Transforming the Journey:
Mentoring Lives Through Magic and Myth

Mentoring Environments

Habits of Mind

Mentoring environments also "invite genuine dialogue, strengthen critical thought, encourage connective-holistic awareness, and develop the contemplative mind."31 Thinking about my own context, if graduate education is about anything, it is most expressly about these habits of mind. Critique, connective thinking, and contemplation form the core of program courses and assignments. Dialogue between faculty and students, and among peers, is at the heart of the matter in setting in motion the processes of meaning making that underlie the journey. "When one speaks," Parks observes, "and then is heard--but not quite, and therefore tries to speak yet more clearly--and then listens to the other--and understands, but not quite, and listens again-- one becomes actively engaged in sorting out what is true and dependable within oneself and about one's world. How one makes meaning is composed and re-composed in this process."32

But skills of analysis and critique are only the beginnings. Equally important is "the capacity to discover fitting connections among things, to recognize how the vast tissue of life is dynamically and interdependently composed."33 It is out of these moments that "mentoring environments . . . welcome and encourage grappling with ways of seeing the whole of life.34 Then, as insights occur, mentoring environments initiate individuals "into the power of pause"35 or contemplatio, that is, the opportunity to be in the silent in the presence of what one has come to construct (if only temporarily) in regard to ultimate questions and purposes. This calls for regular times of quiet alertness to what transpires.

Such habits of mind help assure the kind of community environment that supports the deep inner core of the journey, that is, the Dream.

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31Parks 142. return

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35Parks 145. return

© 2003 by The American Benedictine Academy / www.osb.org/aba/