Contemplative pedagogy: A creative meditation

This meditation took place between the clarification in class of the goal for the next essay, and each student’s attempt to narrow his or her focus.

The lights went out, the door was closed, the students set themselves up by adjusting their posture and taking a few breaths.  I asked them to turn their attention to their next essay, then breathed on it for a minute or two.

“Ideas are running through your head, right?  That is the Monkey Brain, always teasing you, taunting you, distracting you with thoughts unrelated to your focus.”  Pause for a minute.  “Don’t fight these ideas.  Let them enter your head and march out the other side. Instead of grasping them, let them move. Watch them.”

We breathed on that for a few minutes.

“Many of your are having negative thoughts about this essay — ‘I don’t know what to do,’ ‘I’ve always been terrible at writing,’ ‘I got a C in my high school writing class,’ ‘my teacher told me that writing was not my strong suit,’ ‘This is hard.’ Watch those thoughts march through your head and out the other side, too. They play no role in this task.”

We breathed on that for a few minutes.

“Now you are ready to think.”

We took at least five minutes to reflect silently, then turned on the lights, opened the door, and began to discuss the focus of the upcoming essay.

My next post will be about evaluating the efficacy of meditation in the writing classroom.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *