Contemplative inquiry asks not just what we think, but what thinking itself is: how we come to think, as biological, aesthetic and social beings. It is concerned with conditions and strategies for thinking differently, combining rigorous introspection with rigorous critical investigation of the world as we know it, for the sake of the world we seek. Contemplative Studies necessarily integrates perspectives from a variety of disciplines including neuroscience, religion, music, psychology, theater, visual art, language and philosophy.
In learning about and practicing contemplative inquiry, students can:
- improve their ability to observe and shape their own learning (metacognition),
- grow in their respect for self and others,
- entertain worldviews other than their own, and
- increase their curiosity about the world.
In addition, recent studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices can alter brain structure, improve attention and focus, enhance athletic and artistic performance, decrease anxiety and depression, and strengthen self-regulation and resiliency.