Contemplative summer institute and Nordic "people's education" - the project idea
What is contemplation? What do Buddha and Grundtvig have in common? Who are the seminars for? What is the basic philosophy of "people's education"? Read about it below.
What is contemplation?
Contemplation means “gazing” - in a sense of being aware and present with things without having projects with them. When you contemplate, you are not busy with having, being or accomplishing something – you rest or flow in the deeper layers. Many use the word as synonymous with meditation, but it can also be used to point to a broader stream – including meditative ways of thinking, building friendships, creating music or art, etc. Centuries ago, European culture had more space for the contemplative element, at least in some places. It was said that Man has two kinds of life, the active vita activa and the contemplative vita contemplativa. The modern Western world has forgotten so much of contemplative life – or hidden it so well within art and science – that many find inspiration from Eastern traditions. In Gomde Højskole we believe this inspiration is the beginning of many kinds of cross-fertilization of Eastern and Western spirit.
Buddha og buddhismen
Buddha and Buddhism is not just an exotic oriental phenomenon, it is living cultural world heritage. Its core contribution is spiritual practice – concrete steps to cultivate spirit, wakefulness, compassion etc. in one’s own life. This heritage may be particularly present in meditation centers such as Gomde, but it is also generally becoming a strong cultural factor in the modern West. In the summer institute it will be a shared background for contributions and discussions from inside and outside the tradition. In the summer institute you can learn more about meditation whether you have little or much experience, and spirituality will be explored as an important dimension of all the subjects we work with. In this interview with Erik Pema Kunsang you can read more about the buddhist contribution to a contemplative nordic folk high school.
Grundtvig and the Nordic folk high school
Contemplative Folk High School means
"Contemplative Folk High School” means that we work in the Grundtvigian tradition of education based on some particular outspoken ground of values and inspirations, combined with an open, dialogical engagement in contemporary problems and openings. Much of the ground in Gomde Højskole will be Buddhism and other contemplative traditions in a broad sense. But on this basis it will open a broader perspective - contemplative life in our time, as it exists an as it may evlolve.
Therefore, there is characteristic combination in the program, the themes and the team of contributors, with strong elements that are from "inside" the traditional Buddhist and contemplative basis, and also strong elements from "outside". Not in order to obtain completeness or balance between all views, but in order to nourish fertile dialogues where contemplative insight and practice becomes relevant and alive in a contemporary Western cultural landscape.
The Højskole seminars will have a basis in Buddhism and other contemplative traditions, by deepening acquaintance with their roots and follow their contemporary ramifications in influences on our society. We will open constructive reflections into different applications and tensions in our time. We will open reflections on the relationship between mindfulness and psychotherapy. We will discuss how meditation can exist in schools and worksplaces, perhaps even as a management tool. We will explore how a personal contemplative life can look in a modern everyday life. And we will look into the ways Eastern and Western spirituality may challenge or enrich each other.
In practice we will secure that highly qualified, inspiring and non-sectarian introductions to meditation and other methods are available for beginners and others. And we will offer a range of practical shared activities where buddhist / meditative inspiration can be expressed in fresh, sustainable ways.
You can read more about the content in the descriptions of seminar 1 and seminar 2.
The contemplative summer institute is mainly aimed at young people. This includes everyone who is young in the deeper sense of still shaping one’s life. Perhaps you are a student feeling a need of stronger connection between personal spiritual / meditative interests and the content of your studies, dissertation etc. Or perhaps you are looking for similar perspectives in relation to job and career choice.
The courses aim to be attractive and useful for participants with many different kinds of backgrounds – including those who have a particular Buddhist background and knowledge, those who have experiences and engagements i a broader field of mediation and spirituality, and everyone interested in human and ecological flourishing.