Many spiritual traditions employ certain mental techniques (meditation) which consist in inhibiting mental activity whilst nonetheless remaining fully conscious, which is supposed to lead to a realisation of one’s own true nature prior to habitual self-substantialisation. In this paper I propose that this practice can be understood as a special means of becoming aware of consciousness itself as such. To explain this claim I conduct some phenomenologically oriented considerations about the nature of consciousness qua presence and the problem of (...) self-presence of this presence. (shrink)
This essay discusses Stanley Cavell’s remarkable interpretation of Emmanuel Levinas’s thought against the background of his own ongoing engagement with Wittgenstein, Austin, and the problem of other minds. This unlikely debate, the only extensive discussion of Levinas by Cavell in his long philosophical career sofar, focuses on their different reception of Descartes’s idea of the infinite. The essay proposes to read both thinkers against the background of Wittgenstein’s model of philosophical meditation and raises the question as to whether Cavell (...) and Levinas do not indirectly shed light on the early modern motif of the spiritual automaton. (shrink)
Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex tial to be specific about the type of meditation practice emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes under investigation. Failure to make such distinctions developed for various ends, including the cultivation of..
As Husserl argues in the fifth Cartesian Meditation, the similarity of my Body (Leib) with the body (Körper) of another person is the founding moment of the experience of the other. This similarity is based on the previous objectivation of my Body. Husserl continuously worried to explicate this similarity-premise and by doing so, it appeared that this objectivation already presupposes intersubjectivity. By running into this problem, the Meditation actually fulfils its program by showing that the other is co-constitutive (...) of the world and more precisely of my existence as a worldly human being. At the same time he developed an alternative approach by identifying the original experience of the other as an expressive unity (Ausdruckseinheit) as the condition of possibility of intersubjective experience. By drawing on the relevant Forschungsmanuskripte in the volumes on Intersubjectivity and on Ideas II, it appears that the Meditation offers a naturalistic theory of intersubjectivity that results from the introduction of the reduction to primordiality. When one takes into account Husserl's analysis of the experience of an expressive unity, that is a defining characteristic of the personalistic attitude, one can clarify the derivative nature of this naturalistic approach. (shrink)
Various forms of mental training have been shown to improve performance on cognitively demanding tasks. Individuals trained in meditative practices, for example, show generalized improvements on a variety of tasks assessing attentional performance. A central claim of this training, derived from contemplative traditions, posits that improved attentional performance is accompanied by subjective increases in the stability and clarity of concentrative engagement with one’s object of focus, as well as reductions in felt cognitive effort as expertise develops. However, despite frequent claims (...) of mental stability following training, the phenomenological correlates of meditation-related attentional improvements have yet to be characterized. In a longitudinal study, we assessed changes in executive control (performance on a 32-minute response inhibition task) and retrospective reports of task engagement (concentration, motivation, and effort) following one month of intensive, daily Vipassana meditation training. Compared to matched controls, training participants exhibited improvements in response inhibition accuracy and reductions in reaction time variability. The training group also reported increases in concentration, but not effort or motivation, during task performance. Critically, increases in concentration predicted improvements in reaction time variability, suggesting a link between the experience of concentrative engagement and ongoing fluctuations in attentional stability. By incorporating experiential measures of task performance, the present study corroborates phenomenological accounts of stable, clear attentional engagement with the object of meditative focus following extensive training. These results provide initial evidence that meditation-related changes in felt experience accompany improvements in adaptive, goal-directed behavior, and that such shifts may reflect accurate awareness of measurable changes in performance. (shrink)
Dorion Cairns correctly interprets the preconstituted stratum of Edmund Husserl’s Fifth Cartesian Meditation to be the primordial ego and not the social world, as was thought by Alfred Schutz, who considered Husserl to be insufficiently attentive to the social world’s hold upon us. Following Cairns’s interpretation, which involves recovering and reconstructing strata that may never exist independently, one better understands how the transfer of sense animate organism involves automatic association, or somatic apprehension. This sense-transfer extends to any animate organism, (...) not just humans, and draws on extensive unreflected-upon similarities despite the distinctive fact that the other’s body is never given to oneself as is one’s own. Following Cairns’s interpretation, one can also understand the second epoché as an imaginative, reconstructive abstraction rather than as an example of failed ascesis. Consequently, Husserl appears as less intellectualized in his approach to empathy than often thought to be and more confident in the phenomenologist’s capacity to imagine and attend selectively to experience. (shrink)
This article announces the discovery of a Sinhalese version of the traditional meditation ( borān yogāvacara kammaṭṭhāna ) text in which the Consciousness or Mind, personified as a Princess living in a five-branched tree (the body), must understand the nature of death and seek the four gems that are the four noble truths. To do this she must overcome the cravings of the five senses, represented as five birds in the tree. Only in this way will she permanently avoid (...) the attentions of Death, Māra, and his three female servants, Birth, Sickness and Old Age. In this version of the text, when the Princess manages not to succumb to these three, Māra comes and snatches her from her tree and rapes her. The Buddha then appears to her to explain the path to liberation. The text provides a commentary, padārtha , which explains the details of the symbolism of the fruit in terms of rebirth and being born, the tree in terms of the body, etc. The text also offers interpretations of signs of impending death and prognostications regarding the next rebirth. Previously the existence of Khmer and Lānnā versions of this text have been recorded by Francois Bizot and Francois Lagirarde, the former publishing the text as Le Figuier a cinq branches (Le figuier à cinq branches, 1976). The Sinhalese version was redacted for one of the wives of King Kīrti Śrī Rājasiṅha of Kandy by the monk Varañāṇa Mahāthera of Ayutthayā. This confirms earlier speculation that this form of borān/dhammakāya meditation was brought to Sri Lanka with the introduction of the Siyam Nikāya in the mid-eighteenth century. It also shows that in Sri Lanka, as in Ayutthayā, this form of meditation—which in the modern period was to be rejected as ‘unorthodox’—was promoted at the highest levels of court and Saṅgha. (shrink)
Scientific studies addressing anatomical variations in meditators’ brains have emerged rapidly over the last few years, where significant links are most frequently reported with respect to gray matter (GM). To advance prior work, this study examined GM characteristics in a large sample of 100 subjects (50 meditators, 50 controls), where meditators have been practicing close to twenty years, on average. A standard, whole-brain voxel-based morphometry approach was applied and revealed significant meditation effects in the vicinity of the hippocampus, showing (...) more GM in meditators than in controls as well as positive correlations with the number of years practiced. However, the hippocampal complex is regionally segregated by architecture, connectivity, and functional relevance. Thus, to establish differential effects within the hippocampal formation (cornu ammonis, fascia dentate, entorhinal cortex, subiculum) as well as the hippocampal-amygdaloid transition area, we utilized refined cytoarchitectonic probabilistic maps of (peri-) hippocampal subsections. Significant meditation effects were observed within the subiculum specifically. Since the subiculum is known to play a key role in stress regulation and meditation is an established form of stress reduction, these GM findings may reflect neuronal preservation in long-term meditators – perhaps due to an attenuated release of stress hormones and decreased neurotoxicity. (shrink)
Several cortical regions are reported to vary in meditation practitioners. However, since prior analyses were focused on examining gray matter or cortical thickness, additional effects with respect to other cortical features might have remained undetected. Gyrification (the pattern and degree of cortical folding) is an important cerebral characteristic related to the geometry of the brain’s surface. Cortical folding occurs early in development and might be linked to behavioral traits. Thus, exploring cortical gyrification in long-term meditators may provide additional clues (...) with respect to the underlying anatomical correlates of meditation. This study examined cortical gyrification in a large sample (n=100) of meditators and controls, carefully matched for sex and age. Cortical gyrification was established via calculating mean curvature across thousands of vertices on individual cortical surface models. Pronounced group differences indicating larger gyrification in meditators were evident within the left precentral gyrus, right fusiform gyrus, right cuneus, as well as left and right anterior dorsal insula (the latter representing the global significance maximum). Although the exact functional implications of larger cortical gyrification remain to be established, these findings suggest the insula to be a key structure involved in aspects of meditation. For example, variations in insular complexity could affect the regulation of well-known distractions in the process of meditation, such as daydreaming, mind-wandering, and projections into past or future. Moreover, given that meditators are masters in introspection, awareness, and emotional control, increased insular gyrification may reflect an ideal integration of autonomic, affective, and cognitive processes. Due to the cross-sectional nature of this study, further research is necessary determine the relative contribution of nature and nurture to links between cortical gyrification and meditation. (shrink)
Meditation has lately received considerable interest from cognitive neuroscience. Studies suggest that daily meditation leads to long lasting attentional and neuronal plasticity. We present changes related to the attentional systems before and after a 3 month intensive meditation retreat. We used 3 behavioral psychophysical tests - a Stroop task, an attentional blink task, and a global-local letter task - to assess the effect of Isha yoga meditation on attentional resource allocation. 82 Isha yoga practitioners were tested (...) at the beginning and at the end of the retreat. Our results showed an increase in correct responses specific to incongruent stimuli in the Stroop task. Congruently, a positive correlation between previous meditation experience and accuracy to incongruent Stroop stimuli was also observed at baseline. We also observed a reduction of the attentional blink. Unexpectedly, a negative correlation between previous meditation experience and attentional blink performance at baseline was observed. Regarding spatial attention orientation as assessed using the global-local letter task, participants showed a bias toward local processing. Only slight differences in performance were found pre- vs. post- meditation retreat. Previous meditation experience influenced the Stroop and attentional blink tasks in opposite directions – for the Stroop task congruent with the improvements seen after the retreat whereas for the attentional blink previous experience correlated negatively with performance. Biasing towards the local stimuli in the global-local task and negative correlation of previous meditation experience with attentional blink performance is consistent with Isha practices being more focused-attention practices. Given the relatively small effect sizes and the absence of a control group, our results do not allow clear support nor rejection of the hypothesis of meditation-driven neuronal plasticity in the attentional system for Isha yoga practice. (shrink)
During fMRI studies of meditation the cortical salience detecting and executive networks become active during “awareness of mind wandering”, “shifting” and “sustained attention”. The anterior cingulate (AC) is activated during “awareness of mind wandering”. The AC modulates both the peripheral sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the central locus coeruleus (LC) norepinephrine systems, which form the principal neuromodulatory system, regulating in multiple ways both neuronal and non-neuronal cells to maximize adaptation in changing environments. The LC is the primary source of (...) central norepinephrine (C-NE) and nearly the exclusive source of cortical norepinephrine. Normally activated by novel or salient stimuli, the AC initially inhibits the SNS reflexively, lowering peripheral norepinephrine (P-NE) and activates the LC, increasing C-NE. Moderate levels of C-NE enhance working memory through alpha 2 adrenergic receptors, while higher levels of C-NE, acting on alpha 1 and beta receptors, enhance other executive network functions such as the stopping of ongoing behavior, attentional set shifting and sustained attention. The actions of the AC on both the central and peripheral noradrenergic systems are implicated in the beneficial effects of meditation. This paper will explore some of the known functions and interrelationships of the AC, SNS and LC with respect to their possible relevance to meditation. (shrink)
Mindfulness based meditation practices involve various attentional skills, including the ability to sustain and focus ones attention. During a simple mindful breathing practice, sustained attention is required to maintain focus on the breath while cognitive control is required to detect mind wandering. We thus hypothesized that regular, brief mindfulness training would result in improvements in the self regulation of attention and foster changes in neuronal activity related to attentional control. A longitudinal randomized control group EEG study was conducted. At (...) baseline (T1), 40 meditation naïve participants were randomized into a wait list group and a meditation group, who received three hours mindfulness meditation training. 28 participants remained in the final analysis. At T1, after 8 weeks (T2) and after 16 weeks (T3), all participants performed a computerized Stroop task (a measure of attentional control) while the 64-channel EEG was recorded. Between T1 and T3 the meditators were requested to meditate daily for ten minutes. Event-related potential (ERP) analysis highlighted two between group effects that developed over the course of the 16-week mindfulness training. An early effect at left and right posterior sites 160 – 240 ms post stimulus indicated that meditation practice improved the focusing of attentional resources. A second effect at central posterior sites 310 – 380 ms post stimulus reflects that meditation practice reduced the recruitment of resources during object recognition processes, especially for incongruent stimuli. Scalp topographies and source analyses (VARETA) indicate relevant changes in neural sources, pertaining to left medial and lateral occipitotemporal areas for the early effect and right lateral occipitotemporal and inferior temporal areas for the later effect. The results suggest that mindfulness meditation may alter the efficiency of allocating cognitive resources, leading to improved self regulation of attention. (shrink)
We investigate if concentrative meditation training (CMT) offered during adolescent development benefits subsystems of attention using a quasi-experimental design. Attentional alerting, orienting, and conflict monitoring were examined using the Attention Network Test (ANT) in 13, 14, and 15 yo children who received CMT as part of their school curriculum (CMT Group: N=79) vs. those who received no such training (Control Group: N=76). Alerting and conflict monitoring, but not orienting, differed between the CMT and Control Group. Only conflict monitoring demonstrated (...) age-related improvements, with smaller conflict effect scores in older vs. younger participants. The influence of CMT on this system was similar to the influence of developmental maturity, with smaller conflict effects in the CMT vs. Control group. To examine if CMT might also bolster conflict-triggered upregulation of attentional control, conflict effects were evaluated as a function of previous trial conflict demands (high conflict vs. low conflict). Smaller current trial conflict effects were observed when previous conflict was high vs. low, suggesting that similar to adults, when previous conflict was high (vs. low) children in this age-range proactively upregulated control so that subsequent trial performance was benefitted. The magnitude of conflict-triggered control upregulation was not bolstered by CMT but CMT did have an effect for current incongruent trials preceded by congruent trials. Thus, CMT’s influence on attention may be tractable and specific; it may bolster attentional alerting, conflict monitoring and reactive control, but does not appear to improve orienting. (shrink)
In a book geared toward the younger generation, the author explains techniques to sharpen alertness, quiet the mind, increase awareness, strengthen positive mental states and develop insight. Original.
Meditation has been for long time avoided as a scientific theme because of its complexity and its religious connotations. Fortunately, in the last years, it has increasingly been studied within different neuroscientific experimental protocols. Attention and concentration are surely among the most important topics in these experiments. Notwithstanding this, inhibition of emotions and discursive thoughts are equally important to understand what is at stake during those types of mental processes. I philosophically and technically analyse and compare results from neuroimaging (...) studies, produced by leading authorities on the theme, dealing with two types of meditation: "one-pointed concentration" and "compassion meditation". Analysing "one-pointed concentration", I show the differences between novice and expert meditation practitioners in terms of brain activity and connectivity, considering the relationship among increased attention and concentration and decreased activity in areas related to discursive thought and emotion. Analysing "compassion meditation", I show the importance of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. I follow the same strategy of comparing novice and expert meditation practitioners. The conclusion establishes a common structure to those different ways of dealing with emotion during meditation. (shrink)
I first attempt a taxonomy of meditation in traditional Indian Buddhism. Based on the main psychological or somatic function at which the meditative effort is directed, the following classes can be distinguished: (1) emotion-centered meditation (coinciding with the traditional samatha approach); (2) consciousness-centered meditation (with two subclasses: consciousness reduction/elimination and ideation obliteration); (3) reflection-centered meditation (with two subtypes: morality-directed reflection and reality-directed observation, the latter corresponding to the vipassanā method); (4) visualization-centered meditation; and (5) physiology-centered (...)meditation. In the second part of the essay I tackle the problem of the epistemic validity and happiness-engendering value of Buddhist meditation. In my highly conjectural view, the claim that meditation represents an infallible tool for realizing the (Supreme) Truth as well as a universally valid method for attaining the highest forms of happiness is largely based on the crēdō effect, that is, a placebolike process. I do not deny that meditation may have some positive effects on mental and physical health or that its practice may bring changes to the mind. Meditation may be a valuable alternative approach in life and clinical treatment, but it is far from being a must or a panacea. (shrink)
Interpreters generally agree that the Fifth Cartesian Meditation fails to achieve its task, but they do not agree on what that task is. In my essay, I attempt to formulate the question to which the Fifth Cartesian Meditation gives the answer. While it is usually assumed that the text poses a rather ambitious question, I suggest that the text asks, How is the Other given to me on the most basic level? The answer would be that the Other (...) is given as accessible in the mode of inaccessibility. Husserl’s failure to convey this question clearly seems rooted in ambiguities concerning the concepts of solipsism and the sphere of ownness. (shrink)
Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex tial to be speciﬁc about the type of meditation practice emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes under investigation. Failure to make such distinctions developed for various ends, including the cultivation of..
Recent scholarship suggests that Descartes's effort to establish a truth criterion is not viciously circular (notwithstanding its reputation)-a fact that invites closer scrutiny of his epistemological program. One of the least well understood features of the project is his deduction of a truth criterion from theistic premises, a demonstration Descartes says he provides in the Fourth Meditation: the alleged proof is not revealed by a casual reading, nor have commentators fared any better; in general, the relevance of the Fourth (...)Meditation has not been duly appreciated. This paper reconstructs the argument of the Fourth Meditation, detailing the steps in the demonstration of the criterion and clarifying its role in the larger program. Surprisingly, Descartes deduces a truth criterion more fundamental than clarity and distinctness; this more fundamental criterion helps explain what are otherwise cryptic (though central) epistemological moves in the Sixth Meditation. (shrink)
Descartes’s First Meditation employs a series of arguments designed to generate the worry that the senses might not provide sufficient evidence to justify one’staking as certain one’s beliefs about the way the world is. As the meditator considers what principle describes the conditions under which it is possible to attain certain knowledge, one after another doubt-generating device is ushered in, until at last he finds himself like someone caught in a whirlpool, able neither to stand firm nor to swim (...) out. In this paper, I examine one of those devices, namely, what is often referred to as the Madness Argument. In particular, I want to discuss its relation to the Dream Argument and its function in the Meditations as a whole. My position stands in contrast to the interpretations of Anthony Kenny, Margaret Wilson, Michael Williams, and, more recently, Janet Broughton and Catherine Wilson. (shrink)
One question that has created controversy among interpreters is just how much is in doubt at the end of the Dream Argument in Meditation I. I argue that there is doubt about the existence of composite bodies not yet about the existence of a physical world. I also caution against using later parts of the Meditations to interpret the First Meditation on account of the order of reasons in this work. I connect the Omnipotent God argument to Descartes's (...) views about innate ideas and analyze the First Meditation in relation to Descartes's anti-aristotelian purposes. (shrink)
In this single-blind within-subject study, autonomic and EEG variables were compared during 10-min, order-balanced eyes-closed rest and Transcendental Meditation (TM) sessions. TM sessions were distinguished by (1) lower breath rates, (2) lower skin conductance levels, (3) higher respiratory sinus arrhythmia levels, and (4) higher alpha anterior-posterior and frontal EEG coherence. Alpha power was not significantly different between conditions. These results were seen in the first minute and were maintained throughout the 10-min sessions. TM practice appears to (1) lead to (...) a state fundamentally different than eyes-closed rest; (2) result in a cascade of events in the central and autonomic nervous systems, leading to a rapid change in state (within a minute) that was maintained throughout the TM session; and (3) be best distinguished from other conditions through autonomic and EEG alpha coherence patterns rather than alpha power. Two neural networks that may mediate these effects are suggested. The rapid shift in physiological functioning within the first minute might be mediated by a ''neural switch'' in prefrontal areas inhibiting activity in specific and nonspecific thalamocortical circuits. The resulting ''restfully alert'' state might be sustained by a basal ganglia-corticothalamic threshold regulation mechanism automatically maintaining lower levels of cortical excitability. (shrink)
This paper interprets Buddhist meditation from perspectives of Western psychology and explores the common grounds shared by the two disciplines. Cognitive operations in Buddhist meditation are mainly characterized by mindfulness and concentration in relation to attention. Mindfulness in particular plays a pivotal role in regulating attention. My study based on Buddhist literature corroborates significant correspondence between mindfulness and metacognition as propounded by some psychologists. In vipassan? meditation, mindfulness regulates attention in such a way that attention is directed (...) to monitor the ever-changing experiences from moment to moment so that the practitioner attains the ?metacognitive insight? into the nature of things. In samatha meditation, mindfulness picks an object as the focus of ?selective attention' and monitors whether attention is concentrated on the chosen object so as to attain the state of ?concentration?. Nimitta that appears in a deep state of concentration resembles ?imagery? in psychology. Mindfulness consists in the wholesome functioning of saññ?. A finding by psychologists supports my view that saññ? can act as perception on the one hand and, on the other hand, it can produce nimitta ?imagery? in deep meditation where perception is suspended. (shrink)
Are you tempted by the prospect of a reversal of ageing, increased intelligence, improved relationships or irreversible world peace? These are just some of the benefits of meditation promised by the Transcendental Meditation organisation. Admittedly, it doesn't seem very plausible. Such claims imply that sitting still silently repeating a phrase - one form of meditation practiced by the followers of the TM movement - can have profound physical, psychological and even sociological effects. Indeed, it sounds so implausible (...) that many people simply dismiss meditation out of hand. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to show how moral imagination can be cultivated through meditation. Moral imagination was conceived as a three-stage process of ethical development. The first stage is reproductive imagination, that involves attaining awareness of the contextual factors that affect perception of a moral problem. The second stage, productive imagination, consists of reframing the problem from different perspectives. The third stage, creative imagination, entails developing morally acceptable alternatives to solve the ethical problem. This article contends that (...) moral imagination can be cultivated through three kinds of meditation: non-discursive, semidiscursive, and discursive meditation. Part one shows how the seed of reproductive moral imagination is planted during sessions of nondiscursive meditation. Productive moral imagination, as will be shown in part two, is nurtured through semidiscursive meditation. Part three will demonstrate the flowering of creative moral imagination through discursive meditation. Reflection and small group discussion on each form of meditation will help to show business people how to cultivate moral imagination. (shrink)
Religionists often presuppose that “mysticism” aims at somehow emptying the mind. In the light of evidence, however, meditation seems rather to consist of ritualized action without an explicit emphasis on subjective experience. Boyer & Lienard's (B&L's) theory of ritualized action as “swamping” working memory thus might help explain the effects of meditation without postulating experiential goals the “mystics” obviously do not have. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Recent brain imaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have implicated insula and anterior cingulate cortices in the empathic response to another’s pain. However, virtually nothing is known about the impact of the voluntary generation of compassion on this network. To investigate these questions we assessed brain activity using fMRI while novice and expert meditation practitioners generated a loving-kindness-compassion meditation state. To probe affective reactivity, we presented emotional and neutral sounds during the meditation and comparison periods. (...) Our main hypothesis was that the concern for others cultivated during this form of meditation enhances affective processing, in particular in response to sounds of distress, and that this response to emotional sounds is modulated by the degree of meditation training. The presentation of the emotional sounds was associated with increased pupil diameter and activation of limbic regions (insula and cingulate cortices) during meditation (versus rest). During meditation, activation in insula was greater during presentation of negative sounds than positive or neutral sounds in expert than it was in novice meditators. The strength of activation in insula was also associated with self-reported intensity of the meditation for both groups. These results support the role of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. The comparison between meditation vs. rest states between experts and novices also showed increased activation in amygdala, right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in response to all sounds, suggesting, greater detection of the emotional sounds, and enhanced mentation in response to emotional human vocalizations for experts than novices during meditation. Together these data indicate that the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli.. (shrink)
These, and many other related questions have continued to rise in the minds of meditation practitioners of Chan, Sôn and Zen Buddhism since the earliest stages in the development of these traditions, and it is in response to such questions that the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment (Chinese: Yuanjue jing ) was composed. In addition to detailed guidance on the undertaking of Chan contemplation, the sutra offers concise discussions of the fundamental philosophical grounds which underlie such practices, in the (...) form of question and answer sessions between the Buddha and twelve prominent bodhisattvas. While long a popular text throughout the East Asian meditative tradition, the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment attained to a special canonical status in the Korean Chogye school where it was favored by such luminaries as Chinul, T'aego and Hyujông, and where it is used down to the present day as a basic text for monastic instruction. The.. (shrink)
Teaching an eight-week calm abiding meditation course to staff in a Child and Youth Mental Health Service located in a regional Australian city presented a curious meeting of Buddhism with Western culture. This meeting highlighted both the potential benefits and challenges of teaching meditation in the workplace and the value of qualitative methods for contributing to the development of meditation research. The thematic analysis of weekly participant responses to emailed reflective questions and follow-up interviews indicated that workplace (...)meditation training can precipitate sustainable changes in attitudes and behaviour beyond the workplace. Participants reported being less reactive and better able to manage emotions, having heightened self-awareness, self-acceptance and acceptance of others and of circumstances; and, in the longer term, were better able to make healthier lifestyle choices. The analysis is contextualized by a rich description of the course and salient concerns and conditions evident in contemporary Buddhist teachings and studies of mindfulness meditation. (shrink)
Descartes's proof of the existence of material things is dissected as a paradigm of the style of reasoning in the "meditations". A tension emerges between two senses of "the teachings of nature", Which sometime denotes the light of reason, And sometimes merely a strong conviction. The tension continues later in meditation six: nature in one sense tells us that we are embodied beings, But in another sense that we are incorporeal minds. It is never properly resolved.
The article presents and critically examines the techniques of husserl's phenomenological reduction on the one hand and of yogic meditation on the other, The latter as expounded by patanjali in the 'yoga-Sutras'. By comparing and contrasting these, The author argues that patanjali provides clear and consistent techniques for performing phenomenological reduction. The inconsistency between phenomenological reduction as a technique and the goal of phenomenology as providing the foundations of knowledge is then brought into clear focus. Finally, It is shown (...) that yoga and phenomenology both logically lead to transcendental idealism. (shrink)