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Meditation conferences aim to establish scientific understanding of ancient practices
by Global Good News staff writer
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29 January 2013
Scientific study of meditation is gaining momentum and legitimacy, said Dr Fred Travis.
Dr Travis is Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition; and Professor and Chair of the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, USA.
One example of meditation's growing scientific reputation is a crop of new meditation research conferences.
Earlier this year Dr Travis spoke at one such conference in New York City. 'It was quite a unique conference because there were meditation researchers from all different meditation techniques', all in the same room in a harmonious gathering.
The conference, Advances in Meditation Research: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications, was hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences on 17 January.
The conference materials describe its goals as scientific understanding, acceptance, and harmony. Participants want to understand how meditation is linked to neural correlates of mind, emotions, and indices of biological ageing, as well as the commonalities and differences between meditation practices from different traditions.
Dr Travis added that he felt the conference was a success, and was impressed that so many experts from different meditation traditions and backgrounds were able to talk openly and exchange ideas in a friendly and cooperative atmosphere.
Dr Travis's presentation on brain functioning in practitioners of Transcendental Meditation was received with great interest and appreciation.
He is looking forward to an upcoming meditation research conference in May, organized by the Esalen Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Maharishi University of Management.
'Again there will be 19 individuals, each representing a different meditation tradition, and at that conference I hope we come up with a common profile of measures.'
Dr Travis added, 'I'd like us to agree upon a number of measures to give to our subjects.' The intention is to standardize meditation research so it is easy to compare meditation practices side by side and see their relative strengths.
See related articles:
∙ US: Meditation research conference hosted by New York Academy of Sciences
∙ First 'Advances in Meditation Research' conference in NYC brings together researchers from many traditions
∙ Transcendental Meditation receives recognition, warm reception at meditation research conference
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