Transformative Learning and Bioenergetics

By Charles Paul Beaupre.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Transformative learning refers to a learning process that goes beyond the mere acquisition of factual information and focuses on the transformation of the learner in some meaningful way through fundamental changes in perspective. Transformative learning represents a whole new cosmology for the individual; one that transcends learning paradigms delimited by traditional (Western) intellectual perspectives. The literature on transformative learning from an Asian perspective usually covers realms of knowledge acquisition involving deep introspection, contemplation, and reflection – most often approached as a form of meditation. Over the past decades attempts have been made to link Western science, in the form of bioenergetics, to traditional Asian practices that facilitate transformative experiences. Rigorous research in the field bioenergetics has yielded evidence that strengthens the connection between the physics of energy and Asian philosophical/mystical concepts of subtle energy, often referred as ‘Prana’ or ‘Qi’. The strong link between bioenergetics and the effects of subtle energy on the human developmental experience can be approached as a form of transformative learning, featuring heightened consciousness and enhanced mental processes. This paper shares useful information on ‘embodied knowledge’ as one form of transformative learning, and its importance in the interpretation of the effects of subtle energies. Finally, it introduces one form of transformative energy practice, called Taiji Qigong, which is featured as a practical daily approach to promote vigor, health, intuitive thinking and spiritual development in a university setting.

Keywords: Transformative Learning, Bioenergetics, Embodied Learning

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.25-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.007MB).

Dr. Charles Paul Beaupre

Professor, Asian Studies, 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 Asia 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 various 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.