CHANNELING THE CURRENT: THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF MOVING MEDITATION FOR FINDNG A FLOW IN THINKING AND WRITING
Morris, Sarah Lynn
Hultgren, Francine H.
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CHANNELING THE CURRENT: THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF MOVING MEDITATION FOR FINDNG A FLOW IN THINKING AND WRITING Sarah Lynn Morris, Doctor of Philosophy, 2013 Dissertation Directed by: Professor Francine H. Hultgren Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, University of Maryland, College Park This phenomenological study explores lived experience of moving meditation for finding flow in thinking and writing. Moving meditation is intentional practice of mindfulness that brings us deeply into our selves and the world. Connecting to pedagogical implications for teaching composition, this study suggests embodied practices may open a flow of words and ideas for those practicing movement meditation. Grounded in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and van Manen, this work explores embodiment and lived experience, using human science phenomenology as method. Further grounded in writing process and moving meditation texts, this work connects body movement and writing practices through lived experience. I first turn toward my own experience to examine moving meditation as method of finding flow in my thinking and writing. Next, I explore the phenomenon in a range of traditions to further uncover the lived experience of moving writers. The metaphor of the circuit as descriptive of writing process and body process further illuminates the phenomenon. Initial emergent themes include process, practice, flow, solitude, and nature. Recognizing the intersubjective in the particular, this study focuses on lived experience of four high school English teachers as they make meaning through focused movement. In four sessions of meditative contemplation, these teachers walked in the woods, wrote reflections, and considered personal and pedagogical experiences. Renderings of these teachers' journals and conversations suggest themes including fear, care, wholeness, and transcendence. Drawing from these conversants' insights, I explore ways in which meditative movement opens a flow in thinking and writing for these teachers, writers themselves in the current of life. Orienting toward pedagogical implications, I engage with lived experience in order to suggest ways in which teachers of writing may create wholeness of experience for classroom communities: taking students outside, seeing students in wholeness, positioning themselves as more experienced writers, focusing on process rather that product, and being bodies themselves. In doing so, they may generate a culture of care that fosters growth of writing and writers--body, mind, and spirit wholeness-- with the world as classroom and lived life as text.