Meditation, Creativity, and Performance

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This course is no longer being offered.

Course Description

This course is designed specifically for English Language Learners interested in further developing their English skills in a challenging college-level academic setting.

What do Katy Perry, the LA Lakers, and Ellen Degeneres have in common? They all swear by meditation as a technique that enables them to be at their best! In this course, we will discuss how meditation and introspection are key practices for artists, musicians, athletes, actors, and other performers. We also study the historical background of these meditation practices. However, as a student in this course, you will not just read about meditation practices, but will also try some of them out for yourself. Through this experiential learning, you will be able to see first-hand how these practices can change your mindset, improve your focus, and allow you to enter a "flow" state. In this course we study both ancient texts that discuss meditation techniques as well as modern scientific research that aims to explain how these practices work. If you play an instrument, act in a theater troupe, or play on a sports team, this course is for you!

This course is divided into three units. In the first unit, meditation, you will study different meditation and contemplative practices, discuss what they are, and what their effects are. You will read ancient Daoist and Buddhist texts in translation and investigate the historical context of meditation practices. You will also look at some emerging research in the fields of psychology and cognitive science that discusses how these practices affect the mind and brain. You will try out basic mindfulness techniques that enable you to experience the effects of these practices first-hand.

In the second unit, creativity, we investigate the importance of introspection and contemplation in the creative process. We look at how creative people across the ages, from ancient Chinese calligraphers and poets to modern musicians, have tapped into their creative side through meditation. We will also discuss how contemplation enables one to be more spontaneous and in the moment. If you have a hobby or sport you will be encouraged to incorporate these mindfulness techniques into your practice.

In the third unit, performance, we look at how contemplative practices allow us to "be in the zone." We discuss the psychological theory of flow, a state in which one is thoroughly absorbed in an activity. We compare and contrast these flow states with the meditative states we studied earlier in the course. Here you will have the opportunity to discuss some of the insights you have gained over the course of this class, and share some of your work with others.

Students will learn about different meditation practices, the historical background of these practices, and the mind states that these practices engender. They will also learn how to describe these mind states from psychological and cognitive scientific perspectives. Finally students who take this course will learn how to practice mindfulness and incorporate the insights they have gained into their own sports, music, art, or other hobby. This course will be useful for students who are interested in studying psychology, cognitive science, or religious studies in college.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites, but students who already have a hobby or play an instrument are welcome to join!


Course Information

  • Course Code: CERS0916
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Summer@Brown for English Language Learners

A select group of non-credit courses in the liberal arts and sciences supplemented with English language learning, two weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For University-bound English language learners completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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