Towards Contemplative Fluency: Framing Tibetan Meditation Practices

Wednesday, April 3 at 6:00pm
Humanities 250
University of Colorado-Boulder

Meditation is an ancient human practice. Our ability to artfully cultivate attentive, imaginal, and embodied modes of consciousness, and more so, intentionally design and apply techniques to transcend ordinary experience are deeply integral to the human contemplative heritage. Such practices have historically been innovated, tested, refined, and documented in magnificent diversity by the world’s great contemplative traditions. Yet, despite this historical record and an ever-growing popular interest, the study of meditation is gravely underdeveloped. In this talk, I present novel models and methods to study meditation based on a view that the underlying building-blocks and mechanisms at work in contemplative practices can be discerned, and by doing so, we can learn contemplative fluency – a practical know-how sensitive to distinct skills, contexts, and potentials. We pilot typologies of contemplative styles and contexts, discuss a generative framework, and use case examples from historical Tibetan practices to consider possible transdisciplinary futures of meditation research.