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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
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Friday, June 19 • 10:45am - 11:15am
CON12.06 - Labyrinths and learning research results: Training the mind to be calm, clear, and creative

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This interactive session will present the research results from a SoTL project which investigated the relationships between mindfulness practice using finger labyrinths and the potential to reduce student anxiety, improve concentration, and enhance creativity. The study involved participants from three introductory Creative Writing classes (Fall 2013, Fall 2014, and Winter 2015) at Thompson Rivers University. Data collection included pre-tests, journal surveys, test surveys, and focus groups. In particular, a specialized "labyrinth journal" with a fold-out finger labyrinth design became an innovative data collection tool which was central to the study. Labyrinths, which are ancient patterns large enough to be walked or small enough to be traced with the finger, represent tools for cultivating mindful habits. Mindfulness is the contemplative practice of focusing the attention on the present, non-judgmentally. By training the mind to remain fully present in each moment, the interior mental chatter that often plagues the mind becomes quiet, enhancing capacities or equanimity, clarity, and insight The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) embraces the labyrinth as a contemplative and experiential resource for student learning, and supports Contemplative Pedagogy as a foundation for an enriched research methodology (2015). Amid a culture that rewards speed and “busyness,” contemplative practice proposes a radical innovation for teaching and learning. This session will offer a brief historical context for labyrinths, provide an overview of contemplative practices for student learning, share the research findings from the project, and invite participants to experience finger labyrinths.


Artress, L. (1995). Walking a sacred path – Rediscovering the labyrinth as a spiritual tool. New York: Riverhead Books.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 8(2), 73-107.

Wallace, B. A. (2009). Mind in the balance: Meditation in science, Buddhism, and Christianity. New York: Columbia UP. The Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. (2015, April 17). Retrieved from .

Friday June 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:15am PDT
Chairman Room

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