Psychological Studies

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 130–139 | Cite as

Spirituality and Meditative Practice: Research Opportunities and Challenges

  • Jean L. KristellerEmail author
  • Kevin D. JordanEmail author
Review Article


Meditative practices have a long history in India and have influenced contemporary meditative programs elsewhere in the world. Over the last several decades, the use of meditation as a therapeutic tool has been investigated in regard to physical, emotional and behavioral effects with impressive results. In parallel to this has been a growing interest in research on spirituality, spiritual growth, and therapeutic modalities that incorporate the spiritual dimension of the person. Ironically, very little research has explored the interface between these two constructs, despite how closely linked they are traditionally. This paper addresses the range of ways in which spirituality and spiritual development might be fruitfully investigated in the context of meditative practice, bringing further understanding to both psychological constructs. Furthermore, the widely recognized significance of both meditative and spiritual experiences suggests that cross-cultural research may be particularly valuable at identifying factors that engage the universal human capacity of spirituality, and the particular potential for meditative practice in doing so.


Spirituality Meditation Mindfulness Compassion Cross-Cultural 


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIndiana State UniversityTerre HauteUSA

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