This paper will present preliminary research findings from the “Varieties of Contemplative Experience” study being conducted at Brown University under Dr. Willoughby Britton (PI). The study is investigating the full range of experiences reported by contemporary contemplative practitioners within Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. This paper will highlight our research into contemporary Theravadin Buddhist and Jewish mystical traditions, and will explore the concept of “nonlinear” contemplative development as it has been reported by practitioners, teachers, and the relevant textual sources within these respective traditions. Finally, the paper will consider the implications of “nonlinear” contemplative development for the emerging field(s) of contemplative science.

Nathan Fisher

University of California, Santa Barbara

Nathan Fisher received his BA in Religious Studies (Honors) from Vanderbilt University in 2011. He then joined the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at Brown University where he managed the “Varieties … MORE