Can Loving Kindness Meditation Strengthen Social Connectedness? One Researcher Seeks to Find Out.

As a teenager in the 1990s, Abby Marsh experienced an accident that shaped the trajectory of her career. Traveling home late one night during a college break, Dr. Marsh swerved abruptly to avoid a dog that had run onto the freeway. Her car spun out of control—fishtailing and then skidding to a stop in the …

Clinical Research on Meditation & Physical Health Group Discussion

As scientific research establishes that many “physical diseases” are modulated by psychological processes such as stressful life events and emotions, the mechanisms underlying these interactions have been targets for scientific research. As the mechanisms become more well­ understood, the rationale for using meditation as an intervention for certain types of physical illnesses becomes more compelling and more solidly grounded in modern scientific research.

Clinical Research on Meditation & Physical Health: Neural-immune interaction

Various forms of stress affect specific brain systems and through alterations in these circuits, profound changes in immune function can arise. This talk will present an overview of modern research on the impact of different kinds of stress on specific immune processes. The mechanisms through which these effects are pro­duced will be described. This corpus of research can then be used to consider the mecha­nisms by which meditation may operate to influence diseases of the immune system.

Clinical Research on Meditation & Mental Health Group Discussion

This session will review the experimental evidence for the effectiveness of MBCT in reducing relapse rates for chronic depression, and how mindfulness might be functioning in the brain to regulate depressive cognitions, affect, and behaviors. The different elements comprising the meditation practices and approaches will be examined from the contemplative perspective, and cross-cultural issues discussed regard­ing content and context and how they may serve to synergistically opti­mize meditation-based interventions in Western and Asian settings.

Clinical Research on Meditation & Mental Health: Paths to recovery – neural substrates of cognitive and mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of depression

Functional neuroimaging has established that both non-pharmaco­logical and pharmacological treatments for depression both change the brain, though they change the brain in different ways. This pres­entation will present findings from positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of functional brain changes mediating depression remission using cognitive behavioral therapy. Differences between cognitive and pharmaco­logical interventions will be discussed in the context of limbic-cortical network model of depression.

Clinical Research on Meditation & Mental Health: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and the preven­tion of relapse in recurrent depression

The advent of effective treatments for mood disorders has provided relief for many depressed patients, yet staying well and preventing relapse are enduring challenges. The clinical application of mindfulness in this group acquaints patients with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously inviting them to develop a new relationship to these modes. Thoughts come to be seen as events in the mind, independent of their content and emotional charge. They need not be disputed, fixed or changed but can be held in a more spacious awareness.

The Whole Person Sits: Social Imaginaries of Practitioners and Researchers in the Scientific Study of Meditation

In a 1984 interview, Francisco Varela stated that “science, in its core, its active living core, is pure contemplation. It has little or nothing to do with manipulation.” In 2018, the utility of engaging in contemplative practice is pervasively promoted as justified by scientific evidence of its benefits. Yet this evidence is often weak, taken …

Adherence in naturalistic use of digital meditation-based interventions

Daniel Goldman and Richie Davidson, two eminent contemplative scientists, propose that with meditation practice there is a “deep path” that involves intensive practice for self-transformation and a “wide path” that involves less intensive practice to support mental health and emotional resilience. The wide path, which is meant to reach large numbers of people, is increasingly …