Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living

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Transcript Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living

Art & Science of Increasing Mindfulness in Learning & Living
Kathleen Kevany, Faculty of Agriculture
Director of Adult Learning and Assistant Professor
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 & OkerskoveSogaard, 2009).
Key Findings
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.
Mindfulness can be defined as moment by moment nonjudgmental 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,
•Expansive approaches & tools r
meditation, focused thought, intentional time with
nature, journaling, gratitude reflections as well as
•Four types of Mindfulness
contemplative movement and artistic expression.
•Body mindful
•Feeling mindful
•State of mind
•Mental contents
This study provides a distilled view of an extensive review
of the literature on mindfulness and consciousness, and
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.
• Recorded changes in heart
rate, breathing, blood
pressure, and brain activity
• Increased attention and
• Increased emotional maturity
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,
compassion and openness
contemplation and meditation are valuable approaches
• Shifting to more egalitarian,
in growing mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually
democratic practices
and possibly politically.
Acknowledgement: Support for this poster came from Business and Social Sciences Department, Faculty of Agriculture
• Increased resiliency,
confidence, and calmness
• Less reactionary and
“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).
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
“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)
Chambers, R. Lo., B. C., & Allen, N. B. 2008. The impact of intensive mindfulness training on attentional control, cognitive style,
and affect. Cognitive Therapy & Research, 32(3), 303-322. doi:
Hayward, J.W. 1984. 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 2012. p. 349 - 358
Kabat-Zinn, J. 1996. Full catastrophe living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation. London, UK:
Kass, J. 2007 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, 2009. On Definition of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies 16(5) 2009, pp. 46-53
Walsh, R. 1999. Asian contemplative disciplines: Common practices, clinical applications and research findings. Journal of
Transpersonal Psychology 31, 83-108