This dissertation is a heuristic, contemplative and artistic inquiry into the existential core of the author as human and as educator. The author, in examining his dreams and his past, discovers symbols and experiences that call him to know his suffering, restore access to his existential core, and be more fully present as an educator. In surveying the state of contemporary education and his experience growing up, a number of problematic schisms dividing mind, heart and body are identified as obstacles to our deepest potential as human beings. A rationale and various illustrations of embodied inner work that draw from Eastern philosophy and practice as well as Western psychology are put forth as valuable for the educator interested in accessing their deepest potential for ethical action in the classroom. Over the course of an apprenticeship with a neigong and taijiquan teacher, membership in a contemplative inquiry group, and in following the detours and contours of daily life, the case is made that any artistic practice can become a total way of being that engages the existential core. The concept and practice of various embodied inner work practices and skills are offered as a framework for the integration of mind and body, conflict transformation, and I-Thou encounters in the classroom. The author concludes with reflections on classrooms as sacred and empty spaces, the challenges of contemporary life, and the dramatic changes that come with being a new father.
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Thesis advisor: Bai, Heesoon
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