As the birthplace of the mindfulness movement in the United States, Naropa University has a unique perspective when it comes to higher education in the West. Founded in 1974 by renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa was intended to be a place where students could study Eastern and Western religions, writing, psychology, science, and the arts, while also receiving contemplative and meditation training.
Forty-three years later, Naropa is a leader in ‘contemplative education’, a pedagogical approach that blends rigorous academics, contemplative practice, and experiential learning. Naropa President Chuck Lief explains, “Mindfulness here is not a class. Mindfulness is basically the underpinning of what we do in all of our classes. That said, the flavor or the color of mindfulness from class to class is really completely up to the individual faculty member to work on—on their own. So, what happens in a poetry class is going to look very different from what happens in a research psychology class. But, one way or another the contemplative practices are brought into the mix.”
This podcast is for those with an interest in mindfulness and a curiosity about its place in both higher education and the world at large. Hosted by Naropa alumnus and Multimedia Manager David DeVine, episodes feature Naropa faculty, alumni, and special guests on a wide variety of topics including compassion, permaculture, social justice, herbal healing, and green architecture—to name a few. Listen to explore the transformative possibilities of mindfulness, both in the classroom and beyond!
September 17th, 2018 | 45 mins 45 secs
Think about eco-poetics as not just a focus on degraded soil, air and water, but vibrational absence. When a species leaves the planet, they take everything with them. Their heartbeat, their flutter, their footfalls, their hooves. In the past 50 years, the planet has seen a 60% loss of all the wildlife. We've recently found out that we've lost 50% of the coral reefs in that time. Europe has lost 75% of its flying insects. I immediately started making rituals to create a place of extreme present. That's the purpose of what I do. And, when I am doing these rituals -- translate into all art forms.
"Each morning a blue jay screams at the edge of the clear cut forest
I scream with her at the bleeding stumps
Scream inside something borrowed like ocean, like skin
I want to see before I die a mink wearing a human scarf..."
– CA Conrad
September 10th, 2018 | 37 mins 8 secs
hatha yoga, meditation, yoga teacher training
Kaṭha Upaniṣad is a sacred text from the Upaniṣad that describes yoga as a state of mind after the wild horses of the senses have been reined in. There is a metaphor of the body as a chariot, and horse-driven chariots were an important part of Hindu culture, so the metaphor resonated strongly in medieval India. Harnessing all of the mental energies–not letting your mind become your master, but becoming the master of your mind–is an important inner technology that many yoga traditions emphasize. When the mind is not running the show, I find that my perception actually becomes more beautiful, deeper. I see things more crisply and find beauty in unexpected places, including painful or dark situations. I'm able to extract more joy, inspiration, and meaning out of life. Our inner discernment of experiences and awareness is foundational to yoga traditions. We need to encourage a more historical awareness–one that focuses one's ability to discern between many different extremes in yoga traditions, and understanding their fundamental orientations, outlooks, and practices. That's something that's missing in the broader, popular world of yoga practice today.
September 4th, 2018 | 36 mins 13 secs
census, mixed race, naropa, race
Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on performing her wildly popular one-woman piece, "One Drop of Love," for the Naropa community as part of the Bayard and John Cobb Peace Lecture last Spring: "I have been doing this performance for 5 years, and have been in a lot of different communities–some certainly more receptive to the themes around race and racism and class and gender than others. Sometimes I think people feel uncomfortable with it, or maybe they're shy because of the stigma of being in a theater. But I got the sense after being here at Naropa for about a day that this might be a very embracing community–and that's exactly what it was. Still, something that I really appreciate about this community was its natural interaction–a kind of vocal interaction–which I don't always get. Naropa was just right there along with me, laughing out loud, saying "Hmmmmm...," and just offering both a wise and calming response."
August 27th, 2018 | 35 mins 44 secs
judaism, kedumah, mysticism, orthodox
Traditionally, Judaism is practiced by way of rituals. This includes actual ritualistic practices that involve ritual objects, but it also includes ritualistic prayer, as well as ritualistic forms of study, such as studying Torah in a certain way. My personal practice has shifted from one that is centered around ritual to one that is more about integrating the direct experience of presence, or of divinity, or of reality into everyday life. The rituals' original function was to facilitate that kind of a process, but there are more accessible ways for many people in our culture to access an embodied condition of presence in everyday life. There are ways that do not require people to engage in these complicated and inaccessible rituals that are relevant for someone in an Orthodox community, but not very relevant for 99 percent of the planet. For me, Kedumah represents a way to transmit the essence – the Primordial spirit of Judaism – into a paradigm that is accessible for anybody, really, originating from any tradition, anywhere, or from no tradition at all.
August 20th, 2018 | 34 mins 40 secs
children, illegal, immigration, mexico
There should be free movement. There's something about the monarch butterflies having freedom of flight and freedom of mobility that many humans don't have. We found out that in Mexican folklore the monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico at the very beginning of November–right around the Day of the Dead. The day after the Day of the Dead is the Day of the Children, and the mythology is that the monarch butterflies are the spirits of dead children returning home to Mexico. There are international protections for monarch butterflies, while there are children dying in the desert–children whose names are unknown–just a belt found with a name on it. That idea of not being seen, not being noticed made it seem like the migration of monarch butterflies was a great way to put these children's stories out and into people's consciousness.
August 13th, 2018 | 34 mins 30 secs
alc, leadership, mindful
Sometimes, especially in mid-career, we get a little stale. It’s nice to refresh by deeply and authentically getting in touch with what matters to us within our core purpose, within our values, and within why we're doing what we are doing. Part of the training that we provide is helping people who are already in leadership roles bring more of who they authentically are to their role. In the authentic leadership program, we emphasize three different competencies: presence, engagement, and change management. Enjoy the whole podcast to hear about how we train leaders to recognize and develop these traits.
July 30th, 2018 | 29 mins 32 secs
creative writing mfa, jack kerouac school
Sometimes we take for granted that text is an image–the letters are images–and there are some writers who are very conscious of that. When we're reading a book we take for granted that the text on the page is an image, and the focus of the book is what the text is communicating. Spend some time thinking about text as an image, like Rachel Blau DuPlessis's work. Rachel is a poet and a critic who also does collage poems. Poems that are made from collage, and they really emphasize text.
July 16th, 2018 | 38 mins 8 secs
psychology, spiritual, transpersonal
The disciplines of psychology and spirituality both offer us humans a gift. Psychology, being the mind-oriented discipline, seems to offer us a chance to envision ourselves within our surroundings. At the same time, spirituality invites us to move beyond the mind, and even beyond the definitions of a self. Most of us tend to focus on one or the other over our lives. But, in doing so, we often narrow our experience. When these two disciplines are married, however, we can achieve an incredible explosion of potentials to live life as fully as possible.
July 3rd, 2018 | 28 mins 58 secs
life coach, life goals, personal growth
Join us as we talk about blending the spiritual with the practical, busting some myths, and providing some tips on what it means to run a business from a spiritual vantage point. When it comes to the term "life coach," or any other spirituality-based profession, some of the myths are that you can use the law of attraction to just manifest clients or money into your life and into your business. While we believe that's really true, the elements that so often get left behind in your belief and practice in the law of attraction and manifestation is you showing up, and you actually doing the practical work.
June 18th, 2018 | 30 mins 27 secs
interspiritual, spirituality, wayne teasdale
Many people are unaware of the interspiritual dimensions of what we offer here at Naropa - the multiple dimensions that we have here. And the fact that a lot of what we've been researching and studying in the last few years is how millennials and Gen Z in particular approach spirituality. This term talked a lot about: "spiritual but not religious," is only the tip of the iceberg - it actually becomes detrimental to look at it that way. If we broaden it out, we find it’s really about interspiritual dimensions. In terms of spirituality, what Wayne Teasdale talks about is an opening of dialogue and a sharing of wisdom among leaders and practitioners of different religious traditions, because people are no longer satisfied with a singular affiliation. People need to be aware of all the possibilities - and young people, in particular, are not willing to say "I am only going down one path."
June 4th, 2018 | 33 mins 27 secs
gender studies, naropa, women's studies
It's our mission to grow more awareness of women's issues, women's voices, women's history, women's studies worldwide. We're still so far behind in knowing what we should know about the history of women in the world and their contributions, as well as the lived experiences of women, and the way it informs everything about the way our country operates, the way the world runs now. One can't really teach a gender studies class effectively any way but contemplatively. All of the best practices of contemplative education are what make gender studies unique, and they also make gender studies possible. Approaching this from a lecture standpoint , or from any other standpoint than just really being very aware of your students, being invested in them - not just intellectually but emotionally - is not going to end in success. Students are doing so much hard work, so much hard emotional work. They're breaking into traumas, trying to correct ways of seeing things they've experienced their whole lives. There is going to be serious emotional labor with these students, and Naropa is a wonderful place to do this.
May 28th, 2018 | 30 mins 29 secs
abraham maslow, carl jung, transpersonal psychology
The work of Carl Jung and of Stanislav Grof - as well as many others - have been under an umbrella of "transpersonal psychology," a field that was developed in the '50s as an extension of humanistic psychology. Abraham Maslow first developed humanistic psychology - a framework around many other professionals who were developing that branch of psychology, such as Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers, but Maslow defined the field. However, when Maslow studied individuals who were exceptional, he found that they all described mystical experiences. All of his subjects described experiences beyond the "little self" or the ego that gave them a connection to everything. Experiences where they weren't separate from others, and that helped them to understand that they were either not separate, or that we all share a unitive experience. When Maslow studied these people, he realized that there was a vast new field beyond humanistic psychology that included it, but went well beyond. This is the field of transpersonal psychology, and Naropa's program is among the best in the world.
May 21st, 2018 | 32 mins 32 secs
bipolar strong, chris cole, waking up bipolar
There is more to bipolar than just pathology. People are familiar with bipolar as a disorder that used to be called manic-depressive disorder, or maniac depression. Bipolar Order is a declaration of that, and a necessary bridge for people meeting the criteria for bipolar disorder, and particularly bipolar disorder in remission, to be empowered. Chris Cole is trying to activate and inspire people to be empowered, be bold, and be bipolar strong. Listen to Cole's podcast - Waking Up Bipolar - for more insight, and visit his website ColeCoaching for more information. Have a look at a selfie of Chris and David at Naropa!
May 14th, 2018 | 29 mins 17 secs
bricolage, education, interdisciplinary degree
"I think of bricolage as an approach to interdisciplinary inquiry and to meaning-making. It comes from a French word meaning to tinker, and it's sometimes associated with improvisation, and sometimes associated with "do-it-yourself." I don't like that term as much because it's missing the collaborative aspect of interdisciplinary studies. Think about Levy Strauss observing craftspeople, noticing how they use materials left over from one project and creating something new. It's a sense of giving birth to what does not yet exist; improvising and using tools; fashioning tools–creating tools that didn't yet exist." - Candace Walworth
May 7th, 2018 | 30 mins 36 secs
arise, art, mindful, music festival
"Da Vinci said "...motion is life." What better way to move than to some music cranking and to lift the spirit? There is something coded in our
DNA - something really ancient about our need to be tribal, our need as humans to come together with other humans, and music calls us all. Music is that beat, that rhythm that we feel in our hearts when our hearts are beating together in that same groove. There's something going on there that we all long for. Something that we need that we don't find in many other places in our modern society." - Paul Bassis, Arise Co-Founder Find out more at http://arisefestival.com/.
April 30th, 2018 | 29 mins 2 secs
education, teacher training, teachers
How does teaching with a contemplative focus help teachers in a crazy world? When we have practiced how to love ourselves enough to stand in our own business, then we can be more empathetic to the context from which our students come. If I'm in a class with 27 students and one of them is having a particularly hard day or hard week–or life–then it makes it possible for me to resource my patience and my sense of humor, if that's called on to help that student remain focused. To help that student to create tools that help them get through the day, for themselves, within themselves. And, no matter what age you are, if your life circumstances are in your way it's really hard to get through the day. Every class we start with a check in, which gives me a sense of what's in the room. It doesn't take away from the content, because the content is still there. The check-in informs me and the rest of the class about how that content might be heard.