Cynthia Kneen

Adjunct Faculty


Core Curriculum Requirements - Adjunct Faculty


Scuola Internazionale di Creazione Teatrale HELIKO, Italy
College of Financial Planning graduate
MA, PhD candidate, Yale University
MA, University of Hamburg, Germany,
BA, Northwestern University

From the heart

I am a long-time student of Naropa’s founder, Chogyam Trungpa, and myself a co-founder of Naropa University, in charge of operations in the early years, and director of a three-year arts-in-education grant. Naropa is in my blood, and I’m grateful. Every year it unfolds further its original founding promise of creativity, clear thinking, delight in the arts, and social impact. What more could one want? Its students are sparky, passionate, innovative, and committed. Yay!


Academic: Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Yale University Fellow. University of Hamburg Fellow, Germany.

Author: “One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2003,” Spirituality & Health.

Recent work

  • Publications: 
    • Shambhala Warrior Training (Sounds True 2007, 1996).
    • Awake Mind, Open Heart: The Power of Courage and Dignity in Everyday Life (Avalon/Perseus 2002, 2004).
    • Shambhala Times (articles 2003-10).
  • Bylines: Writers Desk Calendar, 2005.
  • Voice-over: Soulful Media, Tendril Films, 2005-06, 2008.
  • Performances:
    • The Stork Didn’t Bring You, Nature Shows, Yes, Yes, Why Not?!
    • Tender Desperadoes, Boulder and Cape Town, 2009-10.
    • Weekly public performances, Italy 2011-14. Lecture-demonstrations and Clown, Boulder, 2014-15.
    • Music & Musings, Boulder 2006-09.

Research and creative activity

  • Research: Clown as dharma art; movement analysis, movement technique, theater in education, social theater, bioenergetics, practices of physical and emotional awareness, the use of theater and masks toward development of human potential, mime, meditation as method and realization (Tibetan Buddhist, zen).
  • Scholarship: article on role of the arts and imagination in clear thinking and analysis.
  • Creative activity: masks (playing, making, teaching), writing (creative nonfiction, devised theater), clown (teaching, performing), improvisation (teaching, performing). 

Courses taught

Contemplative Learning: Naropa’s Roots and Branches, 2014. The Art of Thinking (curriculum and article under development for Naropa core consideration, or Naropa’s “6th School”).