Contemplative Practices, Social Action and Service | Summary and Q&A

August 26, 2020
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Contemplative Practices, Social Action and Service


Higher education institutions are exploring the incorporation of contemplative practices to cultivate civic engagement, social awareness, and personal growth among students.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is contemplation, and how does it intersect with social action?

Contemplation is a process of deep reflection and insight that allows individuals to penetrate illusions and connect with reality. It can be achieved through various practices such as meditation, self-examination, and critical reflection. By cultivating contemplative practices, individuals can gain clarity, empathy, and insight into social issues, informing their actions and fostering responsible social engagement.

Q: How can higher education incorporate contemplative practices and public service to foster civic engagement in students?

Higher education institutions can integrate contemplative practices into their curricula by offering courses or modules that incorporate mindfulness, reflection, and service-learning components. By providing opportunities for students to engage in meaningful community service and encouraging reflection on their experiences, institutions can cultivate habits of the heart necessary for responsible citizenship and civic engagement.

Q: What are the key insights from the content?


  1. Contemplative practices can deepen social engagement and foster responsible citizenship.

  2. Higher education plays a critical role in cultivating civic identity and promoting social awareness through contemplative practices.

  3. Integrating contemplative and public service components into curricula can create a more holistic and meaningful educational experience.

  4. Building a community-centered environment that promotes reflection and dialogue is essential for fostering civic engagement and transformative learning in higher education.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The 2019 Contemplation By Design Summit at Stanford University gathered individuals to discuss the intersection of social action, higher education, contemplative practices, and civic engagement in a democracy.

  • The summit emphasized the importance of fostering contemplative practices to sustain purposeful engagement in teaching, research, learning, and service in higher education.

  • Key topics discussed included the role of contemplation in social action, the need for integrated contemplative practices in higher education, and the cultivation of responsible citizenship through mindfulness and reflection.

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