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Art & Science of Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living Kathleen Kevany, Faculty of Agriculture Director of Adult Learning and Assistant Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Art & Science of Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living Kathleen Kevany, Faculty of Agriculture Director of Adult Learning and Assistant Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Art & Science of Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living Kathleen Kevany, Faculty of Agriculture Director of Adult Learning and Assistant Professor Acknowledgement: Support for this poster came from Business and Social Sciences Department, Faculty of Agriculture BackgroundKey Findings Recommendations INTRODUCTION Empirical studies and literature reviews of mindfulness and consciousness are growing in number and scope and revealing a variety of results. With this growing interest in mindfulness there are expanding directions in scientific enquiries on and in mindfulness and consciousness (Sogaard & Okerskove- Sogaard, 2009). Mindfulness can be defined as moment by moment non- judgmental awareness (Kabat-Zinn, 2002; Hayward, 1984). Contemplation could be understood as immensely diverse and include practices from many secular and religious traditions which may include quietness, centering, meditation, focused thought, intentional time with nature, journaling, gratitude reflections as well as contemplative movement and artistic expression. METHODOLOGY This study provides a distilled view of an extensive review of the literature on mindfulness and consciousness, and well-being. FINDINGS Findings can be framed into four stages : 1) methodize, 2) internalize, 3) externalize and 4) socialize. To enhance learning and living, reflective and contemplative practices become valuable if not essential. As Horton reminded would-be change agents, that we can only learn from the things that we learn from and reflect upon (2003). Kass (2007) agrees that suitable recognition of learning through reflective self-inquiry, contemplation and meditation are valuable approaches in growing mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually and possibly politically. Employing disciplined and consistent methods of contemplation, meditation or critical reflection lead to enhanced internal practices of mindfulness, non-reaction and non-judgmentalism. These enhanced states lend themselves to higher frequencies of insight and equanimity. In turn positive effects can be seen in the development of empathy and non-egocentric responses to others. Positive outcomes from a regular meditation practice increase attentiveness and awareness and strengthening pathways to higher cognitive functions and increase in compassion for self and others (Goldin, 2011). Similar benefits are found in studies in higher education by Helber, Zook & Immergut (2012). However Chambers et al. (2008) suggest more study into changes in executive functioning with meditation. Increased resiliency, confidence, and calmness Less reactionary and antagonistic Greater social awareness, compassion and openness Shifting to more egalitarian, democratic practices Recorded changes in heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and brain activity Increased attention and retention Increased emotional maturity Expansive approaches & tools r for contemplation and reflection Four types of Mindfulness Body mindful Feeling mindful State of mind Mental contents MethodizeInternalize Externalize Socialize “A contemplative is one who has transcended division to reach a unity beyond division…The true contemplative is not less interested than others in normal life, not less concerned about what goes on in the world but more interested, more concerned” (Hayward, 1984). Choose some practices that would allow you to regularly practice mindfulness. Explore it and notice what it does for your body, mind and spirit. These can be moving, sitting, or mental or spiritual pursuits. The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education has many ideas to pursue. A student of Zen purchased a spiritual text. Bringing it to the monastery, the student asked if the teacher would write some words of inspiration in it. “Certainly,” replied the teacher, who wrote for a second, then handed the book back. There the student found only a single word: “Attention!” “Will you not write more?” pleaded the disappointed student, again offering the book to the teacher. “All right,” said the teacher, who this time wrote for several seconds. Inside the book the student now found three words: Attention! Attention! Attention! (Walsh, 1999) References: Chambers, R. Lo., B. C., & Allen, N. B The impact of intensive mindfulness training on attentional control, cognitive style, and affect. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 32(3), doi: Hayward, J.W Perceiving ordinary magic: Science & intuitive wisdom. Boulder, CO: New Science Library Helber, C.; Zook, N. A.; Immergut, M. Meditation in higher education: Does it enhance cognition? Innovative Higher Education vol. 37 issue 5 November p Kabat-Zinn, J Full catastrophe living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation. London, UK: Piatkus Kass, J Spiritual maturation: A developmental resource for resilience, well-being, and peace. Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice, 12 (Summer 2007) Sogaard, A., Sogaard, S.O, On Definition of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies 16(5) 2009, pp Walsh, R Asian contemplative disciplines: Common practices, clinical applications and research findings. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 31,


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