The opportunity to provide feedback is now closed, thanks to everyone who participated.
Can You Help?
If you examine the recent research papers summarised in the blog you will find scientific investigations from a range of psychological, biological and philosophical perspectives. Despite the fact that most meditation and mindfulness research observes, measures and evaluates meditators, there are very few experiential accounts from the meditators themselves. Even when participants self-report how they feel before and/or after meditation, they typically have no individual ‘voice’ in the findings. Increasingly the absence of ‘added value’ feedback from meditation and mindfulness practitioners is seen as a potential limitation in the research process.
Psychologists, in particular, will be familiar with the reasons why research in the field of contemplative science (meditation, mindfulness and contemplation) is typically seen as being either qualitative or quantitative. The complex nature of meditation appears to offer particular opportunities for interdisciplinary and epistemologically plural approaches. Reliable generalisations about what meditation is and how it is understood by practitioners are problematic. In particular because when people enter a meditative state the nature of that state can only be inferred or presumed.
A large amount of cognitive and neuroscientific investigation suggests relationships between mental states experienced in the different contemplative disciplines and neural activity or cognitive performance. However, research findings generally fail to offer convincing explanations of exactly what meditators do (internal processes) with any degree of certainty. No criticism is implied here; there are a number of significant barriers still to be overcome, particularly the effective integration of individual experience and the experimental paradigm.
We invite individuals and groups involved in meditation and mindful practice to share their experiences and feedback. There are three ways that people can help.
- The first is to comment on any of the research papers published on this website, feedback is a very real and direct way you can add your views to the current pool of meditation knowledge. If you want to make a point to a particular research team, you will find contact details an almost all published research papers.
- You may also wish to sign up to the research database. By adding your email address to it you will be invited to participate anonymously in future research directly related to meditation and mindfulness. There is no obligation to participate at any stage and you can withdraw from the list at any time. To register complete the form below.
- If you find any of the material published on this website particularly interesting, relevant or helpful, feel free to share it through your own networks using the social media links. By highlighting the research you think is most useful you will be helping to form the wider debate.