Embodied Experiential Learning

Cultivating Inner Peace in Higher Education


  • Vivianna Rodriguez Carreon University of Sydney
  • Penny Vozniak University of Sydney




Embody, experiential learning, peace of mind, experiment, Indigenous wisdom, social arts, higher education, phenomenology


This paper presents a craft in experiential teaching and an experiment in embodied learning for peacebuilders and change-makers. The theories, practices and experiments are part of the postgraduate course in Peace of Mind. The intention is to invite the reader to see experiential learning and awareness-based practices as a tool that enables a possibility to evolve our humanness. Interdisciplinary abstract methodologies from Indigenous and phenomenological philosophies support the argument that granular and qualitative knowledge emerges through the embodiment of human expression. It addresses the concept of fragmentation of the self, the importance to pause to give voice to knowledge that words cannot convey. Through the arts, the paper shows non-linear forms of communication with visual experiments. The purpose of this collaborative work is in the craft, in the process, and beyond the authorship.


Aikenhead, G., & Mitchell, H. (2011). Bridging cultures: Indigenous and scientific ways of knowing nature. Pearson Canada Inc.

Angel, S., Good, J. & Ardagh, C. (Directors) (2011). Animate earth [Film]. IMDbPro. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2149700/

Atkinson, J. (2002). Trauma trails, recreating song lines: the transgenerational effects of trauma in indigenous Australia. Spinifex Press.

Bateson, G. (1979). Mind and nature: A necessary unity. Dutton.

Campbell, R. (2014). Post it notes analogy for effects of trauma on memory [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnRpoGSOkZs

Chacon, G. E. (2020). Material culture, Indigeneity, and temporality: The textile as a legal subject. Textual Cultures, 13(2), 49–69.

Collyns, D. (2019, October 27). Student in Peru makes history by writing thesis in the Incas’ language. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/27/peru-student-roxana-quispe-collantes-thesis-inca-language-quechua

Einstein, A. (1950, February 12). Letter to Rabbi, Robert S. Marcus. The Library. https://www.organism.earth/library/document/letter-to-dr-robert-marcus

Goodchild, M. (2021). Relational systems thinking: That’s how change is going to come, from our Earth Mother. Journal of Awareness Based Systems Change, 1(1), 75–103. https://doi.org/10.47061/jabsc.v1i1.577

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, Inc., 14(3), 575–599. https://doi.org/10.2307/3178066

Harding, S. (2017). Encountering another being [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3hQrac_oFM

Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence - From domestic abuse to political terror. Basic Books.

Hübl, T. (2020). Healing collective trauma: A process for integrating our intergenerational and cultural wounds. Sounds True.

Ihde, D. (1979). The Experience of Technology: Human-Machine Relations. Technics and Praxis. (pp. 3-15). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-9900-8_1

James, W. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9(34), 188–205. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/2246769.

Kelly, L. (2016). The memory code: Unlocking the secrets of the lives of the ancients and the power of the mind. Atlantic Books London.

Krishnamurti, J. (1969). Freedom from the known. Harper One.

Krishnamurti, J. (1979, July 12). Is there security psychologically? [Video]. https://jkrishnamurti.org/content/there-security-all- psychologically

Krishnamurti, J. (1980). Audio | J. Krishnamurti & David Bohm - The Ending of Time - Conversation 1 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqYCFRzqNoA

Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of horror: An essay on abjection. Columbia University Press.

Lederach, J. P. (2005). On simplicity and complexity: Finding the essence of peacebuilding (pp. 31-40). The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford University Press.

Mate, G. (2021). The Wisdom of trauma - Expert speaker series. Attended Online: June 8-14: https://app.ce-go.com/the-wisdom-of-trauma/speakers

Maturana H., & Varela F. (1987). The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. Shambhala Publications.

Menakem, R. (2017). My grandmother’s hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. Penguin.

Merleau-Ponty M. (2014). Phenomenology of perception. Routledge.

Mueller, M. (2017). Being salmon, being human: Encountering the wild in us and in the world. Chelsea Green.

Nummenmaa, L., Glerean, E., Hari, R., Hietanen, J.K. (2014). Bodily maps of emotions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(2), 646–651. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1321664111

Perez-Barron, G. (2021). S04 Examining the root cause of addiction in Indigenous communities. The wisdom of trauma - Expert speaker series: Conversation with Gabor Mate, Pat McCabe, Daniel Ryno Herrer. Attended Online: June 8-14: https://app.ce-go.com/the-wisdom-of-trauma/speakers

Porges S. (2017). The pocket guide to the polyvagal theory: The transformative power of feeling safe. Norton and Company.

Rodriguez Carreon, V. & Carrillo, B. (2021). Embedding Theory U and awareness-based practices within higher education. In O. Gunnlaugson & W. Brendel (Eds.), Advances in presencing, volume 3 (pp 121–143). Trifoss Business Press.

Scharmer, C. O. (2015). Otto Scharmer on the four levels of listening [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLfXpRkVZaI&t=414s

Scharmer, C. O. (2016). Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Scharmer, C. O. (2018). The essentials of Theory U: Core principles and applications. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Seegert, N. (2014). Dirty pretty trash: Confronting perceptions through the aesthetics of the abject. Journal of Ecocriticism, 6(1), 1–12.

Senge, P., Scharmer, O., Jaworski, J. & Flowers, B. S. (2004). Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future. Crown Business.

Ungunmerr, M. R. Elder (1988). Dadirri: Inner deep listening and quiet still awareness. Miriam Rose Foundation. https://www.miriamrosefoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Dadirri_Handout.pdf

Ungunmerr, M. R. Elder (2017a). Dadirri. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tow2tR_ezL8

Ungunmerr, M. R. Elder (2017b). The art of meditation and Dadirri talk. Sydney, July 7.

Van der Kolk (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Viking Penguin.

Varela, F. J., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1993). The embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. MIT Press.

Weber, A (2016). The biology of wonder: Aliveness, feeling, and the metamorphosis of science. New Society.

Yunkaporta, T. (2019). Sand talk: How indigenous thinking can save the world. Text Publishing.



How to Cite

Rodriguez Carreon, V., & Vozniak, P. (2021). Embodied Experiential Learning: Cultivating Inner Peace in Higher Education. Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change, 1(2), 31–50. https://doi.org/10.47061/jabsc.v1i2.1179



Original Articles (Peer-Reviewed)