Over the past five decades, the interest in the contemplative practices of world wisdom traditions has been steadily expanding all through the Western culture. Education in general and higher education, in particular, has also incorporated these 'inner sciences' as they are often called. Contemplative practices foster a more compassionate understanding of the behavior and values of others, especially those who are unlike us. They are transformational practices and open ways to improve intercultural understanding. Transcending the limits of a traditional classroom offers a new dimension to contemporary learners.As students from different cultural backgrounds cross paths while studying in other countries, intercultural learning becomes an additional focus of their study abroad. An increasing interest from international as well as Canadian students in contemplative practices offers an opportunity to expand existing courses, to connect curriculum with real life, to go beyond the curriculum to offer all students a common shared experience. Getting students physically and emotionally involved in the learning process gives them better spatial and temporal awareness as well as awareness of each other. Sensory engagement offers students the therapeutic effects of cultural experience as well as better understanding of the subject.Research confirms that contemplative forms of inquiry can offset the constant distractions of our multi-tasking, multi-media cultural environment. Thus, creative teaching and learning methods that integrate the ancient practice of contemplation innovatively meet the particular needs of today's students and teachers.
Alexandre Avdulov, Saint Mary's University, Canada
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