Examining The Content and Context of Meditation: A Challenge for Psychology in the Areas of Stress Management, Psychotherapy, and Religion/Values
Journal of Humanistic Psychology
Short Title: Examining The Content and Context of Meditation
Format: Journal Article
Sources ID: 21799
Zotero Collections: Contexts of Contemplation Project, Contemplation by Applied Subject, Psychology and Contemplation, Science and Contemplation
Studies have primarily examined meditation's effects as a self regulation strategy for stress management. Fewer studies have examined its utility as a self exploration strategy for enhancing psychological health in psychotherapy and behavior change. And, few studies have examined meditation's effect regarding its original religious purpose as a self liberation strategy to enhance spiritual growth and wisdom, and cultivate compassionate service. This article examines the reasons underlying this differential proportion of studies on each of the above variables and details the merits and limitations of research that attempted to remove the religious and philosophical context of meditation in order to focus on its content. The article then examines why it has been necessary to reintroduce the context of meditation as a variable, whether that context be stress management, psychotherapy, or a religious perspective. Finally, based on the mentalist and cognitive revolution, this article asks: "Is God always a confounding variable in meditation research?"