WHAT IS CONTEMPLATIVE SCIENCE?
Contemplative Science involves the scholarly and scientific investigation of contemplative practices. Such research may involve the study of general techniques that focus attention in a sustained fashion with the aim of deepening states of concentration, tranquility, and insight. It may involve volitional first-person phenomenology ranging from the rather common, uncultivated, spontaneous experiences of absorption in an activity, to philosophical inquiry into the nature of mind and the most profound, deliberately cultivated experiences of non-duality through meditation. Contemplative research may also include Mind and Body practices, including a large and diverse group of techniques or practices involving systematic training of mind, integration of embodied, embedded, and/or enactive forms of cognition, and techniques that manipulate bodily systems with the intention of healing or a flourishing constitution. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, and yoga are examples of Mind and Body practices (see https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/mind-and-body-practices). Contemplative research may also involve investigation into fundamental principles of well being, including a sense of purpose, meaning, ways of knowing and experiencing the world, altruistic forms of motivation, love, kindness, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and philosophical understanding of the Self, no-self, wisdom, and the nature of suffering. Contemplative research may also include investigation into social justice, ethical, and philosophical inquiry into justice, conflict, and peace for humanity and beyond. In the most general sense, “contemplative neuroscience” refers to the study of the underlying neurobiology, psychology, and phenomenology of human contemplative experience”.
What is contemplation and meditation?
Contemplation comes from the Latin, contemplatio and Greek, Theoria. The word, “Contemplation” often appears in the old Testament along with the word “meditation” and is seen in texts from all wisdom-based traditions and religions. Together, contemplation and meditation are most often described as any practice involving self-regulation of attention – used for spiritual purposes or philosophical understanding of the mind.
The word “contemplative” and “contemplation” come from the Latin, contemplatio and Greek, Theoria. Meditation is a translation for the word, Hāgâ in the Old Testament. It is also translated from the word, Melete (Grk) and Meditatio (Latin). From Hindu-Vedanta and Buddhist perspectives, meditation has become the translation for the Sanskrit and Tibetan words, Dhyāna(Sanskrit); Bhavana (Sanskrit); sgoms (Tibetan) (~6th century BCE) meaning “cultivation of familiarity” with mind and “mental development”. The word, “Contemplation” often appears in the old Testament along with the word “meditation” and is seen in texts from all wisdom-based traditions and religions. In the Classical period (5th-8th CE), contemplation and meditation were a general technique of focusing attention in a sustained fashion with the aim of deepening states of concentration, tranquility, and insight. Insight in the Christian theological tradition was with the nature of God. In Greco-roman philosophy, insight was obtained to reveal the nature of mind. Together, contemplation and meditation are most often described as any practice involving self-regulation of attention – used for spiritual purposes or philosophical understanding of the mind.
HOW MUCH DO WE KNOW ABOUT MEDITATION FROM RESEARCH?
MORE VIDEOS ON CONTEMPLATIVE SCIENCE
The future of Contemplative Science
What is the future of Contemplative Science? The Mind and Life Institute describes some of the goals for this field.
Well-being as a skill – Richie Davidson
Richie Davidson speaks on contemplative neuroscience from Brown
Alan Wallace on Contemplative Science
Alan Wallace describes the emerging field of contemplative science
Brown scholars on Contemplative Studies
Scholars and Scientists comment on what Contemplative Studies entails
Dan Goleman on Contemplative experience and human flourishing
Dan Goleman on Contemplative Experience
Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
CMind talks about “what are contemplative practices”?