Antioch College
Part of a committee to bring contemplative education to the college are, from left, top row, Katie Egart and Amy Maruyama; bottom row, Robert Pryor, Al Denman and Dianeah Wanicek. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

Part of a committee to bring contemplative education to the college are, from left, top row, Katie Egart and Amy Maruyama; bottom row, Robert Pryor, Al Denman and Dianeah Wanicek. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

Contemplative education at Antioch

At “Green Space for the Mind,” on Saturday, April 9, at Antioch South Hall’s Herndon Gallery, leading scholars will report on their efforts to incorporate contemplative practices into higher education. A Christian monk, a University of California neuroscientist, a professor of Buddhism and a Brown University institute director will offer advice on how the revived college could lead in this emerging field. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is free and open to the public.

“Antioch educates the whole person, so if we only develop the objective mind, we’re missing the person inside,” said Katie Egart, an organizer and former co-op faculty at the college. “It’s about turning critical inquiry inside to examine what’s going on in your mind.”

Daniel Goleman, best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence will speak via webcast at 10 a.m. on environmentally-conscious consumerism, the topic of his latest book, Ecological Intelligence. Goleman’s son, Hanuman, is an Antioch alumnus.

Following Goleman’s address and a lunch break, a panel discussion will begin at 1 p.m. among Harold Roth, director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University; Linda-Susan Beard, a Bryn Mawr College associate professor of literature; John Makransky, professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College, and Clifford Saron, associate research scientist at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California at Davis.

Learning meditation, mindfulness and relaxation techniques could particularly be valuable to Antioch students, who may have more stress from the community process and their co-op experiences, organizers said. Plus today’s generation, they said, needs to learn how to quiet and focus their minds now more than ever as the rise of digital media has shortened attention spans and increased distractions.

“All college students are under a lot of pressure, but Antioch students even more because they’re asked to change environments, and because of the emphasis on community,” Pryor said.

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