The Embodied Mind. UC Berkeley lecture by Dr. Amelia Barili (2012)
It was long believed that the connections in our brain became fixed with age. Recent research shows that new experiences can change our brain, supporting learning and optimal mental health well into our 90s. To keep the mind thriving, we must actively seek out new experiences and learn ways to align our brain and heart, our attention and intention. In this UC Berkeley lecture, hear how a UCB professor is teaching embodied consciousness by applying cutting-edge research on neuroplasticity to courses for students of all ages. Those courses are based on an innovative pedagogy that includes transformative service learning opportunities, engaged scholarship, and contemplative practices.
Undergraduate students and older adults in these courses put to test the Cognitive Science concept that their mind is not a noun (the mind) but a verb (minding). They explore through practical labs of daily observation and inquiry into their own life, the concept of embodied mind. Embodied mind means that the mind is not an entity to be cultivated by adding more information, but that the mind is rather a living process of learning to be cultivated by focusing attention and intention, by strong resonance and alignment of the neuro-transmitors in the brain and the heart. To assist students in cultivate that alignment brain and heart, attention and intention, Barili creates courses in which her students use what they are learning in the classroom and transfer that knowledge and skills to real life situations, by volunteering at local NGOs to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
In addition to being a senior lecturer that strongly supports Service Learningin the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley, Barili has been teaching about the connections between the body and mind since 1972. She brings meditative and energy practices into the academic environment to help students tap into their full mental and emotional potential, and to get to know themselves and other more deeply.