Understanding curriculum as meditative inquiry : a study of the ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti and James Macdonald (2011)
In Understanding Curriculum As Meditative Inquiry: A Study of the Ideas of JidduKrishnamurti and James Macdonald, I study the relationship among consciousness,meditative inquiry, and curriculum. I argue that human consciousness, which is the basis ofour thinking, feeling, and action, is common to all humanity and is in crisis. This crisis ofconsciousness—which is characterized by fear, conditioning, becoming, and fragmentation—affects and is deeply affected by the nature of contemporary educational institutions.Contemporary educational institutions create in children fear of authority, exams, andpunishment. They also condition their minds with state-controlled and market-drivenknowledge. In addition, modern educational institutions alienate children from their bodies,emotions, and spirits due to their overemphasis on cognitive learning.The crisis of consciousness is an existential problem and, therefore, in order tounderstand its depth and complexities we require an existential approach. Meditative inquiry,which is to be aware of the movement of consciousness without analysis or judgment, is anexistential approach to understanding and transforming consciousness to create a peacefulworld. On the one hand, meditative inquiry underscores the limitations of thinking andanalysis and, on the other hand, it emphasizes meditative listening and observation.Because of the existential nature of our consciousness and the significance of meditativeinquiry to comprehending the former, I propose viewing curriculum as a space for meditativeinquiry. Curriculum as meditative inquiry is a transformative approach to educationalexperience that aspires to undermine and possibly dissolve the conflicted nature of ourconsciousness by cultivating a deeper sense of awareness. Specifically, curriculum asmeditative inquiry emphasizes the arts of listening and seeing to have a deeper perceptioninto one’s own consciousness and one’s relationships. It encourages the cultivation of thequalities of openness, aesthetics, and freedom in educational experience. Viewed from theperspective of meditative inquiry, education no more remains a problem of informationtransmission or means-end learning. On the contrary, it emerges as a space of freedom wherethe main focus is to learn about oneself and one’s relationships to people, nature, and ideas.