View a slideshow/video presentation about this course: Consciousness, Culture, And Community
Read the blog featured on UVM Outreach: Students Learn Mindfulness Practices & Intercultural Communication Skills in Bali
This seminar will provide opportunities to develop intercultural communication skills including cultural awareness, cultural adaptation, cultural empathy and non-evaluative listening. In addition, students will have opportunities to develop skills in the domain of consciousness or trans-cultural communication. Some of these skills include: being fully present, reflective awareness, tolerance for ambiguity and not knowing, tolerance for different perspectives, holding multiple perspectives, and meditative and altered states of consciousness.
We will form a learning community with working agreements. This community will operate within the larger Balinese community which will allow students 1) to become more at ease with the intercultural and trans-cultural skills, 2) deepen their sense of community, and, 3) help them learn how to balance their own needs with the needs of others. There will be numerous opportunities for students to interface with Balinese families, teachers and traditional healers.
The first part of the trip at the Nirarta Centre in the rice fields and green hills of rural east Bali sets the context for our journey, as we settle into the Balinese experience taking time for meditation and reflection recognizing the rural roots of the Balinese way while introducing the themes of the seminar.
- Consider some of the key frames that shape Balinese holism, as we explore the emergence of polarities, their resolution, and integration
- Encounter the spirit of Balinese prayer and offerings, with an opportunity to create the latter.
- Enjoy a visit and blessings from a high priest in the village
- See village weaving, a local school, visit a Balinese master healer with an opportunity to observe and experience his work.
Balinese psychiatrist, healer, and activist, Prof. Luh Ketut Suryani will join us with her rich experience combining both traditional and contemporary approaches to what she call bio-psycho-socio-cultural-spiritual well being.
Then we will be centered in Tebesaya, a quiet traditional Community Banjar close to Ubud. Accommodation will be in Balinese ‘home stays’ permitting close contact with extended families including the full range of generations from babies to grandparents. In this community, where the arts are important primary or secondary activities, participants can feel connected to how the Balinese approach daily life at work and relaxation, socially, organizationally, and ritually.
It is easy to assume that our own cultural biases are universal. Even when we recognize that cultural conditioning is relative, we may be unaware of how our usual context is skewing our interaction with the world.
Western education and thinking tends to emphasize the rational mind, categorization, analyzing, splitting, and prominent elements in the foreground of our awareness.
In contrast, Balinese tradition, as with many Asian societies, tends to emphasize feeling, intuition, relationship, sensitivity to background context, complexity, balance, and a capacity to embrace change, while maintaining its core, In Bali the arts, healing, spirituality, and community are interwoven in daily life in a way that is unique in the modern world.
The Balinese perspective provides a compelling contrast to our own, but one that is complementary, with profound implications for the maintenance of individual and collective well-being and the resolution of imbalances in our societies.
Our time in Bali will test and refine our assumptions, not just as an interesting cultural backdrop, but also as a profound difference through which we can probe deeper dimensions of well being and inter-being.
Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.
Final Paper is due March 16, 2018. Final Class is March 23, 2018.