Established in 2020, the Garrison Institute Fellowship embraces the emergent nature of our times. Widespread socio-political discord, an escalating global pandemic, the ongoing environmental crisis, and socioeconomic precarity have created an inflection point fraught with collective anxiety and the potential for new leadership paradigms. In response, an emerging field of organizations and networks are applying contemplative wisdom to catalyze healing and action. The transformative change at the core of their work will benefit from visionary leadership that will invigorate our collective imagination and help us to harness the practical skills needed to navigate our turbulent times.
In concert with our signature initiatives in Contemplative-Based Resilience, Pathways to Planetary Health, and Compassionate Leadership, the Garrison Institute Fellowship is a contemplative-based leadership training program grounded by four core pillars: awareness-based contemplative wisdom, the science of interconnection, generative action, and collective healing. The inaugural cohort of eleven Fellows includes activists, researchers, healers, artists, trauma-informed care practitioners, and contemplative teachers who represent the next generation of diverse leadership in our movement for a more compassionate, resilient future. This initial cohort contributes to the development of a co-created methodology and curriculum that will serve as the foundation for future cohorts.
Directed by Dr. Angel Acosta, the Fellows are participating in a two-year journey modelled on the concept of breathing – moving cyclically between Inhale Sessions and Exhale Sessions. During Inhale Sessions, Fellows draw in wisdom from luminaries in the field, receive in-depth project mentorship, and engage in contemplative practices. Exhale Sessions give Fellows an opportunity to present their work within the cohort followed by innovative public offerings to the broader Garrison Institute community. The Fellows’ public offerings include workshops, conference convenings, and more.
One central goal of the Fellowship is to create an open source digital map of the field of contemplative social action–an emergent field that leverages contemplative-based approaches for societal transformation. Through this co-creative process, the Fellowship will curate and activate a network of scholars, practitioners, and organizations committed to contemplative social action and transformative change.
A key outcome of this process is to amplify the work of this collective network and increase the momentum of how contemplative approaches to social change may support our global community with responding to the wicked problems before. Through their contemplative and compassionate-based leadership, our Fellows will emerge as leaders in the field and enable the Garrison Institute to continue to support the world with promulgating awareness-based contemplative wisdom for system-wide transformation. The core intention with this co-creative process is to curate and activate networks of scholars, practitioners and organizations that can come together during an annual conference to continue to build the field of contemplative social action and amass the necessary resources to amplify the collective work of all involved.
The Garrison Institute Fellowship Forum is a series of conversations with extraordinary leaders with expertise and experience in awareness-based contemplative wisdom, the science of interconnection, generative action, and collective healing. Each conversation is co-facilitated by the Garrison Institute Fellows and Fellowship Director Dr. Angel Acosta. We invite you to participate in an upcoming Forum, or check out our archive of past conversations.
The process of enacting contemplative methods for reflecting deeply on the multitude of ways to cultivate caring and compassion, find insight, and enable courageous action. Awareness-based contemplative wisdom represents the truths that are revealed through individual and group practices that are a result of prolonged moments and periods of concentrated attention, study, reflection, and conversation.
The rigorous and cross-disciplinary study of the interconnected and interdependent nature of all things in order to better understand our collective wellbeing and enhance pathways for personal and planetary health. The science of interconnection represents both the research that reveals and describes the interconnected nature of reality, and the ancient and emerging practices that support communities with embodying mutuality and actualizing interdependence.
The origination, production, and reproduction of possibilities for personal and societal transformation through intentional and actionable steps. Generative action represents the momentum created when working with what is emerging in a given field, and intentionally building programs, institutions, habits, and values that catalyze synergy and regenerative structural change.
The process of recognizing and acknowledging individual and collective harm by providing spaces for restoration, developing practices for the release of trauma, enabling reparations, and continuous truth-telling. Collective healing represents the space and process for bearing witness to the conditions that reproduce individual and collective trauma in the first place, while cultivating tools for regenerative systems.