In 2011, Molly Beauregard, a sociology professor at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, offered a groundbreaking new course: “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity”. Rooted in the academic literature of identity studies, Beauregard’s class was unique in offering students the chance to experience meditation first-hand. Alongside a traditional and rigorous syllabus, her course also integrated silence and reflection, providing students not only with an introduction to the discipline, but an opportunity to learn for the sake of self-discovery. The results were transformative.
6 years ago today we got to Skype with David Lynch during Molly's Consciousness, Creativity and Identity class!
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In January of 2010, I sat in on a life-changing meeting about introducing meditation through an academic course at my college in Detroit. Even though I had never practiced meditation before, I was happy to sit with one of my favorite professors, Molly Beauregard in front of her peers, members of the school counseling department, and the Chair of the Liberal Arts Department while she made her pitch at the meeting.
It was a pretty radical pitch for the time. Molly wanted to invite trained meditation teachers into her class to personally teach each student. I didn’t quite realize the degree to which this notion might be rejected when Molly asked me to join her at the meeting. I certainly never expected angry fist-pounding as an initial response to Molly’s request. Although she had recruited a number of individuals at the college to get on board with the idea, meditation in the classroom was dismissed by high-level college officials mostly for their conclusion that it was a spiritual practice. It was clear to me right then that meditation must be a tremendously powerful thing.
I learned to meditate shortly after that meeting which served as a turning point in my life. Meditation brought with it the start of greater confidence and a much improved experience for the remainder of college. Before long, I found myself fighting alongside Molly for more students to receive a fair introduction to the practice. I changed my thesis project in order to make a short film on the benefits of meditation for students.
To my surprise, Molly’s class titled “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity” was approved to run for the first time during my last semester of school in 2011. I enrolled in the class and was amazed at the array of students interested in learning how to cultivate a sense of their own inner identity. We folded ourselves into deep three hour discussions. We meditated together every week. It was clear that this was no ordinary social science class. I knew we had embarked on something new. Something groundbreaking and refreshing.
Over the following years, I continued documenting Molly’s class. Making the Tuning the Student Mind documentary has offered me the opportunity to witness the power of teaching. It is my hope that the film will encourage other students to ask themselves life’s bigger questions; “Who am I?” “Who do I want to be?” and “What do I have to offer?”
Chelsea Jackson | Film Director, Tuning the Student Mind
** I wrote this statement over two years ago. I am fascinated with how quickly the times have changed from back in 2011, when people looked at me strangely when I talked about meditating in school. Now almost everyone I come into contact with has at least tried meditation and is more than willing to tell me about their experience.
I am now married, am a mama, I work part-time for a yoga and meditation company and I am also working on my next documentary as well as numerous other video projects.
I can only hope that the upward trend of practicing meditation continues. My practice has changed my life for the better. I am eternally grateful for Molly, still my friend and teacher, and for her passion of bringing the gift of meditation to her students. **
Click below to watch the Tuning the Student Mind film! tuningthestudentmind.com/watch/ ... See MoreSee Less