Many forms of meditation in the West have been incorporated into an individualistic understanding of people, in which a person attempts to cultivate love, compassion, and wisdom through their own effort. This project will examine the impact of recovering a traditional relational framework to compassion training. Within a relational framework, practitioners first learn to experience themselves within a field of care, which supports them to extend care to others with more sustainability and inclusion. We hypothesize that this relational framework can establish a sense of self that is deeply connected to others as a support for overcoming interpersonal and societal problems rooted in disconnection. Across two studies, we will test the difference between relational and autonomous frameworks of meditation to cultivate empathy and compassion, and assess psychological mechanisms underlying more sustainable and inclusive care, including efficacy to help others and expansive moral concern.

Paul Condon, PhD

Southern Oregon University

Fellow, Grantee, Reviewer