Humanizing Science and Technology through Bioenergetics and Embodied Learning

By Charles Paul Beaupre.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The emerging scientific discipline of bioenergetics—the study of energy flow through living systems—can serve as a useful framework to facilitate certain learning experiences that go beyond the mere acquisition of factual information. Featuring a holistic learning approach that converges on the intricate body-mind-spirit connection, embodied pedagogy promotes a transformative dimension to learning, mainly by engaging the learner in meaningful ways that bring about fundamental changes in perspective. Bioenergetics, as experienced through embodied/transformative learning paradigms, represents a whole new cosmology for the individual; one that transcends conventional ideas of learning as delimited by a traditional (Western) intellectual outlook. The literature on bioenergetics from an Asian perspective usually covers realms of consciousness development involving deep introspection, contemplation, and reflection, often encapsulated in a form of meditation. Over these past decades attempts have been made to link Western science, more specifically the principles of quantum physics, to traditional Asian concepts on bioenergetics. Rigorous research in the field of quantum mechanics has yielded evidence that strengthens the connection between the physics of energy at the sub-atomic level and the fundamental understanding of energy flow according to ancient Asian philosophical/mystical concepts of subtle energy, often referred to as ‘Prana’ or ‘Qi.’ This paper shares useful information on ‘embodied knowledge,’ its importance in the interpretation of the effects of subtle energies, particularly in terms their transformative capacities. Finally, it provides information on one form of transformative energy practice, Jiankang Qigong, which is conducive to promote vigor, health, enhanced mental activity and consciousness development in a way that humanizes the science of subtle energy and the technology being developed to try to measure its presence in humans. Examples are provided on how bioenergetics and embodied pedagogy are being integrated into various educational settings.

Keywords: Bioenergetics, Embodied Learning, Transformative Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp.249-262. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 817.441KB).

Dr. Charles Paul Beaupre

Professor, Asian Studies/Centre for Spirituality and the Workplace, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Beaupre has been a faculty member at Saint Mary’s University since 1994. He teaches primarily in the Asian Studies Program. For many years Dr. Beaupre has been investigating the subtle interrelationship of body, mind and spirit. He has pursued this line of study in many East Asian settings, focusing on subtle energy enhancement, mainly through qigong. He has presented his findings at international academic conferences, and has conducted workshops and seminars on issues of health, wellness, and positive energy throughout North America. He is presently promoting two specific forms of wellness/spiritual development known as Jiankang Qigong and Taiji Qigong. His main area of research activity relates to cross-cultural educational psychology; he has been mainly interested in comparative (East-West) studies of learning/teaching approaches, as well as curricula and pedagogical activities informed by transformative learning. He has conducted research in all kinds of Asian educational settings, with a particular interest in those that feature holistic approaches to learning. His on-site ethnographic research has converged on education systems in East Asian countries that still attach importance to notions of learning based on ancient concepts of personal development, accentuating a body/mind/spirit connection.


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