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Lions Roar : July 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN jULy 2009 81 of the present moment. they also comple- ment each other quite nicely, so for a long time i’d been wanting to create a curriculum that harnessed that connection.” the program requires students to take four terms of a class in contemplative prac- tice that combines “direct contemplative ex- perience with an analytical consideration of the mechanics of contemplative experience and its role in overall human creative, spiri- tual, and intellectual growth,” says sarath. students who don’t already have a medita- tion practice are directed to receive instruc- tion at one or more of the many organiza- tions in Ann Arbor offering meditation. “when i started the program,” sarath says, “i was unsure how it would turn out, but it’s been highly successful. students really get the connection between improvisation and meditation. they see the results in their music and can articulate them clearly. they find they’re much less tense in their playing and enjoy the freedom and expansiveness that comes from being more comfortable with their minds.” sarath’s work led to the creation of a faculty network for creativity and consciousness studies, and he hopes the framework he’s created in the jazz department will be adopted campus-wide. harold roth is a long-time student of Joshu sasaki roshi. when he began his academic studies more than thirty years ago, he was looking “for meaning and self-knowledge, but i wasn’t finding it simply by reading more and more books about the Asian tra- dition. i had to find a teacher. the Contem- plative Studies Initiative at Brown tries to bring these two things together—to have Ed Sarath (top row, second from right), with students and faculty of the Jazz and Contemplative Studies program at the University of Michigan.