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IDSEMUG 1818 - Mindfulness and Mysticism

Religious practices of meditation and contemplation have recently emerged as “mindfulness based interventions” (MBI) in medicine, psychotherapy, education, and popular culture. In most of these settings, the religious and historical affiliations of these practices are downplayed and their uses for developing spiritual, even mystical, states of consciousness are minimized. In this class, we go the other direction to explore the relationship between MBI and spiritual/mystical experiences. In addition, we explore the possibility of the arts as a resource for spiritual practice. We start with a close reading of key secular texts devoted to mindfulness and we compare and contrast these with a range of texts from religion and from psychedelic research. We use theoretical work to contextualize and politicize key concepts and artistic work (film, painting, poetry, music) to evoke an experiential dimension of our topic. Authors include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hahn, William James, Stephen Katz, Graze Janzen, Sojourner Truth, angel Kyodo williams, Paul Schrader, Michael Pollen, Luce Irigaray, Meister Eckhart, Cyprian Consiglio, Ibn al-Arabi, and Hui-Neng.
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Spring 2019
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