Seminar: Mind, Meditation and Mystical Practices. Instructor: Paula Artac, D.Min, ATR-BC Contact:

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1 April 23-27, 2018 Intensive Seminar: Mind, Meditation and Mystical Practices # S-CO Instructor: Paula Artac, D.Min, ATR-BC Contact: Course Description: This core class is an initiation; a theoretical, mystical and prophetic journey into the realm of perception, consciousness, mindfulness, mysticism and creativity the components of art as meditation. The practice of art as meditation is a fundamental element of the Fox Institute for Creation Spirituality. By exploring how the mind/brain is physically affected through centering, clarity, mindfulness, and letting go through the creative process, in the words of Matthew Fox, we stretch our feelings, intuitions and perceptions. The mind is illuminated and the imagination is enhanced through the mystical experience. Didactic study of mystics and their experiences, the power of creative process, and the transformational effect of right brain/left brain learning experiences ultimately connect us to the Divine. Exceptional human experiences such as meditation and mystical practices increase brain connections enhancing the mind s perception of meaning and purpose by turning our awareness within ourselves. The brain s plasticity is increased through meditation practice, encouraging increased mindfulness, attention and concentration, and a greater sense of wellbeing. From a scientific view, a change in specific areas of the brain, such as the medial prefrontal cortex can be clinically observed responding to a spiritual, divine, or transcendent experience. Meditation is a skill building process for the brain. Various cultural spiritual traditions will be studied to explore how meditation, creativity and intuition can be intertwined beyond the ordinary mind and physical consciousness. How does meditation enhance the mind? Essential to this course is the study and discussion of the mystic mind to develop a working personal relationship with the Source of Creation. Lectures and discussions in mystical and creative practices will address archetypes of mystic, shaman, healer, teacher, artist, poet, sage, muse, free spirit, servant, and leader, which we find in dream work, play, and creative expression 1

2 through writing, music, movement. We can renew awe, wonder, and divine purpose to our individual lives and daily work through creativity. Learning Goals Students will understand the visible physical effects of meditation and mystical practice on the mind/brain connection Students will incorporate insights and knowledge gained from meditation practice Students will learn and discuss the concepts of creativity as mystical practice Students will integrate creative expression and mystical practice into a mindful understanding of a deeper connection to the Divine Daily Schedule Day One Mind/Brain connection Opening Meditation experiential -- Centering Prayer Overview of course and syllabus/intent of core course Lecture and discussion Effect of mindfulness, meditation and creativity on the Mind/brain connection: plasticity, concentration and illumination PRE PAPER READINGS o Reference Material: Newberg, A. (2016) o Reference Material: Hanson, R. (2009) o Reference Material: Keating, T. (1995) o READING ASSIGNMENT: Day Two Power of Meditation Cultural Exploration of Meditation Opening Meditation experiential -- Focused attention meditation Lecture and discussion: Origins of Meditation Practice, World Religions, nature meditation Lecture and discussion: Benefits of Meditation Meditation and the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality o Reference Material: Teasdale (1999) o Reference Material: Thich Nhat Hanh (1999) o Reference Material: Hanson (2009) o READING ASSIGNMENT 2

3 Day Three Mysticism: The Art of Union with Reality and Divine Opening Meditation experiential -- Tai Chi Lecture and discussion -- The Mystics and their Experiences, Archetypes The Phenomenon of Human Experience/The Experience of Mystery Inspiration and Mystical Consciousness o Reference Material: Chaney (1979) o Reference Material: Coombs (2003) o READING ASSIGNMENT Day Four The Dialectic of Creativity: The Speech of the Soul Opening Meditation experiential -- Guided Visualization Meditation Poesis and Phenomenology Fragmentation to Integration Page 3 Lecture and Discussion -- Quantum Creativity and Our Creative Potential Transcendence, self-actualization and creative expression o Reference Material: Goswami (1999) o Reference Material: Fox (2002) o READING ASSIGNMENT Day Five Mystical Practice Opening Meditation experiential -- Breathing Meditation/Zazen/Zen Meditation Lecture and discussion Establishing an intimate relationship with the Divine through Mystical Practice Lecture and discussion Community and Communion Closure, Processing and Closing Ceremony o Reference Material: Fox (2002) o Reference Material: Steiner (1998) o Reference Material: Csikszentmihalyi (1990) POST PAPER ASSIGNMENT 3

4 Required Readings Required Course Texts (to be read prior to course): Hahn, T. N. (1999). The miracle of mindfulness: an introduction to the practice of meditation. Boston, MA: Beacon Press Richards, M. C. (1989). Centering in pottery, poetry, and the person. Hanover, NH: Weslayan University Press. Recommended Readings (Format: Assembled Student reader of selected chapters will be read for daily class assignment) Chaney, R. (1979). Mysticism, the journey within. Upland, CA: Astara, Inc. Coombs, M. (2003). Mystery hidden yet revealed, a study of the interrelationship of transcendence, self-actualization and creative expression, with reference to the lives and the works of thomas merton and georgia o'keefe. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow, the psychology of optimal experience. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club Fisher, C. (2013). Meditation in the wild: buddhism's origin in the heart of nature. Alresford, England, UK: Changemakers Books Fox, M. (2002). Creativity. New York:Jeremy P. Tarcher Goswami, A. (1999). Quantum creativity, waking up to our creative potential. Cresskill, NY: Hampton Press, Inc. Newberg, A. (2016). How enlightenment changes your brain: the new science of transformation. New York: Penguin Random House 4

5 Steiner, R. (1998). Art as spiritual activity: rudolf steiner's contribution to the visual arts. New York: Anthroposophic Press Teasdale, W. (1999). The mystic heart. Novato, CA: New World Library. List Readings if applicable Requirements (Paper assignments/grading) papers to: Paula Artac, D.Min, ATR-BC Pre-paper is 5-10 pages (due on or before the first day of class) Pre Course Assignment Students will write a 5-10 page pre-paper (Chicago Manual of Style) addressing the following three of the twelve principles of Creation Spirituality expressing their current beliefs, including concrete examples: o Every one of us is a mystic o Every one of us is an artist o In our lives, it is through the work of spiritual practice that we find our deep and true selves (Through the arts of meditation and silence we cultivate clarity of mind and move beyond fear into compassion and community). Post-Paper is pages (due on or before May 1, 2018) Post Course Assignment Meditate on the following poem by Hildegard of Bingen: I saw a mighty and immeasurable marvelousness. It had such a fierce shine I could only behold it as if through a mirror. But I know that within it was every manner of sweet blossoming, Every manner of good aromas and lovely scents. It was to be enjoyed with unbounded delight. Here were the blessed, happy ones that moved God in their time on earth, Stirred God with sincere striving and just works. Now in all this marvelousness they can enjoy the sweetest ecstasy. Hildegard of Bingen (Uhlein, 1983, p. 127). 5

6 Answer the following questions, using both citation references and personal experience: 1. Of what is Hildegard of Bingen speaking? 2. What colors and images emerge into your consciousness from your meditation on this poem? 3. Are you aware of symbols or metaphors in your meditation? What are their meanings? 4. Describe the transformation you have experienced from this assignment and the Mind, Meditation and Mystical Practices course in general Students may choose the following creative options for their final assignment: Students may write a page paper (Chicago Manual of Style) Students may create a short video (topic and content to be discussed with instructor Students may create an art piece (painting, multi-media, 3-dimensional) which reflects course content and post paper questions (final project will be submitted in digital photo format/jpg accompanied by explanation) ASSIGNMENT DUE on or before May 1, 2018 Grades are based on the following Daily Attendance and Participation 20pts/day 100 pts Possible Pre-Paper 100 pts Possible Post Paper 100 pts Possible = A = B Items to bring to class 6

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