Adolescents growing up in the 21st century are faced with an unprecedented amount of global challenges involving environmental degradation, social injustice, economic distress, and political corruption. These challenges are further compounded by school, extracurricular, and social pressures that have created a society of stressed out teens, who are now susceptible to a wide array of mental disorders that hinder their human capacity to learn, thrive, and constructively engage with the world. It is now estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that 20% of 13-18 year olds either currently or in the past have experienced a severe debilitating mental disorder. Unfortunately in an attempt to cope, young people often turn to drugs, alcohol, violence, and other destructive behaviors that exacerbate the experience of distress and dissatisfaction.
To address these issues and to promote a nurturing environment for learning, the Clear Mind and Caring Heart Project offers a sequential middle school and high school contemplative methodology for cultivating the heart and mind in ways that impart relaxation, focus, inner resiliency, inner-contentment, kindness, compassion, and understanding of self and others. The aim of this project is to engage students in a six year daily practice regimen spanning from 6th to 12th grade.