March 20th, 2018 | 34 mins 12 secs
alumni, college student, contemplation, naropa journey
I remember it was after the first year I came back to Naropa–I was actually upset with my professors. I was like, "What did you all do? Whatever you offered me, I see the world in a new way now!" I was upset because I saw the world in its fullness. There were things I saw then–when I came to Naropa I was all sunshine and rainbows. It was all "...the world is beautiful and the world is great, and I am going to study Buddhism, and I'm going to be one!" It was an 'absolute' kind of thinking. But Naropa gave me a chance to actually stop, pause, and feel -- the suffering that is here too.
March 13th, 2018 | 37 mins 29 secs
buddhism, dharma, happiness, lama rod owens, oppression
There will always be suffering. But with meditation, we begin to transform our relationship to the suffering and therefore the suffering itself transforms too. Dharma is all about relationships - it’s about how we are centered within our sense of self. And ego how the ego is always interpreting phenomena. Ego interprets phenomenon to give itself life, and the narrative, and the purpose - but that purpose doesn't have to be about being happy and free. It can also be about suffering and pain. You know? Any way that the ego can actually differentiate itself, it will do that.
March 6th, 2018 | 26 mins 58 secs
bhutan, environmental caretakers, gross national happiness, himalayas
When people hear the words "gross national happiness," they tend to envision a sort of idealization of what's really going on in Bhutan, the country that originated the concept. I watch our students while we're in Bhutan sometimes idealize things, and then hit a sort of crash as they see the reality, and then come out with a really deep sense of excitement and amazement about what's actually happening. We'd like to take that idealization off its pedestal altogether.
A bit of context for our listeners, first: Bhutan is a small country–about the size of Switzerland–that climbs from about 600 feet in elevation to 23 thousand feet in elevation, and quite quickly. It’s a very steep sort of place, mashed between India and China. It’s a little country trying to do this very large, very brave experiment. The fourth king of Bhutan, when he was pretty young, came up with the gross national happiness term, pretty spontaneously. As a reporter was bugging him about the poverty of his country, here is what I believe was his exact quote: "We don't believe in gross national product. Gross national happiness is more important."
February 27th, 2018 | 29 mins 43 secs
buddhism, martial arts, ninja, survival
In the background of all of all martial arts–outdoor education, Buddhist mind science, indigenous thought–there's a fundamental aspect of how to be in the world, one that is predicated on an elevated awareness. That's really where we start in Naropa's contemplative-styled survival skills class. We could spend all semester learning techniques, tips and tricks–things like that–but we don't have enough time. There is not enough time in one semester to learn all of those things, and if there was, and we did that, we'd be jumping the gun on some other really, really important pieces. Particularly, the concept that most dire survival situations–in fact, most elevated situations, most dangerous situations–the great majority of them can almost always be avoided.
February 20th, 2018 | 29 mins 13 secs
compassion, mental health, naropa community counseling center, poverty
A person has the right answer for themselves, and to express and ask for their needs to be met. It may not look like the answer that, ideally as a therapist, I might think would be best for them. But they have their own answers within, and every time we can be a conduit or a guide to helping them understand what their internal answers are and to actualize them, that's the gift we have to offer people.
February 13th, 2018 | 31 mins 48 secs
ada, architecture, green building, sustainability
We're asking questions about changing an ordinary classroom into something that is as wonderful and nourishing and sustainable as it can possibly be. How does it encourage a great learning environment? How does it become part of the beauty of the campus? How does it contribute to the sustainability of the campus? All these things get wrapped in. Sustainability is too often thought of as a technical overlay to other rules and requirements necessary for building. We don't want to look at it that way, but rather as the starting point–part of the holistic design. When someone says I need a thousand square feet for a classroom - we should be asking questions like "why do you need it? What are you trying to achieve? Who is going to be there? What experience should the students have in this classroom? Should there be a living wall in the classroom? Should there be flexible seating? What kind of indoor/outdoor connection are you looking for? What kind of natural daylight?" and so on. These are the sustainability aspects of our questioning, and the answers all go back into the holistic design of the built space.
February 6th, 2018 | 31 mins 36 secs
gestalt, here now, therapy, zen
Gestalt therapy is a methodology one can use for therapy or for growth. I like to call it Gestalt Awareness Practice because it’s a way of working in the here and now for healing and growth. Gestalt - from German and not truly translatable into English - essentially means "the whole." Or something ever greater than the whole. It’s the idea that we're whole with everything and that our goal is to be whole within our self - not divided - not split. Using Gestalt Awareness Therapy, we can bring somebody back into the present by reminding them to breathe, or by reminding them of full body awareness. We can shuttle intention and attention from inside to notice what is going on out here. It can become a relational awareness practice where one is not just hanging out of the body - "... this is what I feel. This is what I think." But noticing facial expressions, body language, voice tone, and trying to see what the difference might mean between whether you're listening to me or not listening to me.
January 30th, 2018 | 29 mins 31 secs
embodiment, naropa, parish, somasource, somatics
Ramon Parish is a second-year adjunct instructor in Naropa’s environmental studies department currently teaching a course on Environmental Justice. He also works with Golden Bridge, and with a budding rites of passage networking organization called Youth Passageways. Parish continues to study SomaSource - the brainchild of Naropa professor Melissa Michaels - deep teaching about authentic movement, somatic-based mindfulness, men’s work and contemporary rites of passage.
January 16th, 2018 | 29 mins 52 secs
There's a real diversity of tactics about how to integrate contemplative practices into the study of writing and the study of literature and the creation of those ways of being. This is about what it means to approach writing through a contemplative way. One of the great joys about teaching here at Naropa is the openness of students to experiment. The real readiness at which they're willing to implicate their person and their body and their spirit. That approach to the whole person in the classroom is really such a gift to work with as a - as a teacher and a peer and a colleague and a fellow and a researcher.
January 2nd, 2018 | 31 mins 12 secs
compassion, contemplative education, mindful students, mindful teaching, teaching
At Naropa, the notion of contemplative education is one of drawing out the full richness of the student. In this episode of "Mindful U," Professor Richard C. Brown, core faculty in the Contemplative Education grogram, discusses what "contemplative teaching" is, and gives an example of techniques that work well for integrating it into ordinary classroom situations.