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Can the Dalai Lama’s new website help you achieve inner peace?

The Week

05.16.2016

The latest prescription for inner peace comes from no less an expert than the Dalai Lama. To fill it, however, you’ll have to leave your wellness mat and sign onto the web.

That’s where users can find the Atlas of Emotions, an interactive website that teaches people about emotions and how they work. The goal is to encourage self-awareness and, ultimately, inner calm. It was commissioned by the Dalai Lama and developed largely by Paul Ekman, a psychologist known for his research on nonverbal behavior like facial expressions and gestures…

The atlas is grounded in the results of a survey, conducted by Ekman in 2014, in which he polled 248 emotion scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists worldwide. The questions were aimed at identifying where there was agreement in the field about the nature of emotions. Among the key findings: 88 percent of respondents agreed there are emotions that are universally felt and expressed by humans. The big five are anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and happiness. (With a semantic tweak from happiness to joy, Pixar fans will recognize them as the characters in charge of an adolescent girl’s mind and moods in the animated film Inside Out — no coincidence, as Ekman advised on the movie.)

From there, Ekman worked with his daughter, Eve Ekman, a postdoctoral fellow doing research in meaning, empathy, and burnout, and the cartography and data visualization firm Stamen Design.