Mirabai has led her life responding to the speed and fear that drives much of American life and thought with programs for developing a culture of reflection, insight, compassion and wisdom. Having studied with contemplative teachers from diverse traditions, she has focused on the interdependence of social change and individual consciousness, and the potential for reforming secular institutions through practices that once existed only behind monastery walls.
She has led a diverse network of leaders from most every sector of American life to systematically explore the potential contribution of contemplative practices on American civil life and learning: insight and creativity, compassion and civic engagement, and an awareness of the interconnection of life on earth. The practices—meditation, yoga, deep listening, lectio divina, and others—are drawn from diverse wisdom traditions and adapted to programs specifically designed for each sector: higher education, law, business, journalism, environment, biotech sciences, youth leadership, government, and philanthropy. Her teaching and program development focus on the interconnection of the personal, institutional, and political realities of our lives.
She also directed the Contemplative Practices Fellowship Program for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, awarding 153 fellowships to professors in 100 colleges and universities to develop a contemplative pedagogy and to explore a contemplative epistemology—an integrated way of knowing that calls on the whole person rather than the critical faculties only.
She is now Senior Fellow at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, teaches contemplative retreats and courses in many settings, and consults with organizations looking to explore the benefits of mindfulness and other contemplative practices. Her most recent book is Contemplative Practices in Higher Education, to be published by Jossey-Bass in 2013.
Mirabai teaches contemplative practices at the annual Contemplative Mind Retreat for Educators; at the Contemplative Clinical Practice Certificate Program at Smith College; and with Ram Dass, Krishna Das, and Sharon Salzberg at the annual Open Your Heart retreat. She has taught with Surya Das at Garrison Institute, with Norman Fischer at Google, and with many others. She has taught introduction to practice at Fetzer Institute and other nonprofit organizations and and other businesses.
From the time she founded Illuminations, Inc., in Cambridge in the seventies through her years at Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, and into her current work in diverse sectors, Mirabai has been interested in creating more creative, compassionate, effective, and sustainable organizations that encourage people to work from a place of insight, kindness, and mindfulness. She has developed methods to help people grow in awareness and insight in order to be more effective instruments for change, to take responsibility for the world we live in, and make it a fitting legacy for generations to come. In 2012, she recorded a CD of introductory practices titled Working with Mindfulness.