by Global Good News staff writer
23 December 2009
In a talk to participants in a Maharishi University of Management visitors' weekend, and replayed on the campus radio station, KHOE, Dr Fred Travis, Director of the university’s Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, spoke about the benefits of Consciousness-Based Education (CBE) for the student. Dr Fred Travis has published over 40 research papers on consciousness and brain development. He teaches one of the first year courses at MUM, 'Physiology is Consciousness'.
First Dr Travis explained that the current educational experience is fact-based education. Fact-based education focuses on covering material. The teacher gives a lecture; students read the chapter overnight; they do the study questions, and then every Friday there's a quiz.
‘Fact-based education misses something very important in the learning process and that is you, the student,’ Dr Travis said. ‘Fact-based education doesn't care if you're awake, if you're asleep, if you're anxious, if you're worried, if you're tired.’
He then explained that Consciousness-Based Education starts with the student, the knower. Consciousness-Based Education first enlivens the knower and then connects the knower with the known.
Consciousness-Based Education starts by enlivening the full range of the student's mind by incorporating a meditation technique—Transcendental Meditation—which enlivens the full range of the mind.
‘What's going on in your brain during TM practice?’ Dr Travis said. ‘During Transcendental Meditation practice there's more activity in the front and in the back of the brain,’ he explained. ‘This is the attentional system; you're just more alert, more awake.
At the centre of the brain, the thalamus—the gateway that controls what comes up to the brain—becomes more quiet. This is called restful alertness.’ Transcendental Meditation promotes holistic brain functioning and expansion of mental capabilities.
Dr Travis explained that during Transcendental Meditation ‘you gain or you exercise the ability to be alert, receptive. Transcendental Meditation practice is how Consciousness-Based Education develops the knower. It develops your consciousness, your ability to learn, your ability to see the big picture.’
He said that 90% of the information learnt in college will probably be obsolete in five to ten years. ‘But developing your inner awareness lasts a lifetime,’ he emphasized.
Consciousness-Based Education develops the knower by emphasizing a balanced routine of rest and activity. ‘You are not encouraged to stay up late to do homework,’ Dr Travis added, ‘because we want you to be alert and awake in class—that's where real learning takes place.
‘Another way we develop the knower is that we feed you organic food on campus. You may have heard the old saying "You are what you eat." We don’t want greasy, limp French fries in class! We want alert, vital students. So food is very important.’
Dr Travis said that the process of gaining knowledge is also considered. All the courses are taught on the ‘block system’ —one course is taken at a time. ‘You don’t need to balance five competing courses,’ he said, ‘but rather you can focus on one single course. You can think very deeply about that one course and how it relates to all other courses.’
Finally on the level of the known, Dr Travis said that Consciousness-Based Education begins with an integrated course, the Science of Creative Intelligence*. This is the first course students take at Maharishi University of Management.
The Science of Creative Intelligence provides a unified framework for human knowledge, he said. ‘In other sciences you study a specific expression of knowledge, be it physics, physiology, psychology. The Science of Creative Intelligence allows you to study the most fundamental level of intelligence from which all the streams of knowledge emerge.’
Dr Travis explained that learning a course in the light of the Science of Creative Intelligence ‘means that you have an integrated foundation to guide your thinking, your learning, your questions. It allows you to integrate, to connect and unify all streams of knowledge—computer science, arts, math, education, sustainable living.
‘These can all be seen as part of an integrated whole, and this is Consciousness-Based Education,’ he concluded.
* The Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) is a new science, founded by Maharishi in 1970 to meet the need for a unified framework for studying any field. While other sciences study the physical, chemical, or biological fields of nature’s intelligence, the Science of Creative Intelligence studies the structure of pure intelligence, and examines how the creative intelligence displayed in every grain of creation arises in a systematic and sequential fashion from within that one basic universal field. It further examines how that universal field of intelligence can be accessed and fully utilized by humanity to enrich and bring fulfillment to life on earth.
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