Removing Obstacles: Using Guided Visualization to Imagine Change by Doreen Maller, Ph.D., MFT and Leane Genstler, MA

It is so easy to get stuck in patterns of fear, oppression, or habits of mind. Whether you are teaching a class in physics, calculus, creative writing or science or working in social justice and human potential sometimes the solution, answer or outcome we are searching for doesn’t seem obvious; either for the community or for your self. In fact, at times it can feel nearly impossible and unreachable to come to a settled place. Even the thought of moving from stuck and paralyzed, from not knowing how to take the next step, or realize what the next step is can feel daunting. This work, of mindful self-awareness can help open the heart and gain perspective. 

 

Unstuck...from Inaction to Action Research indicates that use of guided visualizations deepens the connection to our subconscious mind and can improve our visualization skills, which can help to improve right brain thinking. Guided visualizations also strengthen the connection between the right and left hemispheres of our brains, leading to more holistic or ‘whole brain’ thinking.

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How to Help Diverse Students Find Common Ground By Dr. Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

Here are what I see as the key steps to creating an environment on campus where students can “cross borders” and reach a place of genuine understanding and connection. I believe these principles are relevant to any classes or other on-campus forums aimed at fostering inclusion and positive cross-group relationships; I hope instructors for other courses also consider how to incorporate some of these principles into their work.

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Embodied Writing in a Sociology of the Body Class by Dr. Deborah J. Cohan

It is often said that we teach what we need to learn. Nowhere in my teaching career have I found this to be more the case than in my creation and implementation of a new course for our university’s curriculum titled, Sociology of the Body.

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Contemplative Practice of Mindful Art-Making and Deep Inner Journeys By Kakali Bhattacharya, Ph.D.

Art-making, like any other activity can be contemplative, with a mindful disposition. I have been working with mixed-medium painting that layers narratives and invites a first person journey deep into my experiences. From those inner journeys, I am able to gather insights about self in relation to other, privileges, ways in which our life experiences shape our understanding of oppression, resistance, justice, and liberation. 

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Meditations on Facing Injustice, Transforming Race and Privilege By Susal Stebbins Collins, M.A.

In my role as the Contemplative Life Advisor at Hampshire College, I support students to practice, develop and integrate meditation, mindfulness, and related principles of awareness and compassion into their lives. This includes reflecting on key systemic forms of suffering, particularly oppression, climate disruption and other environmental damage, and potential remedies/right actions of social justice and sustainability.

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Body Scan Meditation By Beth Berila, Ph.D.

This Body Scan Meditation will help us become aware of the sensations we hold in our bodies.  Like most meditations, the idea is to witness without judgment.  In a Body Scan Meditation, we also learn to work with our breath, which yoga philosophy calls prana.  By directing our breath to particular places throughout our body, we can become more aware of what we are experiencing and learn to soften certain sensations. 

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Basic Mindfulness Check-In By Beth Berila, Ph.D.

Before we can truly work with the intense responses that arise when discussion and dismantling oppression, we have to first become very familiar with our own reactions. Often, we have "gut" responses without really being aware of what is happening, which makes it difficult to respond intentionally. This Mindfulness Check-In is a short practice designed to help us become aware of our responses in any given moment.

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How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias by Rhonda Magee, J.D.

Research shows that mindfulness practices help us focus, give us greater control over our emotions, and increase our capacity to think clearly and act with purpose. Might mindfulness assist police and other public servants in minimizing the mistaken judgments that lead to such harms? Might they help the rest of us—professors and deliverymen alike—minimize our biases as well?

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Using Tonglen in Anti-Oppression Pedagogy to Encourage “Being in It” rather than “Getting It" by Tracy L. Davis, Ph.D.

There’s a scene in the movie Garden State where Natalie Portman’s character exclaims, “You’re really in it” as Zach Braff portrays someone beginning to feel more sentient coming out of a long-term, lithium-induced haze.  This phrase, to me, serves as enthusiastic recognition of someone working the space between the anxiety of existence and sheer exhilaration of being alive. 

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Listening as a Transformative Practice by Jaime O'Connor, MA

Deep listening is a contemplative practice that assists us with dropping our habitual story lines so that we can genuinely engage with other people and the world around us.  It is a practice of listening with an open mind, suspending our tendency to immediately label, analyze, critique, or organize the information that we are receiving.  It is a more experiential approach to hearing in which we don’t just hear what the voice is saying, we hear the quality of the voice itself.

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Forum Theatre: Using Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to Build Receptive Competence By Rasha Diab, Ph.D. and Beth Godbee, Ph.D.

In our lives we often witness oppressive situations. We witness them, but do not consider the possibility of intervening. To disrupt this pattern, we find real value in Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed. To educators, he is perhaps best known for his book Theatre of the Oppressed (1973).

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Photovoice: Visualizing Privilege and Interrupting Learned Oppression By Phillip E. Wagner, Ph.D.

In my PhD capstone methods course, I was introduced to photovoice, a visual research methodology that is used to visually capture another’s perspective by commissioning individuals to go out and capture their own lives in a meaningful, visual way. Photovoice is an emancipatory method at its roots, used to help highlight the voices of those who are often silenced in society—victims of domestic violence (Frohmann, 2005), those with a disability (Thoutenhoofd, 1997), people of color (Douglas, 1998), LGBTQ-identified individuals (Santurri, 2014), the elderly (Baker & Wang, 2006), and more.

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Larry Yang and the Practice of Intention by Beth Berila, Ph.D.

Larry Yang is well known for his work in Buddhism and social change, particularly with LGBT/ Queer communities and communities of color. In his article, “Buddhist Intention: Being Kind in Unkind Times,” from The Huffington Post, he responds to the continuous flow of violence against marginalized groups that pervades the news.

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From Mindless to Mindful Dialogues about Identity By Jason Laker, Ph.D.

When people first hear terms like “mindfulness” or “contemplative,” it is common for images of cross-legged silent meditation or perhaps uttering “Om” to be conjured in the listener’s mind.  This is a stereotype of course, and like others, it is constructed from things that actually happen (i.e. seeing someone cross-legged and meditating and/or chanting) and then extrapolated into a caricature of reality. 

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Reflecting on Emotional Responses to Evocative Films Using Embodied Mindfulness By Elizabeth Hope Dorman

In an effort to help my education students, who are preparing to become teachers in P-12 settings, develop social-emotional competence, I have recently begun integrating The Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching (Weaver & Wilding, 2013) into my courses. 

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