Teaching with mindfulness and contemplative practices is like wearing a MASCC while at the same time creating a road map for your students and for yourself. When we use Mindfulness, Artfulness, Simplicity, Compassion, and Connectedness (MASCC) to design our courses, prepare to teach them, and actually teach them we empower our students in many important and exciting ways.
As educators it is our responsibility to educate our students not only in the course content, but also in how to live mindfully, compassionately, and successfully in an ever changing and challenging world of war, hunger, prejudice, poverty, disease, and climate change. The power within each of your students lies dormant until we help them discover it. But for that to occur we must first discover it within ourselves. We must create a MASCC for our lives and the circumstances within which we live and move and have our being.
So the first step in this process is to find a practice that resonates with your belief system and discover the power that it has to expand your life in these areas. Chose one area at a time and focus your reading, research, attention, time, and talent in that direction. Make it fun, make it experiential, and make it an integral part of your life. Then watch what happens with your teaching ability, your creativity, and your responses from your students, friends, and family members.
Change is not easy, but it is important. Stagnation often appears as a very slow death. So slow that we often don’t even recognize it until it is too late. Stagnation can mean the death of a relationship, a job, your health, and more. It hinders the growth and learning for yourself and your students.
Today’s students have sensory overload with the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more! They have trouble focusing and quieting their minds and thus it makes learning very difficult. Their attention span is short and getting shorter every day! So if you think how and what you taught last year or two years ago or five years ago will work today think again!
Susan Kaiser Greenland in her book “Mindful Games” shares with her readers an exercise that I think you might like. It is called “Drop the Monkeys (page80-81).” In Buddhism we talk frequently about the Monkey Mind! Monkeys represent thoughts, sensations, distractions and emotions running around our heads throughout the day.
So what do we do with them? She has her student’s remove their power by adding them to a chain (like a necklace) filled with monkeys. Once they’ve filled up the chain she has them dropping the chain into a barrel, letting go of them quickly and easily! Whatever you do don’t go back and take them out of that barrel! Getting rid of the Monkeys will put you on the fast track to creating a powerful MASCC that can change your life forever!
Let me know how it goes!
 Greenland, S.K. (2016) Mindful Games. Shambhala: Boulder