Psychology is the science of behaviour and cognitive processes. “Behaviour” encompasses all observable actions or reactions of living organisms that can be measured. “Cognitive processes” embrace every aspect of the working mind – thoughts, memories, mental images, reasoning, decision making and so on.
Progressive expansion of the Self is the central construct of Indian Psychology – an approach to Psychology based on ideas and practices embedded in ancient texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Yoga Sutras – developed over thousands of years within the Indian subcontinent. One of its significant tenets direct us to the “Panchkosha,” that is the five sheaths covering the gross, subtle and astral bodies of the individual Self – annamaya kosha (body cell), pranamaya kosha (life cell), manomaya kosha (mind cell), vigyanmaya kosha (knowledge cell) and anandmaya kosha (bliss cell). And that Panchkosha embodies treasures of the human Self – attainment of which can remove deficiencies, complexities, stresses, worries, sufferings and agonies. The Chakras or meta-physical centers of energy in the body influencing the mind and human behavior is yet another very important consideration in Indian Psychology. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali delineate the five modulations of the human Mind with Yoga being the act of freeing the mind from the its clutches. This is a remarkable and unparalleled contribution to the science of behaviour.
“Contemplative inquiry” is a first person understanding of various cognitive and subtle dynamics that govern human behaviour. Such inquiry requires rigorous grounding in the epistemology and ontology of the system, since theories of mind and views of reality are intimately connected with how contemplative practices are structured, their relation to doctrines and expected outcomes for the practitioner. Therefore, Contemplative inquiry is set against a myriad of frameworks – traditions, texts, purposes, art, ritual, philosophy and embodied practices.
Further, “Contemplative Behaviour Studies” grounds itself on an inter and transdisciplinary approach, amalgamating principles from fields such as psychology, neurosciences, cross-cultural studies, Yoga, Vedanta, spirituality, theology, musicology, psychiatry, astrology, visual and creative arts, performing arts, current conversations with modern science – with an interest as to how these reveal, conceal, guide or otherwise engage the scholar’s contemplative potential.
“Contemplative Behaviour Studies does not limit itself alone to what one thinks. Instead, it reflects what thinking itself is. This in turn invites a meta inquiry into how we come to an intelligent understanding of our own experiences and what kinds of development, training, and intelligence is intended in these practices – oriented to subjective expansion, awareness and stillness.”
A cutting– edge discipline, having real world implications, “Psychology and Contemplative Studies” is an emerging articulation of a comprehensive approach to understand, explore and transform human psyche and behaviour with a focus on a reflective involvement with inner life and external engagements.
Though the action of looking into and interrogating the nature of the mind as it operates in broad and nuanced contexts of neuro-biology, existential considerations, theories of development and object relations is the mainstay of Psychology and Contemplative Studies, there is also a subtle emerging attempt to grasp the inherently psychological nature of the universe in terms of the relationship between the individual mind and the laws of cause and effect (karma).
Recent studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices – a part of Contemplative inquiry can alter brain structure, improve attention and focus, enhance athletic and artistic performance, decrease anxiety and depression and strengthen self-regulation and resilience.
“Psychology and Contemplative Studies” as a field of specialisation is being seen as an approach to incorporate insights and pedagogical approaches to holistically understand human development and provide insights to deal effectively with various issues in a way that promotes one’s well-being and mental health.
Vivechana ~ The Counselling Space
Catering to psychometric assessments and various indigenous forms of therapeutic inter-ventions,‘Vivechana’ will provide our students in-depth experiential opportunities to learn as well as administer psychological tools of evaluation and measurement over and apart to practicing counselling skills amidst real life situations.
- D.Phil, Allahabad University
- MA (Psychology), Allahabad University
- BA (Psychology), Allahabad University
– Visiting scholar under exchange of Scholars Scheme was awarded under Indo Dutch Programme on Alternatives and Development, Rhodes University, South Africa, 2006
– Post-Doctoral Fellowship awarded under the Indo Dutch program on Alternatives and Development, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 1999.
– Short- term Netherlands Government Fellowship for refresher course in Philippines 1999.
– Netherlands Government Fellowship, 1992…and many more
Dr. Ashok K Shivastava
Dr. Nilamadhab Kar
Prof. Manas Kumar Mandal
Prof. Girishwar Mishra
Prof. Anand Paranjpe
Prof. Rekha Singhal
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