A Powerful Silence: The role of meditation and other contemplative practices in American life and work
Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Place of Publication: Northampton, MA
Sources ID: 114051
Collection: Social Connection and Well-being
Visibility: Public (group default)
Over the past two decades, interest in contemplative practices has grown tremendously. Time magazine has estimated that 15 million Americans practice yoga (2001) and 10 million meditate regularly (2003). During this same period of time, meditation, yoga, and other meditative techniques have been the subject of hundreds of studies which have highlighted their potential as a means of stress reduction (Murphy and Donovan 1996).In an effort to understand more about the growing public interest in these practices and their use in settings outside of religious and spiritual contexts, the Center for Contemplative in Society, based in Northampton, Massachusetts, initiated the Contemplative Net Project, a qualitative research study designed to document the prevalence and nature of this phenomenon. Three sources provided data for this study: 1) In-depth, qualitative interviews with 84 professionals who incorporate contemplative practices in their work; 2) Media searches of newspaper and magazine articles, professional journals, and the Internet; 3) Supplementary program reports and research from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. This report is a summary of the Contemplative Net Project’s findings. The report begins by reviewing the historical and cultural context for the current interest in meditation and other contemplative practices. The secular application of these practices is then surveyed in five professional fields: Business and Organizational Development, Medicine and Healthcare, Education and Youth Work, Law and Government, and Prison Work. Through the use of stories, profiles, and quotes from research interviews, the report offers an in- depth, narrative look at how exposure to meditation and other practices has impacted individuals, workplaces, and society at large.