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Klinik für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie

Developing a contemplative psychology of sustainability

Environmental degradation threatens human and non-human existence. The existential challenge of our times is to stop and reverse related processes within planetary boundaries and enhance societal transformation towards sustainability. For this, science is emphasizing the role of inner transformation, a shift in mind-sets that translates sustainability related conceptual knowledge into practice. This is a first-person process and the potential of mindfulness to catalyze it by enhancing personal wellbeing and sustainable behavior has become an own field of investigation. Popular mindfulness programs represent selected extracts from traditional Buddhist mind-training and are commonly practiced and studied in specific domains and based on an entirely different worldview. However, this severely cuts short the learning Buddhist psychology has to offer, in particular regarding the aspired inner transformation as a response to the existential challenge we face. In this project we aim to develop a contemplative psychology of sustainability (CPS) from traditional Buddhist teachings. CPS can be then be used to discuss implications for views, values, norms and identities underlying our worldview, science, education, economy, politics etc. and the degree to which they support sustainable development.