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PHL 308- Week 10B: Discussion: African Wisdom and African Contemplative Practice

Sep 12, 2023

Week 10B: Discussion

Each bi-weekly question set is intended to highlight key themes in the learning resources, draw analysis and reflection of connections and divergences among them, encourage dialogue among colleagues, and assess the course and weekly learning ‘outcome:

WLO 2: Discuss and analyze the primary features and themes of African wisdom and African contemplative practice.


Select ONE of the following questions in the threaded discussion below to discuss as your primary DB post. You can also revisit/review these same questions in the Week 108 discussion prompts.

Week 10B: Discussion: African Wisdom and African Contemplative Practice

1. What is the thesis of Harrell’s presentation and article?

 Harrell’s presentation and article talk about the relevance of McMindfulness. The presentation talks about the growing diversity and interrelation of human psychology and contemplative practices at this time. The article states how contemplative practices help us accept the change positively and states the importance of “mindfulness.”

2. What is “McMindfulness?”

The practice of mindfulness meditation, which strives to develop a kind of present-centered, nonjudgmental awareness of one’s changing experience, has its roots in Buddhism. However, despite the fact that mindfulness was originally a countercultural phenomenon that only started to gain traction in the 1960s, both conventional psychology and popular culture have embraced it with gushing enthusiasm in recent years (Pletzer, 2021).

So what exactly is McMindfulness? The practice of mindfulness is being marketed in our commercial culture as a good that can be purchased just like any other good.

3. What are some concerns Harrell has about “McMindfulness” and presentations of mindfulness more generally?

Through the commodification of “McMindfulness” and the colonization practices of CBT (and the alphabet therapies), which separate the “mind” from the complete person, the soul has been removed from meditation in psychology. The phrase “heartfulness” has been proposed, and compassion is being emphasized more (Majied, 2022). On the other hand, fundamental mindfulness techniques acknowledge the link between the heart, soul, and mind. In addition, the majority of recent mindfulness studies in psychology pay little attention to the “SOUL.”

4. Discuss Harrell’s concern for finding and creating culturally relevant and responsive approaches to contemplative practice in diverse communities.

According to Harrell, there is a great deal of variation within each racial or ethnic group due to the various cultures and languages spoken by the populace. Every organization must first comprehend the variation within and across racial/ethnic subgroups in order to ensure that its services are culturally appropriate for the needs of its target audience. His meditational practices primarily focus on social and ethical issues and improve one’s sense of community.

5. In what ways do Chatman’s and Harrell’s articles both echo and differ from one another?

There are certain parallels and distinctions between Chatman’s and Harrell’s writing. They both place a lot of emphasis on the advantages of “contemplative pursuits.” They both discuss how partaking in “contemplative activities” heightens our capacity to understand one another’s perspectives and cooperate in creating more compassionate and just societies. Additionally, they discuss how contemplative practices enable us to acknowledge our privilege and fight oppressive institutions and systems both on and off campus (Majied, 2022). They also concur that contemplative social justice education aids students in overcoming the hurt caused by injustice, undoing the learning of dehumanizing concepts and actions, and developing a more profound capacity to sit with discomfort in order to foster more liberating ways of being with one another.

6. How is Harrell’s conception of soulfulness inherently “applied” to social contexts and justice issues?

Culture is embedded in the situations in which we live and manifests itself via our decisions and actions after becoming part of our beliefs, values, and way of thinking. Demographics (such as race or sexual orientation) or experiences may both inform culture (e.g., occupational culture, 12-step culture). People encounter and assimilate a wide range of cultural elements, which interact in various ways to influence identity. Culture not only connects and organizes people and environments, but it also shows how they interact with one another. It is simpler to identify theories, methodologies, and approaches that increase the effectiveness of practical work in a range of cultural contexts when human experience, behavior, and change are analyzed while taking cultural differences into consideration. “Contemplative practices” enable us to accept them with motivation and optimism.

7. How does Chatman’s work seek to embody “culturally relevant” applications of contemplative practice?

Dr. Chatman is passionate about advancing critical contemplative practices appropriate for different cultures and promoting belonging justice, and liberated learning. She has a keen interest in racial healing meditation techniques. Dr. Chatman promotes wholesome commitments to causes without compromising a person’s sense of self.


Majied, K. (2022). Preface: with Acknowledgments. The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 9(1), 5-9.

Pletzer, J. (2021). The lived experiences of contemplative practices in the lives of social change actors: An analysis with contemplative resistance and transformative change (Doctoral dissertation, Northern Arizona University).

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