Véronique Tomaszewski – May 2017


Professors Ioan Davies, Louise Rockman and Raymond Morris encouraged me to continue to teach after I graduated with a PhD in Social and Political Thought and had been their assistant from 1995 to 2000. I have been teaching at Glendon College the bilingual campus of York University as full-time contract faculty since, at the intersection between sociology of culture and social psychology. Teaching up to four courses in two languages kept me away from the research and writing I had envisioned, but I realized the incredible opportunity to treat the classroom as a phenomenological situation and to witness Mind in a social setting. This awareness turned the precarious condition of being an adjunct into a laboratory in human consciousness through participative observation. I had no idea how far and rewarding this journey would be.

In parallel, to deepen my spiritual life, I have been meditating, studying Buddhist philosophy and practicing yoga, as well as train the art critic in me in the Way of Shambhala to contemplate flower arrangements, body movement, calligraphy, photography, and visual arts. The simultaneous cohabitation in my being of both the rational approach to sociology and mindfulness forced me to progressively introduce Mindfulness exercises and shape my holistic sociology. I carefully embodied this experiential approach year after year through field trips, in-class presentations and re-enactment of rituals and other cultural and creative dimensions of social life, in the classroom and in nature around the beautiful campus of Glendon nested along a ravine and the Don River, to the delight of Aboriginal students reconnecting to nature.

Motivated by the Zen saying, “Knowing without direct experience is an illusion” my novel approach to sociology allows undergraduate students to gain a deeper awareness of social issues, religious beliefs or power struggles, through the senses. Moment-by-moment, students consciously dissolve the dichotomy between us as social actors and us as sentient beings. In class we breath deeply, feel what arises, and observe how mind mediates through words. We laugh, we sing, we dance, we cry. We eat and drink. We even burn incense, act and dress up depending on the topic. We improvise sometimes. We always read, listen and discuss. We host memorable guest speakers too.

My teacher’s mission is to educate with all my heart for compassion to enlighten wisdom. Clarity coming out of embodied experience then pierces through the fog of ideologies and dissolves them. Students establish a strong and reflexive connection to their authentic selves. I am the role model who sets up a realistic environment for equanimity, passion, love and awe to be articulated; while maintaining the discipline and method of a university course with rubrics, grades and evaluations.

I sat on the board of a Buddhist College with Jack (John) Miller from OISE in the early 2000s; and even registered my son and my daughter at the first holistic alternative public school he had helped develop, the Whole Child School in Toronto. Emboldened by bell hooks, inspired by Robert Hattam at UNISA, I too open to the teaching rhythm using our insights as meditators and our intuition as teachers. This hermeneutic requirement keeps us authentic and engaged on our path to awakening; as well as humble. It encourages students to creatively integrate thinking to being. We open to impermanence and change, reconciliation and forgiveness, core dimensions of an ethical, sociologically relevant, education, as much as a peaceful and loving society.

Over the years, I have introduced students to mindful, non-violent communication and meditation at wellness weeks and workshops on campus. I developed a Leadership course that builds a strong foundation in consciousness of self through Mindfulness. I have been teaching an average of 150 students a year, that is more than 2200 who now are teachers, lawyers, public servants, parents and professionals. They validated this holistic and contemplative pedagogy by allowing me to receive the Principal’s Teaching Excellence Award at Glendon College in 2011 from Principal Kenneth McRoberts; and in 2017, the President University-Wide Teaching Award in the Adjunct professor / Contract Faculty category at York University.


Articles in Refereed Journals:

“Intersubjectivity in the holistic teaching of the Sociology of Religion at Glendon College in Toronto” in GunnlauGunnlaugson, O., Scott, C., Sarath, E. & Bai, H. (2017, in press). The intersubjective turn in contemplative education: Shared approaches for contemplative learning and inquiry across disciplines. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.

« Dialogue entre la philosophie bouddhiste et la théorie critique de l’Ecole de Frankfort ». Philosophie, Culture, Tradition. Vol. 4 (2007).

Paper in refereed conference proceedings

Migration of Philosophical Texts to the East. Buddhist Critical Social Theory and Robert Hattam’s Awakening-Struggle.(2008) in Etudes Maritainiennes – Proceeds of the 2006 Jacques Maritain Association Conference.


Reviewer Anderson and Dickey Young Women and Religious Traditions 3rd Ed. Oxford (2015).

Editor – proofreader of Mingyur Rinpoche’s first book: The Joy of Living (2007).

Television Series

Path to Enlightenment (2006), Omni Television. Creator, writer, director and co-producer of a 13 episodes TV series on Buddhism in Canada, with mini documentaries and in-studio guests’ interviews with Glen Choi.


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