Philosophical Advisor & Mindfulness Practitioner
Justin Whitaker serves as a Philosophical Advisor & Mindfulness Practitioner for Merlin CCC. He is also the founder of Mindful Montana.
A Helena native who has lived and taught philosophy and religious studies in Missoula, England, India, and China, Justin is a Certified Meditation Teacher who successfully defended his Ph.D. in Buddhist Ethics at the University of London in January 2016. He holds an M.A. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol and a B.A. (with some graduate work) in Philosophy at the University of Montana-Missoula.
We are thrilled to be collaborating with Justin on several philosophical adventures, including mindfulness & philosophy workshops, mindfulness retreats, and one-on-one & private group mindfulness/meditation classes.
What is mindfulness? The term today is well defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn: “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” The practice is in many ways universal, and certainly today it is taught and studied by Western scientists as a universal, secular exercise. On the other hand, the practices developed by Kabat-Zinn and others have their roots in a number of non-Western philosophical/religious traditions. Early Buddhist thought and Zen are two major sources for contemporary understandings of mindfulness. In teaching a course or workshop on mindfulness, I split my attention on (1) explaining and discussing various scientific studies of mindfulness, (2) covering historical understandings and uses of the practice, and most importantly, (3) actual practices ranging from “eating” and “walking” meditations to periods of silent mindfulness of breathing and the cultivation of compassion.
General operations for Merlin CCC are currently being handled by officers, Marisa Diaz-Waian (Founder & Executive Director) and Tricia L. Clemons (Administrative Director). We will be looking to add staff members in the near future.