09. Richard Brown: Contemplative Teaching

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At Naropa, the notion of contemplative education is about drawing out the full richness of the student as well as the teacher in the learning process. It's about utilizing different contemplative practices such as mindfulness, awareness, compassion, and contemplation to draw out the wisdom of the various dimensions of who we are as human beings. It’s not just about thinking. Conventional education trains us to be thinkers and doers–which is very important–but there's an emphasis in contemplative education about supplementing our thinking process with the wisdom of our emotional life–the wisdom of our sensory experience, of our bodily experience, and of the environment in which we're learning. All these factors go together to make a wholeness of learning that is all about creating a richness, one which is permeated by that space. All of these factors–how we think, how we feel–aren't just mixed together haphazardly, but with room for all of them to move and affect each other. The way we think can be enriched by our feelings. The way we move can be affected by the environment we're in, the other people that you're learning with, and the current issues in the world. It gets very, very rich, starting from the inside to untangle this web, which has been very tightly made in more conventional types of education.

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