Spiritual Education in the Twenty-First Century: Ethics, Mindfulness, and Skillfulness

A public conversation between Prof. Deborah Orr and Galen Watts

By Rohit Revi

“Action based in wisdom/prajna and compassion/karuna is moral action. Enlightenment is living a moral life based on moral actions.”

On the 7th of March 2018, the Spirituality, Nature and Culture Laboratory organized its fourth public conversation. Dr. Deborah Orr (Associate Professor at York University) spoke with Galen Watts (PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University) about Spirituality, one of the four grounding themes that are central to SNCLab.

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Eight Billion Bodhisattvas

By Joshua Noiseux

Though our lives are beset by misery and suffering, and though we are constantly faced with delusion and ignorance, according to the Buddha we are incredibly lucky to be human. Indeed, being born human requires vastly more luck than winning the lottery. This is exceptionally hard to believe in 2017, but it is a perspective worth considering.

Tradition has it that the Buddha put it this way:

Monks, imagine a limitless ocean in which a turtle, blind in both eyes, swims incessantly in random directions. Only every 100 years does this turtle surface for air, always in a random location. Floating on the surface of this ocean is a golden ring which is carried away in all directions by tides, currents, and winds. Even in an incalculable space of time, how likely would it be for the turtle to rise in such a place as to put his head through the golden ring?

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Watching Contemplative Ecocinema as Engaged Mindfulness Practice

By Zack Walsh

Through this short blog, I would like to introduce you to a group of films that I watch as a part of my spiritual practice. I have been watching these films for over a decade, and find that they are some of the most powerful catalysts for spiritual cultivation, especially in the context of social and ecological transformation. As part of my day job, I regularly ask myself how society can move toward a socially just and sustainable mode of civilization— toward an Ecological Civilization.[i] The power of these films is that they develop certain observational and empathetic qualities that strengthen my personal and professional commitments while enhancing my capacity to respond to planetary suffering. Therefore, I use them as objects of spiritual guidance.

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James Miller

James Miller is Head of Research for SNC-LAB and Director of Queen’s School of Religion. He has over 25 years experience as a China scholar, and is  Professor of Chinese Studies in the School of Religion at Queen’s University, Canada, cross-appointed to the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures He  is one of the West’s leading scholars working at the intersection of Chinese religions, nature and sustainability. Continue reading “James Miller”

Jason Kelly

Jason James Kelly is Head of Education for SNC-LAB. Dr. Kelly is Chair of Graduate Studies at Queen’s School of Religion, where he teaches courses on Religion and Environment, Indigenous Traditions in North America, Mysticism, and Social Ethics. Dr. Kelly’s research interests include spiritual ecology, the psychology of religion, continental philosophy and Indigenous philosophy. He has published work on erotic mysticism, the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) movement and process philosophy. His current research project focuses on the history of cosmic consciousness in relation to spiritual ecology and social justice.

Valerie Michaelson

There are many research questions that call for a consilience between disciplines, which is why I find it exciting to be cross-appointed between the Department of Public Health Sciences and the School of Religion. As a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, my research draws together diverse topics under the wide rubrics of children’s spiritual health. I explore the lived experiences of children, and ask questions about young people find ways to live well, and even to flourish, in a complicated world. Continue reading “Valerie Michaelson”

Sharday Mosurinjohn 

I’m an Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My research and teaching focuses on the contemporary religious situation. My major line of work is about boredom and spirituality. At the moment, I’m writing a book which investigates how the modern concept of boredom as a spiritual crisis functions today, in the late modern “information society.” Other research areas include new religious movements, ritual, religion and/as media, and concepts of nonreligion and secularity. The scholarship of teaching and learning in religious studies is also of great interest to me. I am an Assistant Editor for the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network. I also serve as a Member-at-Large on the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion executive. 

Faculty Website

On Academia.edu 


Golam Rabbani

My name is Golam Rabbani, and I am a PhD student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. I also taught cultural studies theory and literature and worked as a researcher in universities for more than seven years in Bangladesh. I have a variety of research interests including Baul literature and music, ethnomusicology, mysticism and erotic mysticism, cognitive approaches to literature, ecocriticism and ecomusicology, postcolonial theory and literature, American literature, literary and cultural theory, and popular culture. Continue reading “Golam Rabbani”

Matt Sandell

Matt Sandell is Head of Undergraduate Research for SNC-LAB. He is an undergraduate student at Queen’s University pursuing a BAH in Global Development Studies. His research interests are extremely broad, including anarchist theory, critical theory, psychoanalytic theory, spirituality and religion, anti-colonialism, issues of socio-ecological justice, cultural semiotics, and especially any point at which these topics intersect.

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Colin Simonds

Colin Simonds is an MA student at Queen’s University in the Cultural Studies Graduate Program. His undergraduate work at Queen’s University took place in Religious Studies and Global Development Studies. For his graduate work, he seeks to bring together these two disciplines and look at the intersection of contemporary spirituality and environmental ethics.  Continue reading “Colin Simonds”

Zack Walsh

I am a PhD candidate in the Process Studies graduate program at Claremont School of Theology. My work investigates the material and socio-cultural dynamics of transitioning to an Ecological Civilization by integrating cultural theory and social science disciplines within a broad understanding of political economy and religion. Continue reading “Zack Walsh”

Galen Watts

Galen Watts is Head of Graduate Research for SNC-LAB. He is a PhD student in the Cultural Studies Graduate Program at Queen’s University. Although he has a broad and diverse range of academic interests, his work could be classified as convening at the intersection of political philosophy, religious studies and social theory. Continue reading “Galen Watts”