Monday, January 2, 2017

Small steps towards building mindful schools & communities

The 7 day mindfulness camp held at Chokyi Gyatso Institute Dewathang ended on 26th December, 2016. Its content included meditation, mindful offering of butter lamps, selection of local agriculture produced, waste minimization, cooking, eating & walking, karma yoga (work as practice) & sharing of experiences. SJI as mindful choices, universal human values as a skilful means (by Director, JNEC) & contemplative education (by Dr. Yang Gyeltshen, LME lead teacher) as being integral to mindful teaching-learning were also presented at the camp. Post camp school activities & experiences were shared by the participants of the 2nd camp. The participants proposed about 25 activities, which could possibly be implemented in schools. A platform for continued dialogue among participants, participants-SJI-CGI, etc. has been created.
The camp was resourced by Yangsid Drubgyud Tenzin. There were 43 camp attendees: 22 teachers, 9 lopens from CGI, 3 civil servants, 3 youth from Menchari village (GNH model village) & 6 from SJI. The camp is integral to SJI's education program (LME) conducted annually, primarily targeted for educators. Three camps have been conducted till date with over 100 attendees.
Alongside the camp, SJI focused on waste minimization and served only locally available produce. The 7 day camp produced only few plastic wastes like the wrappers of salt, sugar and atta flour. Compiling with mindfulness practice, the only waste generated in the kitchen of the mindfulness camp was 5 salt packets, 2 sugar packets and 4 packets of atta flour. In other words, only 11 plastics in 7 days. Even if we measure it will come around 150 gram only. If it was not prepared mindfully it would have produced tons of waste in a week which is against the philosophy of SJI and of course against GNH. The meals were all organic and nutritious.

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