Festive wishes and some useful resources

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
― Rumi, Masnavi i Man’avi, the spiritual couplets of Maula

I wanted to write this blog to mark this festive time and to acknowledge the end of another year. I also wanted to thank everyone who has contributed to this network. I look forward to seeing what emerges in 2015.

I chose the wonderful Rumi quote above because as I get more tired as the end of term approaches I realise how I shut down and rely on my ‘cleverness’, the technical tools of the trade so to speak. I find that just as I need to find fresh sources of energy and connection to my students, colleagues and the world around me I have a tendency to become task orientated and close inward, perhaps pre-empting the winter holiday fast approaching. But I will be taking time over the next few weeks to ‘buy bewilderment’, to open again to the mystery of the world around me. The more I learn about contemplative pedagogy the more I have come to appreciate and value ‘not knowing’ – loosening my certainty and opening more and more to new perspectives and deeper understanding.

Having said that I also wanted to take this opportunity to share some resources that some of you may not be aware of about:

The Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education has a Vimeo channel on which you can access all their webinars. I have found many of these very helpful.

I have also recently read more chapters from within Lin, J. et al. eds. 2013. Re-Envisioning Higher Education: Embodied Pathways to Wisdom and Social Transformation. I would really recommend this text for bringing together ideas and giving some meaningful practical examples of the manifestation of contemplative pedagogy in higher education. For those of you reading from University of Essex there is now a copy of this in the library.

But as we head off for the holidays I think it is important to step away from information for a while and ensure we carve out time to reconnect to a sense of joyful ‘bewilderment’. To reawaken the excitement and mystery of teaching and working and living that can so easily be lost in the everyday processes with which we become absorbed. The real art of course is realising through our own experience that we don’t need a holiday or a retreat to reconnect to that space, but I, for one, am certainly looking forward to the university closing on Tuesday night!

Festive wishes

Caroline

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