College for Creative Studies News

 

We were recently featured on the College for Creative Studies’ news and events page in an article titled, Short film explores game-changing CCS sociology course that helps students tap creative potential. We’re honored to be recognized and look forward to future semesters of “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity”.

 

“If you walked into Molly Beauregard’s classroom toward the end of each session, you’d find the room swathed in stillness and calm. You’d see every student sitting face forward, eyes closed, deep in silent meditation. The scene wouldn’t strike you as particularly unusual if this were a wellness room or a yoga class, but it’s not. It may well be, however, the first academic course of its kind at an American college.

For more than 15 years, Beauregard has taught sociology — mostly, and happily, at the College for Creative Studies. But a few years ago she noticed that her students weren’t showing much interest in the material. They seemed not only disengaged and preoccupied but also exhausted. It is a troubling commonplace in U.S. college classrooms.

“I can’t tell you exactly when it happened,” said Beauregard, “but I started to have this awareness that there was a struggle going on with my students, and I wondered why they didn’t seem to like sociology and why it wasn’t resonating. Semester to semester, it felt like it was getting worse. What’s going on here?”

This question formed the basis of what would become, in 2011, an innovative sociology course incorporating transcendental meditation…”

See the full article here.

 

Community is Shared

 

I am a sociologist by training. I love to think about culture, people, interactions, identity issues and patterns. Emile Durkheim, the famous French father of all things sociological, argued that one must treat ‘social facts as things’. These “facts” become the subject of study for sociologists. Further, Durkheim believed that collective phenomenon is not merely reducible to the individual actor. Society, he believed, is more than the sum of its many parts. It is a system formed by the association of individuals that come together to constitute a reality with its own distinctive characteristics. Let me think of an example: how about language? Language pre-exists our birth and it continues after our death. Perhaps some of us will have the honor of inventing some new recognizable slang (LOL, duh), however, most of us will go to our grave influencing language to a very limiting degree.

One of the many things I love about yoga and meditation is the feeling of community shared by the many practitioners of both. I love knowing that yoga long preceded my birth and will continue long after I am gone. I love knowing that practicing meditation will go on and on far into the future for my children and my children’s children. I love being a part of a community with shared values.

Like most sociologists, I believe that individual happiness depends on people finding a sense of meaning outside of themselves and connected to the larger society. Social integration is necessary for the maintenance of the social order. There is something so special about walking into a yoga studio and knowing that for one hour you will share a space with like minded people. There is something so profound about meditating with a friend and feeling the bliss of the shared experience. As any sociologist will confirm, we know ourselves through the mutually shared values, habits, routines and patterns of our culture. Building community at the yoga studio or meditation center sends a great message to the culture at large. It confirms the value of taking care of yourself and reminds you of the many people who hope to build a more peaceful, loving, health conscious society.

Molly Beauregard

Introducing the Cutting Room Floor

A common discussion among filmmakers is the ratio between the total duration of footage created for possible use in a project and that which actually appears in its final cut. This is known as the “shooting ratio”. Truth is, sometimes the best stuff ends up getting cut – random jokes, funny accidents, things that are just too intimate to share with a large audience…

We thought it might be fun to share some “lost” conversations from our transcripts. So, we’ve created a whole new blog category, “Cutting Room Floor”. We hope you love reading them as much as we loathed cutting them from the Tuning the Student Mind film!

The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh

January 2015 Book of the Month

For more than a decade, Ardagh has studied what he believes to be a profound revolution in human consciousness. This shift in awareness is marked by what he calls “translucents” — individuals who have undergone a spiritual awakening deeply enough that it has permanently transformed their relationship to themselves and to reality, while allowing them to remain involved in ordinary life.

The Translucent Revolution tells the story of hundreds of individuals just like you who display characteristics of “translucence”. These individuals continue to quietly work and play at life with more happiness, more satisfaction and increased purpose.

Figuring It Out

When I first read the following quote, it really stuck with me. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else.” I think why this impacted me is because of how relatable it is to the way people’s lives are looked at sometimes: a series of actions or experiences and expectations. Interestingly, through Molly Beauregards Consciousness, Creativity and Identity class and making sense of my own feelings about it, I feel Gandhi might have been wrong.

I have been told for a long time that people are who they are because of the situations they have gone through in their lives. I heard over and over variations of Gandhi’s words. And I believed this too. It made enough sense. I could rationalize certain situations and boil them down to find the answers I was looking for, whether I was analyzing someone else’s actions or my own. I didn’t really look too closely until after I had graduated high school and began to see those experiences from a different vantage point. I had a typical Catholic, stable, loving, and carefree upbringing. If I really was a product of everything I had done up to that point, then why was I still feeling like I didn’t have a strong footing or really know who I was?

I thought in order to figure it out I would be doing the same thing I had always been doing. But looking back on my life didn’t really do anything for me—and still really hasn’t. It turns out, taking all the pieces and trying to put them back together doesn’t really form a whole me. Thinking about the idea of being the “sum of experiences” now, I get a feeling of being a stranger at a funeral. My life would be equivalent to hundreds of photographs pasted to boards, stored in scrapbooks and looped on a powerpoint projected on a wall. This is supposed to provide a summary of life? Yet, a glimpse is all the photos can be. Just as analyzing the snapshots of experiences someone has had in their lives is only a glimpse into what it means to know that person’s true self. Humans are not simply equations: bad experience plus good experience plus confusing experience equals a whole person.

According to C. Mills, many people become falsely conscious of their social positions. They don’t know they are greater than their experiences, and they live their lives thinking that the things they’ve done and seen make up their whole person—even when they might have not had much control over what was going on. People aren’t just reflections of the things they’ve gone through, and shouldn’t be reduced to that. What is bigger than what happens to us in our lifetimes is the connections between those experiences, and the connections we make with people along the way. No matter what you do to figure anyone else out, you can really never know how they’ve made their connections.

This is why I feel that humans have failed to come up with a solid definition of what it means to be conscious, or to have a soul, or to love someone so deeply that you would sacrifice your well being for theirs, even though it isn’t rational. No matter how hard we try, the human experience cannot be boiled down to an equation able to be repeated. I know humans will continue to try to “figure it out”. There is something about cracking a code that is satisfying. But if in the process of solving this equation, you are reducing people to narrow parts, then you are only getting a glimpse into what makes up a whole person. There will ultimately always be something missing from the equation.

Colleen Arce | Interior Design student at the College for Creative Studies
http://www.behance.net/ccarce

 

Becomming the 2014 Auto Show Poster Winner

As a metro Detroiter, I’ve been going to the auto show for some years now. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to illustrate the auto show poster. The theme is celebrating 25 years so I decided to capture something that has been constant with this event all of the years it has been in existence: the logo. I captured the logo as a woman, using the modern colors of the logo to create a piece that wasn’t necessarily about one specific car, but the event as a whole.  I used the techniques I’ve learned from my fashion illustration courses that have shaped my own love for illustrating models and haute couture. With this in mind, I created this piece as a symbol to show the glamour and beauty of the North American Auto Show.

Emily’s Tuning the Student Mind statement:

“I took Conscious, Creativity, and Identity because I read the description and it said we’d be meditating and I said, “Sweet! Basically sleeping, definitely taking that.” I was so wrong. Not only was the course content so completely informative on the topic of sociology, but the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation from a professional practitioner was so amazing. TM completely changed my life and provided me with a deep calmness and confidence I had never experienced. I am a deeply religious person and even my prayer time was strengthened as I felt I could connect on a much stronger level with my Creator because of the descending meditation techniques I was taught. The point is, once you learn and if you allow it, TM can completely transform your life for the better. I dare you to try.”

Emily Daugherty

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Documentaries Trump the Dominant Narrative

The medium of documentary film is young but is rearing its head as the most powerful of all art forms. One could argue that music and books are more potent forces, but does music teach lessons as pointedly and do books reveal life as visually and aurally as a documentary? Not in my mind.

I consider documentary films to be modern history books. I believe they will actually surpass history books in coming generations as the best tool for learning from the successes and follies of our ancestors. Unlike reading a book, documentaries allow viewers to see and hear life (albeit on a screen), thus creating a visceral experience that resonates more deeply. When shot and edited ethically, documentaries offer incredible insight into human beings and events as they are, rather than how an author chooses to present them. And, let’s be honest, how many kids are reading as much as they are watching videos today? (more…)

Cultural Rehab

A healthy man needs to see a doctor after spending time around a group of contagious sick people because he too becomes infected. A clean individual who spends time around a dirty drug scene will eventually start participating and use the drug. If that behavior continues and as a result their quality of life goes down, the best thing they could do is seek help. Individuals in this situation need to learn how to be alright without the addicting drug. There is a type of institution for that. Its called rehab.

The purpose of rehab is to remind you of who you were before you started using. Sometimes I wonder if it is difficult for people to admit addiction because they started down the path so innocently. Initially, they may have even believed that drugs were going to be a good part of their life. Let’s face it; everyone likes likes to experiment and live on the edge from time to time. (more…)

Tetris Game Hijack

I came into the “Consciousness, Creativity and Bliss” class after a long and stressful previous semester. The promise of meditation lured me in as the stacks of boxes full of responsibilities kept getting higher and higher in my mind. Now don’t get me wrong, the boxes don’t just disappear when I meditate. Going to school and working is necessary, at least until I graduate. The problem arises when these boxes aren’t neatly stacked one on top of the other but rather dropped at random like a really cruel game of Tetris. Things inadvertently become misaligned.

Every one of my classes has a box of its own. Every family member, with their unique and crazy respective problems, has a box just for themselves. Every hour I log at work is another, much smaller box, but still a very real box nonetheless. Every freelance project, every friend, every car on the road as I drive — all these boxes are messily stacked inside of my mind. At the very bottom there is a really weathered and beaten box. This frail box contains what is left of me at the end of each day. It holds more than it should and, at the same time, not a lot. (more…)

Recycling Classic Style

I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in Media and Communications and minoring in Business. I go to a unique school in Fairfield, Iowa focusing on integrating the practice of Transcendental Meditation into our daily routine. For the past few years I have lived here, I have modeled for a friend who owned an eBay vintage clothing store. A few months after I started my freshman year of college, she announced she was selling the business and would teach the ropes to whoever bought it. My friend Chamolie and I were immediately inspired by the potential of this project and ended up buying the company in October of 2010.

Owning a start up business in college is a thrilling yet ambitious project to take on. Chamolie and I go vintage shopping and thrifting all over Iowa to gather clothes for our store. We do regular photo shoots where I model and Chamolie photographs, and together we style the vintage pieces with modern items to keep the look in accord with current fashion trends. We both handle customer service, financing, social media, and shipping. All of these tasks can be very fun but also time consuming with student life. This is where meditation, yoga and a healthy diet come in to play and help me stay grounded and rested. (more…)

See the Film