Mindfulness and Trauma: Some Striking Similarities

Anthropology of Consciousness 29 (1):44-56 (2018)

Authors
Yochai Ataria
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Abstract
The traumatic experience and the meditative experience differ in many respects. For instance, it is possible to suggest that while a sense of helplessness is the most important feature of the traumatic experience, meditation does not involve a similar sense of helplessness. Furthermore, while trauma is shocking and horrifying, meditation is considered to be constructive and efficient in reducing stress and improving welfare. Yet, with this in mind, by comparing interviews with twelve senior meditators on the one hand and interviews with survivors of traumatic experiences from other qualitative studies of mine on the other, this paper suggests that essentially both phenomena are rooted in the same mechanism: the collapse of the intentional structure. More precisely, in both cases, the intentional structure collapses and, as a result, the gap between Me versus Not–Me diminishes: in that case, one loses the first-personal bodily egocentric perceptive upon the world.
Keywords mindfulness  sense of agency  sense of ownership  sense of self  sense of time
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DOI 10.1111/anoc.12086
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The Intentional Structure of Consciousness.Tim Crane - 2003 - In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 33-56.
Experimenting with Phenomenology.Shaun Gallagher & Jesper B. Sorensen - 2006 - Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):119-134.

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