20th WCP: Teaching Meditation to Classes in Philosophy
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: Submitted
Source ID: shanti-sources-83146
Collection: Contemplative Pedagogy in Higher Education
Abstract: In alignment with the overall theme of the congress, "Philosophy Teaching Humanity," this paper proposes that teachers of philosophy consider instructing their students in simple techniques of meditation. By meditation I mean the practice of mindfulness which typically begins by paying clear, steady, non-reactive attention to the sensations of one's own breathing, and then extending this attention to embrace all bodily sensations, feelings, moods, thoughts, and intentions. I discuss how to integrate meditation practically in the philosophy classroom and then respond to three objections that have been raised to that practice. I then discuss the potential benefits of the practice, arguing first of all that meditation has academic benefits, especially in courses in Asian philosophy. But of much wider application is the wisdom of non-attachment which the mediation naturally evokes primarily through the experience of impermanence. The potential benefits of the paradigm are then briefly indicated as related to our experience of body, mind, society and nature. I conclude by commending the proposal as a small but important practical step philosophy teachers can take to help our fellow humans navigate the challenging transformation of our time.