Meeting of the Mindful

"Is slowing down, paying a little more attention, and being kinder a radical agenda for America?" Barry Boyce reports on fall 11's Creating a Mindful Society gathering.

Ali and Atman Smith and Andres Gonzales work in the Druid Hill area in Baltimore’s inner city. Through the Holistic Life Foundation, they teach yoga and reach at-risk children through hip-hop, dance, basketball, tutoring, organic gardening— whatever works. But on the first weekend of October, they were at the New York Society for Ethical Culture headquarters on Central Park West to take part in the Creating a Mindful Society gathering—the firstever conference devoted exclusively to how mindfulness is being applied across a broad spectrum of our society.

At the end of their presentation, Atman Smith reported on the progress of their first twenty students, a group they started working with nearly a decade ago. “We had the toughest cases in the school,” he said. “We’ve continued to work with them over the years and now they help us with the program. All of them graduated from high school. Nineteen of them are working or in college. None are incarcerated.” The audience rose in unison, applauding and cheering. 

More than 500 people gathered on September 30 and October 1 for the conference—sponsored by The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society; the Omega Institute;; and…