindfulness-related scales and concepts as outcome measures in psychedelic research as well their possibly shared mechanisms of action. Since mindfulness has arisen as a modernized and evidence-based translation of traditional Buddhist contemplative practices, these recent research findings may also shed new light onto the disputed relationship of Buddhism and psychedelics, especially if these are contextualized within the wider perspective of historical, cultural and philosophical studies. The lecture will close with a few implications for the future development of the research and practice of both mindfulness and psychedelics by questioning what psychedelic researchers and practitioners may learn from the pros and cons of mainstreaming mindfulness and how more traditional Buddhist viewpoints may provide potentially fruitful contributions to this discourse.