Miyo Samten Ling, Home of the Center for Contemplative Research (CCR)
“I am delighted that the Center for Contemplative Research has taken up the challenge to explore the nature and potentials of the mind.”
- H.H. the Dalai Lama, 2020
What is the CCR?
The Center for Contemplative Research in Crestone, Colorado, has been founded with a singular mission:
To join contemplative and scientific inquiry to create a new science of consciousness.
And to explore the profound proposition that consciousness is as fundamental to the universe as energy and matter.
Picking up where the Shamatha Project left off, Center for Contemplative Research seeks to radically transform education. Health. Wellness. Environmental crisis.
And to help restore balance where it has been lost: In the lives of individuals and in the global community as a whole.
The Core Mission of the CCR is to spark a radical shift in humanity’s understanding of the nature and potentials of consciousness and to revolutionize the way we approach genuine happiness and mental wellbeing. CCR believes that these new insights will have a profoundly positive impact on all aspects of human society, moving us away from the socially and environmentally detrimental views that support the materialistic and highly fragmented way of life that defines our modern era.
The primary method employed by CCR in pursuing these new insights is the interphase between highly trained meditators and world-class scientists from across various disciplines. CCR’s primary contribution to this new and exciting collaboration is a group of fully committed and highly trained meditators who will be engaging in full-time retreat at the CCR hermitage and serving as the all-important first-person researchers into the nature and potentials of consciousness.
While CCR retreatants come from diverse spiritual backgrounds, the core contemplative practices pursued at the hermitage come from the Buddhist tradition. Retreatants will begin with the cultivation of shamatha (stabilization of awareness) and the heart-practices of loving-kindness and compassion, followed by inquiry into the nature of mind and reality through vipashyana (meditative inquiry). All of these practices will be grounded in a highly ethical way of life, rooted in the principles of non-violence and benevolence. Through these practices, CCR retreatants will not only be forwarding our scientific understanding of mind, consciousness, and reality, they will also be exploring the highest potentials of the contemplative path and the intersections between various contemplative traditions. The results of their practice will then illuminate the lessons that we, in the 21st century, can learn from these ancient traditions.
CCR believes the social applications of these new understandings of consciousness and the relationship between sustained meditative training and mental wellbeing will be far-reaching across various fields, from education and mental health, to business, government, and technology. CCR also foresees many of its long-term retreatants becoming leaders and educators in the fields of consciousness studies, mental health, and spiritual practice.
(NOTE: The following video was filmed while CCR was still considering purchasing land in Italy. CCR has since purchased land in Crestone, CO, and founded the Center for Contemplative Research, USA there.)
The Shamatha Project
The Shamatha Project – also brought forth by B. Alan Wallace – was in many ways the precursor, or “test run” for the Center for Contemplative Research. The most comprehensive study of meditation to date, the Shamatha Project investigated the psychological and physiological processes underlying intensive and sustained meditation practice. In a randomized, controlled study, the project studied how intensive meditation training affects how people think and feel. The project scientists employed cognitive and perceptual tasks, emotional provocation, questionnaires, and physiological and biochemical monitoring to assess people’s skills and behavior before, during, and after long-term, intensive meditative practice.
If you would like to learn more about the Shamatha project, please click on any of the following links:
Lions Roar Article
Scientific findings from The Shamatha Project (1)
Scientific findings from The Shamatha Project (2)
B. Alan Wallace, Contemplative Director
One of the world’s leading scholars, writers, and teachers of Tibetan Buddhism and its relation to science, B. Alan Wallace, PhD, was ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama and devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He earned an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford University. He is the founder and director of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and the Center for Contemplative Research.
Eva Natanya, Full time Conemplative & Resident Teacher
Eva Natanya is a scholar of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, an academic lecturer, writer, translator, and retreat leader. A former ballerina, Eva holds an MA in Christian Systematic Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, and a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. For over twenty years, she has studied and practiced meditation, yoga, and philosophy in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions with master teachers in the United States, England, and India. She has spent most of the last three years in solitary meditation retreat.
Courtney Johnson, Excecutive Director
Courtney joined CCR North America as Executive Director in 2022. Prior to entering this role, Courtney oversaw many of the business and growth activities at Enigma Technologies, a high-growth data technology startup in New York City that builds data linking and predictive analytics algorithms.
Scientific Advisory Board
Michel Bitbol, Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Elizabeth Blackburn, 2009 Nobel Laureate, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Salk Institute and Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
Steven Chu, 1997 Nobel Laureate, 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy, Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Stanford University
Marcelo Gleiser, 2019 Templeton Prize winner, Theoretical Physicist, and Director of the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth.
Piet Hut, Professor of Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton
Elisa H. Kozasa, Professor and Neuroscientist, Brain Institute of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Brazil
David Presti, Professor of neurobiology, psychology, and cognitive science at UC Berkeley
Doug Veenhof, Resident Teacher, Contemplative & Special Projects Manager
Doug Veenhof was a residential building contractor for 25 years with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainable design. Over the past 10 years Doug has traveled widely, teaching and leading retreats on shamatha and vipashyana, and will offer guidance to meditators as a resident teacher at Miyo Samten Ling. Along with more than 30 years of dedicated study and practice in the Gelugpa and Dzogchen traditions of Buddhism, he brings to his duties his years of experience as a professional mountain guide, award-winning journalist, and author.