Meet the Experts Bringing Mindfulness to the Military

The first-ever International Mindfulness in Defence Symposium brings together researchers, teachers, and military leaders to explore how mindfulness can support resilience and wisdom for service members.

Adobe Stock/ Yakobchuk Olena

This month, military leaders from around the world will meet for a first-of-a-kind virtual symposium to share how they’ve been using mindfulness within their formations, and to learn from each other. They’ll hear from some leading mindfulness experts, too, like Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Dr. Amishi Jha. Dr. Jha is a co-organizer of the International Mindfulness in Defence Symposium (or MINDS) alongside the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence’s (UK MOD) Major Patrick Burgess. Dr. Jha is a neuroscientist, professor of psychology at the University of Miami, and author of the forthcoming book Peak Mind. For the past 15 years she has been researching how to best promote resilience in high-stress cohorts—such as those who serve in the military—using contemplative and mind training techniques that strengthen the brain’s attention networks. Major Burgess, a squadron leader with 30 years of military service including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been offering courses aimed at integrating mindfulness into the existing culture of physical training within Defence for a decade. For his work in this area, in 2020 he was awarded one of the UK’s highest honors—the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire (MBE). Mindful spoke…