"What is sacredness as the ground of learning?" asks editor Steven Glazer. "It is rooting education in the practices of openness, attentiveness to experience, and sensitivity to the world." This "New Consciousness Reader" grew out of presentations given at the Spirituality in Education Conference hosted by the Naropa Institute in the summer of 1997.

The four sections of the book are "Sacredness: The Ground of Learning," "Identity," "Relationship and Community," and "Tradition and Innovation." Among the contributors to this defense of learning as a process of transformational growth are Quaker teacher Parker J. Palmer, medical educator Rachel Naomi Remen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, anthropologist Joan Halifax, world religion expert Huston Smith, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

These essays critique some of the flaws of contemporary education — reductionism, distrust of mystery, scientism, masks of control, and professionalism. The contributors salute the virtues of wonder, compassion, contemplative pluralism, and respect for otherness.