In 2014 I met with David Vago Ph.D to discuss his research on meditators at Harvard Medical. As meditation was becoming more a part of my documentary, FOCUSED LIFE, I was excited to learn the ways inwardly-directed attention can activate or deactivate certain regions of the brain, as well as increase communication between neural networks (i.e. "neurons that fire together, wire together").
At the time, Dave was Senior Research Coordinator at Harvard as part of the Mapping the Meditative Mind initiative and had participated in several Dharmasala summits along with Richard Davidson, presenting research to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Currently he works as Research Director at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Vanderbilt University, and is a leading contemplative neuroscientist in the movement known as neurodharma, a massive effort to understand how meditation changes the brain.
As I got closer to finishing FOCUSED LIFE, I realized that Dave's footage did not ultimately fit the narrative, but it had provided so much inspiration to my own practice and base understanding of neuroscience that I decided to share it for others to see. Viewers interested in science and mindfulness disciplines will find much here, and those who have no plans to meditate might still find it fascinating. Dave is so personable, full of compassion and positivity. I feel grateful to him for allowing me to conduct interviews and document in his home and office in Boston, April 2014. His commitment to helping others suffer less will always be a source of inspiration.
Music by Applegreen: applegreen.bandcamp.com/album/jabuticaba