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Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes developed for various ends, including the cultivation of well-being and emotional balance. Among these various practices, there are two styles that are commonly studied. One style, focused attention meditation, entails the voluntary focusing of attention on a chosen object. The other style, open monitoring meditation, involves nonreactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment. The potential regulatory functions of these practices on attention and emotion processes could have a long-term impact on the brain and behavior.
This article draws on research in neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology, and education, as well as scholarship from contemplative traditions concerning the cultivation of positive development, to highlight a set of mental skills and socioemotional dispositions that are central to the aims of education in the 21st century. These include self-regulatory skills associated with emotion and attention, self-representations, and prosocial dispositions such as empathy and compassion. It should be possible to strengthen these positive qualities and dispositions through systematic contemplative practices, which induce plastic changes in brain function and structure, supporting prosocial behavior and academic success in young people. These putative beneficial consequences call for focused programmatic research to better characterize which forms and frequencies of practice are most effective for which types of children and adolescents. Results from such research may help refine training programs to maximize their effectiveness at different ages and to document the changes in neural function and structure that might be induced. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Child Development Perspectives is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Engage with leading scientists, academics, ethicists, and activists, as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness the Karmapa, who gathered in Dharamsala, India, for the twenty-third Mind and Life conference to discuss arguably the most urgent questions facing humanity today: What is happening to our planet? What can we do about it? How do we balance the concerns of people against the rights of animals and against the needs of an ecosystem? What is the most skillful way to enact change? And how do we fight on, even when our efforts seem to bear no fruit? Inspiring, edifying, and transformative, this should be required reading for any citizen of the world.
There has been a great increase in literature concerned with the effects of a variety of mental training regimes that generally fall within what might be called contemplative practices, and a majority of these studies have focused on mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation practices can be conceptualized as a set of attention-based, regulatory, and self-inquiry training regimes cultivated for various ends, including wellbeing and psychological health. This article examines the construct of mindfulness in psychological research and reviews recent, nonclinical work in this area. Instead of proposing a single definition of mindfulness, we interpret it as a continuum of practices involving states and processes that can be mapped into a multidimensional phenomenological matrix which itself can be expressed in a neurocognitive framework. This phenomenological matrix of mindfulness is presented as a heuristic to guide formulation of next-generation research hypotheses from both cognitive/behavioral and neuroscientific perspectives. In relation to this framework, we review selected findings on mindfulness cultivated through practices in traditional and research settings, and we conclude by identifying significant gaps in the literature and outline new directions for research.
The aim of this article is to explore an approach to ‘mindfulness’ that lies outside of the usual Buddhist mainstream. This approach adopts a ‘non-dual’ stance to meditation practice, and based on my limited experience and training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, this non-dual notion of ‘mindfulness’ seems an especially appropriate point of comparison between Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Buddhism. That comparison itself will not be the focus here—given my own inexpertise and lack of clinical experience, it would be best to leave the comparison to others! Instead, the aim here will be to explore some features of ‘mindfulness’ in the context of non-dual styles of Buddhist practice. To begin, we will assess some difficulties that emerge when one attempts to speak of ‘mindfulness’ in Buddhism. Next, we will turn to the somewhat radical notion of ‘non-dual’ practice in relation to the more mainstream descriptions found in the Buddhist Abhidharma literature. We will then examine some crucial features of Buddhist non-dualism, including attitudes and theories about thoughts and judgments. A brief foray into specific practice instructions will help us to understand the role of ‘mindfulness’ in a specific non-dual tradition called, ‘Mahāmudrā’ (the ‘Great Seal’). Finally, after some reflection on ‘mindfulness’ in the non-dual practice of Mahāmudrā, I will conclude by considering a crucial issue: the context of practice.