Generally a water glass has a pretty simple reason for being—it holds water. However, the glass on my desk also offers a daily reminder. It is engraved with words of Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, that “the arrival of chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.” One way to contemplate that teaching is to observe the array of thoughts, feelings, and motivations to act that arise in us all, often unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient times. From within that practice of observation, the opportunity to be in the world acting skillfully from a place of compassion and wisdom presents itself.
At Naropa, the heart of our mission is to offer the container within which our students, with the guidance of a world-class and deeply caring faculty, can embark on their own journey of discovery, with increasingly open hearts and minds. They graduate with the skills that the world needs and the self-awareness and resilience essential to support long-term service in so many fields from counseling, caregiving, and therapy, to teaching, activism, entrepreneurship, and the creative and expressive arts.
Naropa’s pioneering model of contemplative pedagogy is the ground that defines the student experience. From that foundation, we offer a blend of classroom experience, service learning, and many pathways to support personal development. This magazine offers a taste of the Naropa experience, heard through the voices of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and great friends. In this publication, we are emphasizing the commitment to social justice, diversity and inclusion, and service.
We are working to offer new ways for a wider world to engage Naropa. We remain committed to the power of the in-person experience of our degree programs. But we are also pleased at the increasing low-residency offerings, blending intensive retreat-like experiences with online learning. Today those opportunities include the Authentic Leadership program, an MA in Contemplative Education, an MA in Ecopsychology, and an MFA in Creative Writing. In 2017, we will add an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling.
Please enjoy this magazine. I am grateful for the decades of generous support offered to Naropa and welcome any opportunities to connect further.
CHUCK LIEF PRESIDENT, NAROPA UNIVERSITY