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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 1.2 - BCI + Journal

BCI: Be, Contemplate, Imagine

In order to create a better world, we first need to be able to imagine a better world. We humans are unique in our ability to imagine, yet as adults we rarely take the time to do so. It also seems we spend far too little time engaging in and with nature. A BCI session gives you a chance to relax and reflect in nature, and ponder and imagine what a better world might look like. The actual BCI session only takes 30 minutes, but allow yourself additional time to find and to get to and from your nice spot. You may also want to take time to journal afterwards to capture what emerged for you.

What you need:

You need at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. You’ll need a timer.

You need a nice spot outside in nature where you can be safe, comfortable, and undisturbed for 30 minutes. This can be in your backyard, a park, or the wilderness.

You may want a notebook or paper to use for journaling after your session.

For the first 10 minutes: BE

Close your eyes. Sit in your spot, relaxed, thinking about nothing at all.

Sense where you are and what is around you, but don’t attempt to process that sensory input.

Use all of your senses (except vision), including your sense of gravity, the direction of the sun, the taste of the wind, the rhythm of your heartbeat.

If thoughts pop into your head, imagine setting them aside for later.

THIS IS EXTREMELY CHALLENGING FOR MOST PEOPLE. You will likely be tempted to check your watch in 1 or 2 minutes. Try to avoid doing this and trust your timer.

For the second 10 minutes: CONTEMPLATE

Open your eyes. Continue to sit there, relaxed, noticing what is around you.

Keep using all of your senses to notice where you are and what is around you.

Notice how things work so beautifully in nature — the interactions, dynamics, processes, and systems

Contemplate your topic, if you have one. Allow the topic to wander around your mind without any analysis. Wonder how the topic might exist in nature.

For the last 10 minutes: IMAGINE

Continue to sit there, sensing and noticing.

Imagine how nature might consider or address your topic.

Imagine how you might consider or address your topic, given what you are experiencing and learning in and from nature.


Imagine yourself Leading for Regenerative Sustainability, in some capacity of your choosing. In your journal, write about what that might be like for you, if you knew you couldn’t fail. You can use the questions below as prompts, if helpful.

  • What work would you do in the world, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

  • What kind of world would you create, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

  • What kind of leader would you be, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

  • What kind of an organization would you create, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

  • What kind of questions would you ask as a leader, if you knew you couldn’t fail?


Hypothetical questions around “what if” are generally hard for me. I’ve been told “don’t do this” so many times, it’s hard to think about hypothetical scenarios because they remind me of those scoldings. I would see a vision for a future and get very energized by its possibility and coworkers and supervisors would tell me to “get back in my lane.” For the past year I’ve been fortunate to work on a sound-healing opera that combines several emerging scientific understandings around the role of Arts and Health. Earlier this week Your Brain on Art, a book by Susan Magasamen and Ivy Ross, was released and I attended an event with the authors at the Baltimore Museum of Art in which they discussed their work and some of the scientific studies demonstrating the role of the arts in supporting positive health outcomes for people of all ages. This book underpins many of the foundational elements of the sound-healing opera I’m working on and has shown me that the work I would do in the world if I knew I couldn’t fail is to create a world-wide network of artists, scientists, and citizens to create affordable and free public performances that would allow anyone to attend and participate in art making in ways that inspire, heal, and transform them.

I’m generally not one to talk in extremes or use emotionally manipulative tactics for several reasons. But as I’ve been considering this question of the role of the arts in health, I can say without being hyperbolic that the arts saved my life. The number of times a song, a piece of music, or a music-making experience has helped me work through a difficult situation, helped me to process tragedy, or lifted me up when I needed it most, are too countless to name. I’ve often said that my personal motivation for working in classical music is rooted in the conviction that if even one person is inspired by the musical performances I help present, all of that effort is worthwhile. When I think about how I was raised, and the role classical music played in giving me an outlet to experience incredible beauty, and then see children at our concerts bouncing up and down in excitement while the music is being performed, it brings me incredible joy and contentment. If I could lead any effort, it would be to share that experience with as many people as possible and tell them “Do that.” Whatever it is that is good, true, and beautiful that makes children bounce up and down and experience that feeling of elation without filtering themselves or feeling held back, that sense of wonder, awe, and beauty is powerful and waters very real foundational seeds within a person’s interior that will end up supporting and sustaining them throughout their lives. There are so many elements of life today that can create cognitive dissonance. The arts give us an outlet to slow down and unravel the dissonance and find hope and new possibilities for a better future.

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