A List of Purposes of Contemplative Practices
The following list was originally inspired from a brainstorming session of
the Five Colleges New Epistemologies and Contemplative Practices faculty group
meeting on 10/18/04. (Thanks particularly for input from Phyllis Robinson
and Dianne Dana.) A goal of the meeting was to gather answers to the following
What are some different definitions of contemplative practice (as
used in the classroom)?
What benefits are these methods supposed to provide for students
(I.E. what are our goals in using them)?
What methods have been used or thought of?
How might we measure or document the effects of these methods?
What sources, theories, experts, forums, etc. would be good
references for further investigating these questions?
What should this group do next to continue exploring this issue?
WHAT ARE THE HOPED FOR BENEFITS/RESULTS OF USING CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICES
IN THE CLASSROOM?
A. Physiological, attention, safety, and stress-related :
- Scientific work requires focus, stilling or slowing the mind, noticing
- Stress reduction; health
- Create a safe space (in order to go to places of imagination, exploration)
B. Epistemological and cognitive:
- Experiential understanding of how our minds work--- All the clatter
- To note how our conscious and unconscious assumptions, judgments, emotions,
and affect our beliefs
- To know the difference between experiences /observations and thoughts
- Understanding the structure of the self and the relativity of our thoughts/knowledge
- Develop critical thinking skills
- Expands us to find connection between conscious and unconscious.
- To see how understanding can come from insight or intuition, from within
- Develop attention to the "what is" of the moment, both inside
and outside -- as opposed to future and past and interpretation
- Develop the skill of open curiosity. Asking "why", wanting
- Develop cognitive empathy, ability to put oneself in someone elsežs shoes.
- Develop capacity to hold paradox, ambiguity, multiple perspectives; incomplete
and multifaceted information
--- Learning how to embrace the obverse/opposite.
- To experience certain things that can not be adequately described
C. Self-Transformative, healing, and emotional intelligence:
- Connect with and/or articulate our core values, beliefs, goals, who I
--- What kind of world do I want to live in? What does this have to
do with me?
--- investigate and find meaning in life
--- Experience a new sense of self and who we are in the world
- Gaining strength and support to face our fears
- Develop resilience, patience, persistence, willingness to let things unfold.
- Encouragement of discernment of own truth and self-authority; trusting
D. World-transformative, social justice, activism
- difference and commonalities between and within religion and spiritualities
- Diversity is revealed , noticing to learn about attributions and stereotyping
- loving kindness , compassion, positive affect, acceptance and welcoming
of people or ideas that are "other" or resisted
- Awareness of how bound we are to our cultural conditioning.
- sensitivity to appropriating other peoples traditions and cultural productions
- create and experience spheres of collective intentionality, collective
intelligence, collective action
E. Transcendental, Connecting with creativity, spirit, being, infinite,
source, the ineffable ...
- Attention to and active development of imagination and insight;
bring it into form
- To move the student from I/It to I/Thou, to know as we are known