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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 61 bers. In another, the group helped a teammate involved in an al- tercation with a young woman to be more aware of his feelings and motivations. In individual sessions, some of the young men took a mindful approach that helped them deal with conflicts with a family member, girlfriend, or coach.” Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence such as Lantieri’s and Forbes’—no matter how compelling—will not inspire large- scale adoption of contemplative education; more research is required to make that happen. For now, some smaller pri- vate institutions, including Montessori, Waldorf, and Quaker schools, continue their long-standing practice of contempla- tive education, and a small but growing number of educators in the public system are joining them. Similarly, a growing number of professors at mainstream universities are weaving mindfulness into their classes, but only a few institutions have a culture of mindfulness across the board. Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, has per- haps most fully integrated contemplation into its curriculum. There, every class and meeting begins and ends with a bow. President Tom Coburn says that when he was interviewed for the position six years ago, he fell so in love with the bow that he decided that even if he didn’t get the job, he was going to take the bow back with him to his home institution. “It’s a nonsec- tarian way of setting a contemplative context for any classroom activity,” he says. “It’s formalizes one’s intent to be present to other people.” All BA freshmen at Naropa are required to take a course on con- templative practice. While there is no specific practice everybody participates in after that, all students do engage in an explicitly con- templative discipline, be it ikebana, tai chi, or yoga. Plus, all courses involve mindfulness even when they are in fields that at first glance don’t appear to be particularly contemplative, such as environ- mental studies or writing and literature. “You can’t teach anything at Naropa that doesn’t have a con- templative dimension,” explains Coburn. “That’s not because there’s a police officer asking, ‘Where is the contemplative piece of your course?’ It’s just that contemplation is the air we breathe, the water we drink.” Clockwise from left: Body psychotherapy director Ryan Kennedy leading a psychology discussion at Naropa University; educational professionals discuss “Attention and Behavior” at the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplation and Education; seven-year- old Nai’im and his mother, Lynne Hurdle Price, practice muscle relaxation together at the Inner Resilience Program in New York City; students meditate at a ceremony marking the new academic year at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. CAROLINAKROONPHOTOSCOURTESYOFNAROPAUNIVERSITY. SEPT 56-63.indd 61 SEPT 56-63.indd 61 7/3/08 1:32:04 PM 7/3/08 1:32:04 PM