Contemplative Practices

      5 Comments on Contemplative Practices

Contemplative practices are in my opinion, one of the most useful practices you can do in order to get a deeper understanding of any idea or school of thought type of rhetoric that you are learning. In my own version of contemporary practicing, I end up trying to connect the dots and attempt to visualize any model in my mind that can incorporate the new information that is being covered in my mind so it stay better in my head. The result of this version of contemporary practice allows me to integrate different models and create inter-disciplinary thoughts about current events which allows me to create solutions to problems that have never been heard of that may work. This is since there are a lot of different schools of thought that have not been merged when they can be relatable beyond using mathematical models in statistics to create regressions or establish causations if there is a possibility of a control group in an experiment.

In my opinion, the most memorable type of contemplative practice done in class was the one where we taste chocolate and try to appreciate the process that it took from being the cocoa bean to becoming the little chocolate bit. It made me incorporate how business functions (mostly supply-chain management methods) and agriculture components that allows me to see the “beauty” of how the world is completely interconnected due to trade and globalism and how a cocoa plant can be processed to be like “sweet heaven”.

5 thoughts on “Contemplative Practices

  1. Han E Eckelberg

    Hi Randy! I agree with you, contemplative practices do allow us to integrate different models from a wide variety of fields. It also allows us to be very critical in how current networks operate, using systemic thinking, we can make connections to the smallest details in our environment, to the greater picture of how our food travels the world. I too enjoyed the cocoa contemplative practice. However, I could not ignore the bitter sweetness I felt in its taste, and in how it is manufactured. Professor Litfin really challenges us to reflect in our current state and I couldn’t help but feel sadness in how chocolate business take advantage of their workers. After watching the class video together in class, I think what shocked us the most was how their workers never tried chocolate before! Their reactions to this very sweet treat made me realize how such a small bar can create such great happiness to its beholder. They are just as much involved in our global chain of trade, and I think the “beauty” you are referring to up above is associated with how close, yet so far away, we are from our source to our consumption. I think for many of us it makes us appreciate the current situation we are in, as students in a university, and how we shouldn’t take that for granted. Contemplative practices are very important in making deeper associations with ourselves to the relationships around us. I am very curious to know more about the connection you made between statistics to contemplative food practices. I find it fascinating how each individual can have different thoughts on the same content. As you said, our thinking expands our understanding of the current model, and I would like to learn even more about your thoughts in making that mathematical model connection. Thank you for sharing your post!

  2. Abner Pagunuran

    Hey Randy,

    I also feel like these contemplative practices are great supplemental materials to learning. Often times, we feel so removed from our learning materials, like scientists looking at lab rats, that it’s nice to have a practice that can really ground the material in reality. I also try my best to visualize during these practices and trace my food back as far as I can get. But, even I get lost in the unknown space between producer and consumer. The problems in our global system almost feel more real that way.

    I’m glad you mentioned appreciating the beauty of where your food comes from with the example of the chocolate. I had the same feeling with the raisin activity given that I knew nothing about where they came from before this class. But, we must also remember that sometimes there isn’t a beautiful history, such as the case with the Doritos ad we saw in class.

    But, while it’s easy to get down in the dumps about food history, it’s always nice to see that there are still people conscious of their food, where it comes from, and even how it behaves. I saw an example of that with a chef in this video I saw recently!

    Skip to 2:00 to see what I’m talking about!

  3. Hanna Youn

    Hi, Randy!

    I like how when you process contemplative practices, you seem to naturally seek to comprehend the grander picture in order to make sense of the pieces of information that are being presented to you. I think a lot of people have to be taught or strongly encouraged to think beyond what is right in front of them, so I appreciate your intentional steps to incorporate multiple models of though especially on topics that are inherently intersectional.

    Your comment about the relationship between “beauty” and trade makes me think about how many other pleasurable and “good” things we enjoy in society that can never really be “good” without major sacrifice. It is interesting to see what society deems as worthy of those kinds of sacrifices.

  4. Karen Litfin

    Hi Randy and all,

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, with all its nuances and slightly different spins alongside a sense of mutual support and curiosity. Thank you!


  5. Joey Parish

    Randy, I agree that contemplative practices are very useful, and are able to put whoever is doing them into a state of mind that helps them better understand the topic they are studying. I think they are often overlooked, but they are so simple and yet so effective in allowing us to learn from a different perspective. I feel like a lot of the time we are so focused in learning through studying and reading and note taking that it’s hard to get different views of the same topic. Contemplative practices give us a chance to take a step back and look at the bigger picture instead of continuously burying our faces into our books or laptops.
    I also agree that the one involving the chocolate was particularly useful, especially because we watched the video beforehand and got to know the workers on the farm. I think along with that, because chocolate is something we are all so accustomed to here in the United States, it was very interesting to see the other side of things, and get to know the farmers. Then, by knowing that they had never experienced chocolate before, even though they worked with cacao, it really opened my eyes to the process that certain foods go through, and how much can go into something so simple.


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