ERIC Number: EJ1040855
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Reference Count: 10
What's Love Got to Do with It?: Reflections on the Connection of Heart and Mind in Adult Learning
Pond, Elizabeth K.
Adult Learning, v25 n4 p160-162 Nov 2014
As a psychotherapist and meditation instructor, this author was drawn to what mindfulness teachings say about function of mind and heart in learning. Sakyong Mipham (2003) teaches that the mind is naturally compassionate, open, and receptive. The question becomes, what prevents the arising of these inherent characteristics of love? These same teachings assert that our tendency to be distracted preempts inherent curiosity and appreciation. For example, while reading this article, you may notice your mind drifting to other thoughts, perhaps totally unrelated to the topic. When this happens, you likely lose the thread of the words. It may be difficult to bring your mind back to the page, to the words, and, finally, to meaning. You are not alone. According to Smallwood and Schooler (2006), research participants spent as much as 50% of their time distracted from the task at hand. We work with this restless mind in the practice of "mindfulness meditation." Bishop et al. (2004) defines mindfulness as "self-focused attention characterized by openness and acceptance of experience" (p. 17). Sakyong Mipham (2003) adds a sense of openheartedness. There is a clear lack of demand in these definitions. People generally try to use willpower to pay attention, which is more like standing at attention than being in a state of openhearted receptivity. Rather than forcing the mind to perform, mindfulness meditation trains the mind to rest in the state of being present. According to teachings on meditation, it is possible to develop mindfulness because the inherent characteristics of the mind include clarity, stability, and strength (Mipham, 2013). Resting the mind in our current experience is where learning happens. Our mind and heart love that. This is the experience of wholehearted learning. This is what love has to do with it. Love is how learning happens. The author argues that, in adult learning and teaching, it is appropriate and necessary for love to arise for deep learning to happen. In her work, including mind and heart in this manner is called "warrior training," acknowledging the courage required to discover the power of tender-heartedness. It takes warriorship to be in our lives with an open, available heart inseparable from the clarity of intelligence.
Descriptors: Reflection, Adult Learning, Learning, Learning Theories, Theory of Mind, Attachment Behavior, Lifelong Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A