Michael Sheehy



Michael Sheehy
Michael Sheehy, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor and the Director of Research at the Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC) at the University of Virginia.
At CSC, he directs the CIRCL: Contemplative Innovation + Research Collaborative Lab, a transdisciplinary experimental space and faculty consortium that investigates the underlying dynamics of contemplative practices. He is Executive Editor and cofounder of the  CSC's Journal of Contemplative Studies (JCS), a peer-reviewed open access journal that publishes original scholarship on contemplation. With the University of Virginia Press, he coedits two book series, Varieties of Contemplative Experience and Traditions and Transformations in Tibetan Buddhism. He is affiliated faculty with the Department of Religious Studies and UVA Tibet Center. 
Michael is a meditation researcher who studies the translation and application of historical contemplative practices to contemporary discourses in the humanities, cultural psychology, and cognitive sciences. He studies how meditation works – specifically, how the generative, dynamic, and ever-evolving processes of contemplation are relevant to advancing our understanding of being human and enhancing life.
For three years, Michael trained with scholars and meditation adepts in a Buddhist monastery in far eastern Tibet, and for twelve years, he collaborated with monastic communities across the plateau to preserve rare Tibetan manuscripts. Over the past decade, he has collaborated with scientists on interdisciplinary research projects to illuminate the operations of distinct contemplative practices. As a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School his research focused on strategies to interface first-person knowledge from the world’s contemplative traditions with science. At the Mind & Life Institute, he facilitated interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogues including Mind & Life Dialogues XXXII in Botswana and XXXIII in India with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is a lifelong honorary Mind & Life Research Fellow and co-chair of the Contemplative Studies unit at the American Academy of Religion. An active investigator on several interdisciplinary contemplative research projects, Michael collaborates to design contemplative interventions and consults with scientific studies. His work has been featured in the international journal Buddhistdoor Global and in National Geographic
At CSC’s CIRCL, he facilitates interdisciplinary research at multiple intersections with contemplative practice to catalyze and generate knowledge and practical know-how. The lab studies how contemplative life skills can be cultivated to enhance human health and well-being, including practices for focus and attentional balance, imagination and perspective-taking, connection to nature, immersive meditations in sound and light, and leveraging the arts and transformative technologies to amplify contemplative experiences. 
Michael has authored over two dozen articles on topics ranging from models of self and mind to cognitive illusion and lucid dreaming to mindfulness and nondual meditation. He is coeditor of The Other Emptiness: Rethinking the Zhentong Buddhist Discourse in Tibet (SUNY 2019), and author of a forthcoming book on the little-known Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His current book project weaves practices of attention, imagination, and embodiment from historical Tibetan meditation manuals into conversation with contemporary philosophy of mind, cultural psychology, health sciences, and neuroscience. 
Personal website: