by: Ed Brantmeier
Mindfulness, simply put, is about paying attention. Paying attention to the moment can have profound impact on experience and perception. Do you pay attention to your scholarship? Is it tough to find the moments to pay attention?
Let’s go on an introspective journey together. Why did you become an academic? Was it an inspiring professor? An immersive, profound experience? Curiosity? A life situation? A discerning question, so compelling, that you simply could not let go of the pursuit of possible answers? A fear of mediocrity? A desire to positively impact the lives of students? Maybe it was more simple—it seemed like a good profession, and it allows one to pay the bills? A friend once told me that he thought it seemed like a good profession because as a child, he observed that his professor-father took naps every afternoon. Reasons vary indeed for why university faculty pursue careers in higher education. Unfortunately, most of us do not assume the luxury of afternoon naps.
Scholarship, one essential component of life of in the academy, holds the potential to enrich your life and the academic community you work in. What motivates you to explore, pursue, inquire, apply, or publish? What are the rewards of scholarship—intrinsic and/or extrinsic? Whether I am consuming knowledge of other scholars, or co-creating knowledge, I find the process to be profoundly creative, energizing, puzzling, and perplexing at times. The questions one asks– of the literature, of the data set, when writing about the implications of the data and methodology– provide fuel for learning. Learning itself becomes enriching and rejuvenating–destination unknown oftentimes. In this way, the questions we ask propel us to revisit perennial questions or attempt to ask edgy, innovative new ones. The stem of the word questions is QUEST. For me, “quest” invokes a journey of discovery, travel to the four corners of the mind and four corners of the world. Scholarship allows one to travel, in some cases without moving, through time and circumstance to contribute to a grand narrative of human experience on the planet.
Scholarly pursuits, if mindfully pursued, hold tremendous potential for discovery, integration, engagement, and enrichment in the lives of academics and the learners that we steward. Nurturing your inner scholar will help fill your wells, put the winds back in your sails, and in the process, the positive ripple effect just may inspire those around you.
I invite you to consider a few mindful scholarly pursuits at this year’s January Symposium.
In peace, Ed