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The Contemplative Practitioner

The Contemplative Practitioner: Meditation in Education and the Workplace, Second Edition

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    The Contemplative Practitioner
    Book Description:

    For this new edition, Miller has updated the text to reflect the growth of the mindfulness movement, new research into the brain, and his years of experience teaching and practising contemplation in teacher education.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6813-3
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Mirabai Bush

    You have in your hands an introduction to a set of practices and a way of being that many of us are seeking as our lives become more fragmented, our attention drawn to one screen or decision after another, and our very earth threatened by ever-new challenges. Not only is this an introduction to contemplative methods for bringing a centred, clear insight and a kind heart to each moment but also, and most unusual, it shows us how to bring contemplative awareness into our work in the world, from education to a range of other professions.

    Contemplative practices come from...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Chapter One The Contemplative Practitioner
    (pp. 3-18)

    Contemplation seems alien to modern life. Our life today tends to be hurried and task oriented. We often find that each day we have a long list of things to do with little time to do them. The demands just to keep up can be overwhelming.

    In contrast, contemplation is not task oriented. Although there are long-term expectations, normally contemplation is not practised to achieve something immediate. With so much to do, simply sitting still seems counter to the whole direction of modern life. Yet, despite this apparent incongruity, many people who undertake some form of contemplative practice find it...

  6. Chapter Two Relection and Contemplation
    (pp. 19-29)

    Donald Schon’sThe Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action(1983) has facilitated much-needed discourse about how individuals working in different professions can reflect on their own practice. Schon argues that the best professional practice is based on reflection. This concept of the reflective practitioner has encouraged people in the professions to view their work as more than mastery of content and technical competence (McKinley and Ross 2007; Bolton 2010). Although Schon’s work is extremely valuable, I believe that there is yet another level beyond the reflective practitioner where the person can “live” her or his practice, and this is...

  7. Chapter Three Contemplative Practices
    (pp. 30-61)

    In the West, we have tended to associate meditation with gurus and mysticism. This is unfortunate. Meditation is a simple practice that focuses on the development of attention. Through meditation practice, we develop our ability to attend to what is happening throughout the day. Gradually, we begin to notice that we can focus more easily. One of my students who was studying for her comprehensive examination (“comps”) put it this way: “My ability to concentrate on my work after meditating seems greater. Getting closer to ‘comps’ and such, my ability to retain what I’m reading I feared was diminishing. But...

  8. Chapter Four Contemplatives and Their Practices
    (pp. 62-99)

    Perhaps the most powerful examples of contemplative practice come from individuals who made contemplation central to their spiritual lives. The lives and practices of these persons can inspire our own practice. The descriptions of contemplatives and their practices are brief here as the aim is to describe individuals from a variety of traditions. Eight individuals are discussed – Buddha, Rumi, Theresa of Avila, Emerson, Gandhi, Black Elk, Thomas Merton, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Although born almost 2,500 years ago, the Buddha and his teachings seem to be particularly relevant today. The Buddha asked that we simply observe our own experience...

  9. Chapter Five The Invisible World
    (pp. 100-121)

    For centuries, across cultures, people have sensed a vaster reality beyond the physical. Lao-Tzu called this dimension the “Tao,” Plato referred to it as the “invisible world,” Jung described it as the “collective unconscious,” and David Bohm, the physicist, has named it the “implicate order.’ Despite this long tradition, modern-day reality is rooted in materialism and gives little credence or possibility to the invisible world. Yet, now there are signs of awakening to the non-visible world. For example, there is growing interest in the cosmologies of Indigenous peoples, which almost always includes references to this world.

    Why should we be...

  10. Chapter Six The Mindfulness Movement
    (pp. 122-138)

    When I was writing the first edition of this book, in 1993, mindfulness as a term and practice were just beginning to be recognized. Now, mindfulness has clearly entered the mainstream. Probably the best evidence of this is Tim Ryan (2012), a United States Congressman who has written a book entitledA Mindful Nation(2012), which describes how mindfulness is being applied to health care, education, and even the military. When a politician embraces mindfulness and meditative practice, you realize how far the mindfulness movement has come in twenty years.

    Mindfulness as a practice dates back to the Buddha (see...

  11. Chapter Seven What I Have Learned / Jack’s Journey
    (pp. 139-164)

    In 1988, I started including a meditation component in my graduate classes in education. I teach courses in Holistic Education and Spirituality in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. In this chapter, I reflect on what I have learned from working with contemplative practices for over twenty years.

    I believe it is important for the reader to know a little about my own practice, and more importantly, my rationale for including contemplative practices in my classes. My own practice isvipassana, or insight meditation, which is described in chapter 3. Vipassana focuses...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-174)
  13. Index
    (pp. 175-189)