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Integrative Inquiry Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Integrative Inquiry?
  2. How does Integrative Inquiry Work?
  3. What is the neuroscience behind the Integrative Inquiry?
  4. Why is integrative inquiry needed on campus?
  5. What is the Integrative Inquiry curriculum?
  6. Why was the integrative inquiry curriculum developed?
  7. What are the components of the integrative inquiry course?
  8. Why Would I participate in the integrative inquiry course?
  9. Who are the intended participants?
  10. What are the cognitive outcomes of the integrative inquiry course?
  11. How can student services become a part of this conversation?
  12. How does the integrative inquiry course resolve the problems identified in student learning and development?
  13. Why is this a good time to implement integrative inquiry?
  14. Are you proposing that we bring back visual and performing arts and physical education into PK-12 and higher education?
  15. How can we afford to bring integrative inquiry into higher education?
  16. Do I have to Focus on My Breathing in Order for the Integrative Inquiry Course to "work"?
  17. What is Mindfulness?
  18. What is Therapeutic Mindfulness?
  19. What is Acceptance?
  20. What is empathy?
  21. What is Loving-Kindness?
  22. What is Compassion?
  23. What is Self-Compassion?
  24. How do we combat greed with the integrative inquiry?
  25. Does Compassion have a place among Higher Education Leaders?
  26. How do I know I am practicing focused breathing correctly?
  27. How do we know reducing stress through focused breathing increases the bottom line?
  28. How do I make a choice for peace?
  29. What are the historical roots of Integrative Inquiry?
  30. What would be the best way to present the fundamental assumptions of Integrative Inquiry? 
  31. Why is the facilitation of students’ reflections so important to the Integrative Inquiry process?
  32. Why did the Rushing to Yoga Foundation create Integrative Inquiry course?
  33. Why is Integrative Inquiry in Higher Education?
  34. Is it possible to meditate when you are tired?  Is there a way to push through the exhaustion in order to be able to focus on your breath and bodily sensations?
  35. What if I don’t feel anything in my body when I meditate?  Or after I meditate?
  36. What is emotional intelligence?
  37. What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
  38. What is the reaction and what are people saying about the integrative inquiry curriculum?
What is Integrative Inquiry?

Integrative Inquiry is the process of integrating the knowledge gained from research, course learning, and book learning with the wisdom gained from intuition, sensing, and the mindful experiencing of emotions with the ability to embrace the unknown.  With the ability to integrate multiple sources of information through generative questions and other training methodologies, participants of integrative inquiry are able to manage stress and creatively problem solve while experiencing ambiguity.  This all leads to the promotion of peace and compassion through their conscious-choice making.

How does Integrative Inquiry Work?

how integrative inquiry works

See video explanation.

What is the neuroscience behind the Integrative Inquiry?

Based on researched principles in neuro-psychology, physics, and education (Baijal, Jha, Kiyonaga, Singh, & Srinivasan, 2011; Brand, Laier, Pawlikowski, Markowitsch, 2009; Davidson, Kabat-Zinn, Schumacher, Rosenkranz, Muller, Santorelli, Urbanowski, Harrington, Bonus, and Sheridan, 2003; Hart, 2004; Hart, 2008; Kahneman, & Klein, 2009; Norenzayan, Jun Kim, Smith, & Nisbett, 2002; WR, & Santorelli SF., 1992; Sreenivasan, Sambhara, & Jha,2011; Van Vugt & Jha, 2011; Wadlinger & Isaacowitz, 2011), the 16-32 week curriculum (you can also select specific modules that can be adopted and adapted for you and/or your organization's needs) teaches students self-discipline, self-awareness, self-referral, values clarification, communication skills, conflict resolutions skills, and deep inner inquiry.  Assessment techniques are used to guide individuals through their individual self-love processes as well as to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the curriculum.
See background research on the neuroscience behind integrative inquiry. See video explanation.

Why is integrative inquiry needed on campus?

According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, most employers are not satisfied with the college graduates’ ability to manage their own stress and well-being, pay attention to the details of their jobs, think critically and analytically to resolve problems, and propose creative solutions. From their perspective, college graduates are just not getting the skills they need to be successful. Integrative Inquiry can increase student success.
See video presentation on topic.

Does Compassion have a place among Higher Education Leaders?

We have often heard the re-quoting of Harvard political scientist Richard Neustadt as he stated, "Academic politics is much more vicious than real politics. We think it's because the stakes are so small." (extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre's_law on July 30, 2012). While it is a quote that is often spoken, we have never fully understood that quote or the many para-phrases of it. Perhaps it is because we believe that there is nothing more valuable to a society than its education. The value we place on education, the access to it for all people, as well as the manner in which responsibly educating ourselves can assist us in discovering the solutions to problems we face as a society, means that we can co-creatively construct that which will advance humanity. So, while we don’t think the stakes are small in academia, I will agree hw that its politics appear to be quite vicious. Furthermore, there is nothing like a struggle over scarce resources to bring the viciousness out in even the most endearing person. This quote and the ever growing attention on scarcity has led us to question whether compassion has a role in higher education. We believe it does and would like to share with you why. See more of the article by By Marilee J. Bresciani Ludvik, Ph.D. and Matthew Evrard, MA Graduate Student San Diego State University

What is the Integrative Inquiry curriculum?

The Integrative Inquiry Curriculum was developed by Dr. Marilee Bresciani Ludvik with a great deal of assistance and wisdom from Stanford University's cognitive neuro-scientist Phillipe Goldin, the Search Inside Yourself program that was developed and researched at Google, and teachings from the Chopra Center for Well-Being, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses, as well as teachings from the Baron Baptiste's Power Yoga Institute.  Adding in Marcia Baxter-Magolda's Self-authorship principles via Dr. Emily Marx, the integrative inquiry curriculum is designed to reduce stress, and increase attention, focus, creative thinking, critical thinking, self-inquiry, conscious-choice making and overall well-being. Such outcomes are therefore expected to increase inner peace and self-compassion as well as outward expressions of compassion and creativity within ambiguity which result in the creation of peaceful communities.

Why was the integrative inquiry curriculum developed?

As a college professor at San Diego State University and founder of Rushing to Yoga Foundation, daily I witness the unlimited potential of the students I serve and the factors that keep many of them from even attempting to reach their potential. Disheartened from not being able to reach these students in the limited course offerings available, we decided there had to be a better solution. So, we created a foundation and designed a 16-week training program using the latest research in cognitive neuro-science.  The training program is designed to enhance students’ critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and creativity while reducing stress and improving their overall well-being.  This training program also promotes compassion and peaceful discourse, which are needed in order to create a brighter future.

What are the components of the integrative inquiry course?

  • Focused movement such as Asana (Yoga), Qigong, Tai Chi, or related movement activity
  • Focused breathing such as Mindfulness-based meditation, primordial sound meditation, or practice of silence
  • Creative engagement and expression through music, chanting, art, or theatre
  • Required readings and in-person or on-line lectures
  • Self-Inquiry via journaling
  • One-on-one facilitated/coached reflection
  • Assigned group activities
  • Assigned individual activities
  • Community service

Why Would I participate in the integrative inquiry course?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtBsZjfTcS4

Who are the intended participants?

The curriculum is designed for higher education faculty, staff and administrators, as well as students older than 19-years of age. However, the curriculum can be used by anyone who desires the intended outcomes.  Thus, the team of curriculum designers is able to make modifications in the Curriculum and in the curriculum project designs for specific audiences and their needs.

What are the cognitive outcomes of the integrative inquiry course?

  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Increased attention, emotions, and cognitive regulation
  • Increased self-compassion, and compassion for others
  • Increased resilience (under investigation
  • Increased ethnic identity (under investigation)
  • Increased critical thinking dispositions
  • Increased persistence(confidence in reasoning)
  • Increased persistence(longitudinal study)
  • Increased graduation rates (longitudinal study)

How can student services become a part of this conversation?

Student Services are in a unique position to participating in bringing integrative inquiry to their college or university. See video presentation on topic.

How does the integrative inquiry course resolve the problems identified in student learning and development?

The training program is designed to enhance students’ critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and creativity while reducing stress and improving their overall well-being.  This training program also promotes compassion and peaceful discourse, which are needed in order to create a brighter future.
See video presentation on topic.

Why is this a good time to implement integrative inquiry?

This valuable training is expected to result in graduates who are prepared for what employers need while promoting peace and compassion. With budget cuts widespread, we need to assure that developing these critical skills are not lost. The sooner we get involved in bringing this to campuses, the better.
See video presentation on topic.

Are you proposing that we bring back visual and performing arts and physical education into PK-12 and higher education?

See video response to this question.

How can we afford to bring integrative inquiry into higher education?

See video response to this question.

Do I have to Focus on My Breathing in Order for the Integrative Inquiry Course to "work"?

See video response to this question.

What is Mindfulness?

“Moment-to-moment awareness”
“Knowing what you are experiencing, while you’re experiencing it”

~Guy Armstrong

What is Therapeutic Mindfulness?

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Awareness, of the present moment, with acceptance.”

~Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy

What is Acceptance?

            “Active, nonjudgmental embracing of experience in the here and now”

~Steven Hayes

What is Empathy?

“An accurate understanding of the [another’s] world as seen from the inside. To sense [another person’s] world as if it were your own.”

~ Carl Rogers

What is Loving-Kindness?

            “The wish that all sentient beings may be happy”.

~Dalai Lama

What Exactly is Compassion?

Merriam Webster defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it” (extracted from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion on February 8, 2013). Other scholars have been exploring what compassion might consist of for centuries. Thupten Jinpa, the principal English translator to the Dalai Lama, offers that compassion is actually a mental state that is endowed with a sense of concern focusing on the well being and wishes for that being to be relieved from suffering. Additionally, he suggests that compassion may not even be an emotion rather a complex, multi-faceted process that houses many other emotions such as empathy (Jinpa, 2012).  Steven Porges suggests that compassion may be a manifestation of our biological need to engage and to bond with others and that it is a component of our biological quest for “safety” in proximity of another (Porges, 2012). While there currently is no complete consensus as to what compassion is, there is consistency to the portions of the definition where one a) acknowledges another’s emotional pain, joy and/or suffering, b) seeks to alleviate the pain and or suffering or genuinely share in the other’s joy, and c) expresses a sincere desire and/or action to alleviate the other’s pain, suffering or join in the expression of joy.  Within this consensus definition alone, one can see that the notion of compassion expressed within higher education may reduce the occurrences of vicious politicism while still welcoming disagreement.

 

“The wish that all sentient beings may be free from suffering.”

~Dalai Lama

“Deep awareness of the suffering of oneself and other living beings, coupled with the wish and effort to alleviate it.”

~Paul Gilbert

What is Self-Compassion?

  • Self-kindness vs. self-criticism
  • Common humanity vs. self-isolation
  • Mindfulness vs. emotional entanglement

~Krisin Neff

How do we combat greed with the integrative inquiry?

See video response to this question.

How do I know I am practicing focused breathing correctly?
I offer the following to encourage your practice.  The practice of sitting to focus on one's breathing - no matter how interrupted by thoughts or feelings of anxiety is indeed engaging in the practice.  While we all know well the feeling of satisfaction from what we would label as a good seated practice (often defined as one with very little distraction) or a bad seated practice (often defined as one with a lot of distraction), there truly is no right or wrong practice.  There is simply only the practice - there is simply only to sit and focus on one's breathing even if it is interrupted every millisecond by a thought, emotion, a bodily sensation, or an outside noise.  There is no wrong way to practice focused breathing.  There is only - you practiced or you didn't.  In other words, you sat with an intention to focus on your breathing or you did not sit.  

I share these words in the hopes that you find encouragement in them.  I often have a seated practice where every breath feels interrupted by a thought.  The practice is simply to notice that and then return my attention gently and without judgment to the breath as soon as I noticed that I was thinking.  Furthermore, one of my mentor's mentioned this weekend that often we will notice the content of a thought when we are practicing.  She encouraged me to notice the content of the thought such as this thought is about planning all the work I need to get done by a "certain date" without diving into the story behind the thought such as diving into the planning or the feelings that i may feel overwhelmed by my workload or the anxiety that I wont' get it done on time or do it right or whatever the made up story is that hasn't even occurred and may not occur.  

In other words that practice is ... I am breathing, I notice a thought and then I notice what the thought is about and before I go into whether the thought is good or bad, or allow the thought to sweep me up in something that hasn't even happened yet or may not happen, I simply acknowledge the content of the thought and return to practicing focusing on the breathing.  Yes, sometimes, I notice the thought, acknowledge the content of the thought and then move right into the story that the thought represents without recognizing that - but then there is eventually a recognition that I just lost myself in the story of the thought.  And that it s the practice.  Therefore, that is "success." 

As an aside, I also find choosing the thought that I have plenty of time to get into the story of that thought when I am done with my seated focused breathing practice helpful to returning to the focus on my breath.

The goal is not to become perfect.  There is no goal - there is only to commit to the practice of seated focused breathing.

How do we know reducing stress through focused breathing increases the bottom line?

Companies are integrating meditation, yoga and mindfulness to the workplace -- and it's not only helping employees, it's also helping the bottom line. See

How do I make a choice for peace?

"Basically, imagine you are in a place or state of mind where you are experiencing peace. Now, notice how your body feels when you are at peace.  Take note of every sensation within your body, every feeling and thought when you are experiencing peace.

Now, consider how your body feels when you are not at peace.  Notice every sensation in your body, emotion or feeling and thought that you experience when you are not at peace.

The next time you recognize you have an opportunity to make a choice (keep in mind that we have an opportunity to choose in just about every moment - whether we recognize it or not), notice what sensations arise in your body arise as you consider your choices.  Choose that choice which aligns most with your feelings of peace within your body --- that is choosing peace.

What are the historical roots of Integrative Inquiry?
The founder of the Rushing to Yoga Foundation and the designer of Integrative Inquiry, Marilee J. Bresciani Ludvik, contracted a disease called transverse myelitis.  In less than 4 months, the disease progressed from her feet to just below her breasts causing her to loose control of her mobility, among other things.  Prior to this time, Marilee ran at least 5 miles every day in order to manage her stress. Having lost the ability to manage her stress through running, Marilee desperately sought help. While she lying on her back crying in despair, her friend, Jan Winniford, and her sister, Elizabeth Ludvik, introduced her to focused breathing through the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.  

In addition, Marilee sought consultation from a Chinese medicine man, and began to take natural herbs, engage in intense water physical therapy from an incredible physical therapist – thanks to the angel of a physical therapist Marilee met randomly at the University of Delaware - along with massage, and chiropractic care.  Welcoming all those who said they would pray for her or send her positive energy (she didn’t care what faith or religion – she was welcoming everything), Marilee’s healing began. 

Eighteen months after a change of job and location, Marilee walked willingly (rather than being reluctantly drug by her friend Jan) into her first yoga class.  The practice of yoga (or more accurately described as the practice of asana) led to a deepened interest in meditation. 

With yoga training from Baron Baptiste, meditation training from the Chopra Center for Well-Being, mindfulness classes from the University of California – San Diego, A Course in Miracles facilitation from Drew Decker and Phillip Urso, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute training, and more friends and random encounters with other angels than can be counted, Marilee’s healing journey continues.

Marilee is so excited to report that she has been trekking, meditating, and practicing yoga in the Himalayas in October 2012 with amazing folks, led by Dr. Jeff Salz. And then she had the great joy of tearing her ACL and LCL while skiing down a black diamond run in Mammoth in December 2012.  As of today, April 29, 2013, her reconstruction surgery has been a success and her healing journey continues.  “What a joy to be so mobile that I could tear my ACL on a black diamond run,” she joyfully reports.

With a desire to share what she is learning with her students and colleagues, Marilee began to introduce some of these transformational teachings to her students who were “stressed out completely.”  Some students hated what she introduced and some students loved it.  With a desire to learn more of the science behind many of these practices, Marilee’s friend, Danny Lewin, introduced her to the wisdom of Philipe Goldin, Stanford University cognitive neuroscientist.

Integrative Inquiry was born out of the teachings of A Course in Miracles, Baron Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, the Chopra Center for Well-Being, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Training, Self-Authorship theories, Byron Katie’s work, Lao Tzu Tao, te Ching, Kristen Neff’s self-compassion work, the research of several quantum physicists, Ayurveda teachings, Chinese medicine teachings, and the research of several cognitive neuroscientists.  In a desire to share with others what she is learning, Marilee simply pulled together centuries of wisdom simply in the manner that she is practicing it.  Her intention in doing so is to introduce researched training tools that will aid students in reducing their stress, increasing their overall well-being, and increasing their attention and emotion regulation, and perhaps even increasing their critical thinking dispositions, self-compassion and compassion for others - - all this to contribute to world peace in one person at a time through one conscious choice at a time.

What would be the best way to present the fundamental assumptions of Integrative Inquiry? 
Integrative Inquiry could be applied to any discipline.  Howard Gardner published a book in 1993 that spoke to a theory of multiple intelligences.  In that book, Gardner discussed the many ways that people can come to “know” truth.  With the practices that were presented to Marilee that informed the design of the Integrative Inquiry course, she realized that we are continuing to only privilege one way of knowing – and this one way is the intellect.

With Marilee’s realization, came a deep sense of urgency to awaken herself and those around her to owning that we have created this aspect of privileging. With reduced investment in education and increased importance of tests, we have stripped almost everything that promotes other forms of expression of these multiple intelligences out of our educational system. No wonder it is failing.

So, the fundamental assumption of Integrative Inquiry is that there are multiples ways of knowing.  As such, we must literally change the structure and function of the brain to recognize these multiple ways.  The Integrative Inquiry curriculum is designed to do just that – to invite the student to no longer ignore what he/she is feeling or sensing but to become mindful of that and to integrate it in with the intellectual aspect of education.  In addition, integrative inquiry invites the student to embrace the unknown; to see uncertainty as a welcomed playground for creativity and possibility, rather than a frightening experience of something that cannot be controlled.

Why is the facilitation of students’ reflections so important to the Integrative Inquiry process?

Integrative Inquiry students may or may not have previously engaged in self-inquiry prior to coming to the program.  They may have engaged in a formal practice of self inquiry such as that discussed at this site (http://dailyheal.com/meditation-news/a-6-step-practice-to-self-inquiry/) or just simply engaged in asking questions such as “why, what, how?” - a process that stems from our innate intellectual curiosity (Ofer, 1999).

The Integrative Inquiry curriculum emphasize facilitating the students’ self-inquiry activity because we understand from adult learning theories that facilitation – guiding students through more inquiry into what they have discovered from their self-inquiry processes – will lead to deeper learning and more meaning making  (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson 2011).

Depending on the facilitator: student ratio in the class, we may not necessarily facilitate every student’s self-inquiry experience individually.  We often do the facilitation in a group setting where students volunteer to share what they discovered in their self-inquiry “activity”.  When other students who are simply listening to one student’s self-inquiry experience facilitated – we have observed that the students’ listening discover something about themselves (and they may journal about that discovery later or share more in session because of what they heard from another student’s sharing and facilitation process.)  We believe that this group facilitation process allows students to see themselves in others’ challenges and discoveries. And therefore they learn, even though their specific self-inquiry was not facilitated.4

Why did the Rushing to Yoga Foundation create the Integrative Inquiry course?

See video response to this question.

Why is Integrative Inquiry in Higher Education?

See video response to this question.

Is it possible to meditate when you are tired?  Is there a way to push through the exhaustion in order to be able to focus on your breath and bodily sensations?

Yes, it is possible to meditate when you are tired. However, meditation is about effortlessness.  If you are trying too hard to focus, then you are trying to achieve something versus relaxing into a state of being.  If your body wants to fall asleep during your meditation time, sleep.  When you awaken, invite in another opportunity to meditate. Remember what Meng says, “try easy” and select the number of minutes to meditate that is just short of what feels effortful.  “A quiet mind is not a state of mind to be achieved. It’s the state we experience when there is nothing to be achieved.” – Peter Russell

What if I don’t feel anything in my body when I meditate?  Or after I meditate?

There is no right or wrong to this practice.  Simply observe without judgment what you do and do not feel as it arises in your body.  If you don't feel anything in your body, simply ask yourself what feels true for you in this moment and then silently observe.   More than likely, it is not that you feel "nothing," it may be that you don't feel anything other than what you normally feel.  Just observe. Ask what feels true for you in this moment?  Observe and avoid judgment.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic.

What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a well defined and systematic patient centered educational approach which uses relatively intensive training in mindfulness meditation is the core of a program to teach people how to take better care of themselves and live healthier and more adaptive lives. The prototype program was developed at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. This model has been successfully utilized with appropriate modifications in a number of other medical centers, as well as in non-medical settings such as schools, prisons, athletic training programs, professional programs, and the workplace.
Mindfulness ultimately requires the effective use of the present moment as the core indicator of the appropriateness of particular choices. See more >

What is the reaction and what are people saying about the integrative inquiry curriculum?

Response to the curriculum has been positive. Read some of the comments.


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