Opening Up Meditation for Science: The Development of a Meditation Classification System

Part of the Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality book series (SNCS, volume 2)


Defining meditation in order to conduct meditation research turns out to be close to impossible. This is, amongst others, related to the fact that the Western term “meditation” entails a wide range of different practices. From this perspective it does not make sense to use the term meditation or to perform research on such a generic concept without any further descriptions. So far contemplative science has taken a pragmatic approach towards this problem, mainly by referencing to certain spiritual traditions. More detailed descriptions of meditation practices are difficult to obtain since meditation is mainly about first person experiences and these experiences cannot be shared adequately. We try to overcome this problem here by developing a four dimensional modular descriptive system of meditation which draws only on behavioral and mental concepts of western psychology with the four dimensions (i) attention regulation, (ii) motivation (iii) attitude and (iv) practical context.


Meditation Practice Person Perspective Attention Regulation Executive Attention Meditation Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Robert Forman for help in clarifying the different Eastern notions referring to contemplative practices.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany
  2. 2.University Medical Center FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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