Four Themes in the Mindfulness Pillar:


1. Refuge

2. In the Garden of the Mind

3. The Lizard, The Mouse, and The Monkey

4. Green Zone, Red Zone

Topics covered in this pillar:


  • A quick tour of your brain, the foundation of your mind.
  • How the mind changes the brain. Experience-dependent neuroplasticity: “neurons that fire together, wire together.”
  • The critical role of sustained attention in changing the brain. Problems with attention.
  • The solution of mindfulness: sustained present-moment awareness.
  • How to train attention and steady your mind.
  • Methods of meditation. Open awareness and other mindfulness practices.
  • The three ways to engage the mind: (1) being with it, (2) decreasing the negative, and (3) increasing the positive. Why FWB focuses on the third of these: developing inner strengths.
  • Why mindfulness must be present in all three ways to engage the mind.
  • The evolution of the brain to meet our three core needs – safety, satisfaction, connection – through three overarching systems – Avoiding harms, Approaching rewards, and Attaching to others – that are linked to the reptile (brainstem), mammal (subcortex), and primate/human (cortex) phases of brain evolution.
  • The two basic settings of the Avoiding, Approaching, and Attaching systems: the Responsive “green zone” that is the resting state of the brain – our natural home base – and the Reactive “red zone” we enter when we feel stressed or upset.
  • The brain’s evolved negativity bias. Why the brain scans for bad news, over-focuses on it, over-reacts to it, and quickly stores the whole package in emotional memory.
  • How to come home by getting out of the red zone and stabilizing in the green zone.

Also Featured:


Creative Activities:

Sustaining Attention
Staying Responsive with Challenges



Jack Kornfield Interview