Contemplative practices such as meditation and other awareness practices, as well as body disciplines such as yoga, facilitate a person's ability to be fully present with whatever is going on in the moment.
Much of the time we see the world through the prism of our projections, attitudes and opinions so that we cannot see clearly. We are distracted by thoughts about what has already happened or lost in the possibilities that have not yet occurred. Either way, we miss the boat.
Any activity, whether it is our profession or our social interaction, is going to benefit and be enriched by our full presence, rather than our distracted being.
To quote William James, the well-known Harvard psychologist at the turn of the century, “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. An education which should improve this faculty would be education par excellence.”
As with other Naropa University degree programs, the MA in Ecopsychology integrates meditation and awareness practices into the learning process. Such contemplative practices are at the core of ecopsychology. They provide the foundation for understanding, which is grounded in experience, and for more effective and compassionate application of ecopsychology.
Students will learn and practice meditation during the two summer intensives as well as through online course work with close supervision. Meditation practice courses are required in the first year of the program and may be included in a student's electives. Naropa's contemplative approach is found not only in meditation instruction and practice but throughout the program. The willingness to be in touch with one's present awareness with friendliness and curiosity is at the root of such a contemplative approach.