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Conference aims to unify meditation research approaches
by Global Good News staff writer
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29 January 2013
An upcoming conference at the Esalen Institute in California, USA, will focus on meditation research and finding a common scientific language for the many disparate forms and traditions of meditation.
The conference is organized by the Esalen Institute, Maharishi University of Management, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS).
Dr Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, said, 'There will be 19 individuals, each representing a different meditation tradition. At the conference I hope we come up with a common profile of measures.'
He elaborated on what this means. 'I would like us to agree upon a number of measures to give to our subjects.' Giving examples of what those measures might be, he said, 'We'll interview our subjects and these are the types of questions we'll ask. We'll give them measures of emotional intelligence, of happiness; we'll look at physiological functioning, how stable the autonomic nervous system is, we'll look at brain functioning.'
Ideally meditation researchers would agree upon a list of measures that would capture important aspects of growth and development through meditation.
The next step would be to apply these standardized measures to each type of meditation—from Qigong to Zen to Vipassana to Transcendental Meditation—then compare results after studies have been completed.
Dr Travis said, 'I'm hoping it will take this discussion of different procedures of meditation and different meditation techniques and give it a more neutral footing.'
In a reference to the spirit of cordiality, harmony, and cooperation among meditation researchers from many different traditions that was clearly apparent at a recent conference hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences, he said, 'We're on the same path. As scientists, we realize that spirituality is what is important. . . . We are together, as a corps of scientists, exploring spirituality.'
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
∙ Meditation conferences aim to establish scientific understanding of ancient practices
∙ Meditation researchers discuss transcending and non-dual experiences
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