Arthur Zajonc - Mindfulness in Education

The trend toward contemplative education

In academia there has been a flurry of research on the topic in recent years. Professor Zajonc has brought attention to the field through his work as the academic program director at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. He is considered a leading thinker in the arena of mindfulness in education. Zajonc explains that contemplative education helps students make meaning of a fast-changing, complex world: “Students are taught the skills needed to assimilate and transmit information through reading, writing and mathematics.

But such single input-output functions are but one dimension of education. Something more is needed to convert information into meaningful knowledge.”  He sees a direct link between contemplative practices and the development of a peaceful global community, “Only a profoundly contemplative and transformative education has the power to nurture the vibrant, diverse civilization that should be our global future.”

About Arthur Zajonc:

Arthur Zajonc, a professor of physics and interdisciplinary studies at Amherst College, has long been interested in promoting mindfulness in education. He has been closely involved with His Holiness the Dalai Lama through the Mind and Life Institute dialogues of 1997, 2002, and 2003. His latest book is Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love. Zajonc has also been the General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, a co-founder of the Kira Institute, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.

"The schools and academic institutions are well-practiced at educating the mind for critical reasoning, critical writing, and critical speaking, as well as for scientific and quantitative analysis. But is this sufficient? In a world beset with conflicts, internal as well as external, isn’t it of equal if not greater importance to balance the sharpening of our intellects with the systematic cultivation of our hearts?"
Arthur Zajonc

"Education gives a person strength, and a warm heart lets a person use all of their knowledge for the best. Individual compassion is the key to sustaining peace of mind and peace throughout the world. Education can guide, but the heart must lead. Worldwide we need to pay more attention to education and teach the importance of a warm heart from kindergarten through university."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama