In this article, we explain how mindfulness can enhance a democratic way of being, connecting practices of awareness, reflection, dialog, and action to democratic citizenship and social arrangements. We begin by sharing our understanding of democracy as a philosophy and a political system. We then provide a background for the concept of mindfulness as it is used by those in the field of education and health care and as we connect it to democracy and democratic education. We introduce a mindfulness pedagogy and use this pedagogy to develop our concept of mindfully democratic schools. We use the work of John Dewey and Paulo Freire, along with other philosophers of education, to address concerns that mindfulness is fundamentally an apolitical and individual practice rather than a social practice. We end by sharing how mindful practices are imagined and supported within democratic public schools with three vignettes from the Coalition of Essential Schools, whose vision and principles promote teachers’ and students’ mindfully democratic action. In doing this, we describe the types of schools that we see as necessary for our vision of democracy. We invite readers to offer their own stories of mindfully democratic schools.

Response to this Article

Patrick Comstock, The Politics of Mindfulness