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Lions Roar : July 2011
59 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2011 approaches to find lasting solutions. The focus on immediate results and a bottom- line mentality have come at the expense of future generations, creating calamitous effects in nearly every sector of human society around the globe. More of that kind of thinking won’t solve the complex, multifaceted issues that plague our global community. The greatest disservice we can do to students is to imprint them with how we assume the world to be, without giving them the necessary tools to inves- tigate and explore the world as it is, with an open heart and a discerning mind. Stu- dents need both skills and opportunities to explore the vast range of possibilities the world has to offer so they can find cre- ative solutions to the world’s problems. “By virtue of increasing connection, the personal transformation cultivated by mind training has great potential for en- abling humanity to live on this planet sus- tainably and in peace,” P.G. Grossenbacher and Steven Parker wrote in “Joining Hearts and Minds: A Contemplative Approach to Holistic Education in Psychology” (Jour- nal of College and Character). Those whose higher education includes a contemplative education component are imbued with the much-needed capacity for authentic insight and revolutionary thinking; they are poised to meet the world as it is, and have the passion and capacity to improve it. When these students graduate, they have spent years turning problems upside down, looking at them from the inside out, holding them quietly within, and working collaboratively with others to find novel approaches to solving them—providing not just a quick fix, but a true change that benefits everyone. Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Service, when used in a contemplative education framework, is a form of meditation leading to pro- found insight and positive transformation, both personally and globally. This form of compassionate service allows insight and heart wisdom to flow through all of one’s deeds and actions, imbuing everyone and A Higher Education LINE GOGUEN-HUGHES reports on colleges and universities offering contemplative alternatives to conventional forms of study. A GROWING NUMBER of higher education institutions recognize the value of offering a contemplative dimension within their teaching and programs of study. At Brown University, medical students may choose contemplative studies as a scholarly concentration. Brown’s Contemplative Studies Initiative aims to study contempla- tive practices and states within the traditional contexts in which they have been taught, such as Buddhism. It asks students to also investigate newer appli- cations of contemplative practice in science and medicine to identify and test methods to improve health and well-being. The initiative is working toward receiving formal recognition as a program, concentration, or a center to study and teach the under- lying philosophy, psychology, and phenomenology of contemplative experience. The University of Michigan offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in jazz and contempla- tive studies, one of the first degree programs to integrate a significant contemplative component with conventional coursework. This highly interdisciplinary program combines a solid grounding in jazz and improvised music study with courses involv- ing meditative practice and other contemplative approaches to fostering creativity. Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, offers a graduate certificate program in spirituality and social work practice. The program provides clinicians with a framework to assess religious and spiritual development. It also explores ethical and social justice concerns from a spiritual perspective. The Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, represents an interdisciplinary group of faculty, postdocs, and students who come together to share and investigate the application of contempla- tive practice in society. The collaborative hosts public lectures several times a year. At Indiana State University, the Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality provides students, professionals, and the surrounding community with educational opportunities to better understand the value of religious and spiritual experience, particularly as it promotes health and well-being. It uses conferences, speakers series, workshops, and course materials to this end. Anyone interested in exploring contemplative educational opportunities will find the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) a useful resource. This multidisciplinary academic nonprofit has developed a mem- bership of over six hundred educators, scholars, and administrators working in higher education. The ACMHE promotes the emergence of a broad culture of contemplation by connecting leading institutions and academics committed to developing the contemplative dimension of teaching, learning, and knowing. The association is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Visit acmhe.org for more information. ♦ ➢ page 90 PHOTOBYMATTHEWSACCHET Students in the meditation laboratory of the Contem- plative Studies Initiative at Brown University.