The Value of What I Teach

“Inch your way through dead dreams to another land.”
—“Box of Rain,” Robert Hunter, lyrics; Phil Lesh, music.

As I write this, during an ice storm, we’ve just finished the second week of classes. A few nights ago, my class “Contemplation and Imagination,” a writing and mindfulness meditation workshop for honors students, met.

That night’s exercise:

  1.  Write down a list of three experiences that you regard as defining moments in your life.
  2. Choose one that you are willing to tell to another student in class.
  3. Find a partner and, in about five minutes, tell your story to her.
  4. Listeners should just listen. Don’t respond, either to approve or express sympathy or question. Just listen, attentively, openly.
  5. Switch roles.

The students formed groups of two, exchanged stories, and then returned to the classroom.
The next instructions:

  1. As accurately as you can, write down your partner’s story.
  2. Write it in the first person, as if it were your story. [Read more…]