Contemplative Studies Minor
This minor combines courses from several areas to foster a scholarly understanding of contemplative practices and philosophies by studying them in the context of psychology, religion, history, health, and other academic areas. Often, courses feature first-person experience practicing contemplative techniques, adding a transformative complement to theory-based learning. A large research literature points to contemplative practice as having a variety of beneficial effects such as enhanced attentional ability, increased compassion, better physical and mental health, and access to personal insight. Other benefits include stress reduction, resiliency in the face of challenges, and improvements in relationships.
This program of study supports rigorous intellectual formation as well as consideration and development of the whole person: mind, body, heart, and world. Subtler aspects of human experience, such as non-dual, non-conceptual, direct, experiential wisdom, are explored. The minor invites students to inquire into some of life's most profound mysteries and questions: "What is the nature of consciousness? What happens after death? What supports well-being and a happy, meaningful life? What is the relationship between ethics and wisdom? How can contemplative insights be applied to our most pressing social and environmental problems?"