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by Janice Florent

young lady sitting in a relaxed position with her eyes closed in a warm-water river

Taking a break is important for your overall health. Even Olympic athletes take a break from their training. Rest days are an important part of their training regimen so they can give their muscles time to recover. Without these rest days they cannot perform at their peak ability.

You deserve a break. Hopefully during our upcoming fall break you will be able to give yourself one.

In a recent blog post, Dr. Karen Nichols described something she discovered while attending a webinar called a “doorway moment.” Taking a deep breath at the doorway to get centered and focused. When we get back to the hustle and bustle of the academic year remember to take your doorway moments and take a deep breath.

Additionally, please join us for group meditation on Mondays at half past noon in the Meditation Room of St. Katharine Drexel Chapel for a “Quarter of Quiet.”

Photo credit: Like a SPA by Juan | CC BY-NC 2.0

Meditation Room

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development invites you to join us for a regular group meditation. We'll meet each Thursday afternoon throughout the summer of 2016. Drop in when you can.

What to expect?

As the meditation room is located directly beneath the bell tower, we are using the bells in our meditation. They chime quarterly, so our period of silence begins at 12:30 and ends at 12:45.

But I've never done this before!

You needn't have any experience with meditating; just stop by and give it a try. There's no commitment and no pressure.

Why meditate?

Meditation has numerous well-documented benefits, including stress management, improved emotional balance, increased focus and awareness and increased responsiveness to student needs.

  • Date: June 8-August 4, 2016
  • Time: 12:30 - 12:45 PM
  • Location: Meditation Room, St. Katharine Drexel Chapel
  • Sponsor: CAT+FD

Photo credit: Bart Everson

No registration necessary; just join us when you can.

I've just finished up a series of six essays for College Contemplative on the topic of "Contemplative Faculty Development."

  1. Greetings & Introduction
  2. My Story
  3. Stepping into Silence
  4. The Transformative Banquet
  5. Sustaining the Dialog
  6. What's Next

Read at your own risk; I apologize in advance for the length. Now I'm off to the Fifth Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education to present on this same topic. Catch you on the flipside! And please don't miss our Nov. 14th workshop on Zen meditation.

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Scott Belsky has written an interesting article titled "What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space."

We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences.



The relevance to the Academy and the "life of the mind" should be clear. The themes Belsky raises resonate with the message of David Levy's stunning "No Time to Think: Reflections on Information Technology and Contemplative Scholarship." (See the video, read the paper.)

Belsky's article helpfully includes five potential mindsets and solutions to consider. Check it out.

Download Conversation #8

Arthur Zajonc

A conversation with Dr. Arthur Zajonc of Amherst College on teaching, learning, and contemplative inquiry.

While we may begin with the "pause that refreshes," if we leave it only at that then it's seen only as a break from learning. I'm really keen on it being seen also as a means of learning. That is to say, we school our attention — that's long been a part of the contemplative traditions, the deepening and stabilizing of attention — then, if we can bring that deepened and stabilized attention to the work at hand, it's going to be far more productive. And in addition, if one can take up a practice such as this contemplative inquiry practice, we add to that an enhanced learning capacity. So not only attention is schooled but also a new modality of inquiry is also offered to the student.

Links referenced in this episode:

A tip of the hat to the good folks at TalkShoe who helped us with some technical problems.

...continue reading "Conversation #8: Contemplative Inquiry"