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Empirical Studies of Contemplative Practices

“After decades of teaching contemplative practices, I am deeply familiar with the wide range of benefits that practice can have in people’s lives. Contemplative practice is an intensely subjective experience, however — how do we describe the nature of mindfulness and measure its effects objectively? There are significant challenges for scientists and others in mapping this territory (the lack of a common definition of mindfulness is just one), but we have come a long way in the last 40 years or so. This multidisciplinary collection of work does an excellent job of sharing the progress to date and pointing towards next steps.”
Sharon Salzberg,
Author of Loving Kindness and Real Love

“If you are interested in the potentialities of integrating contemplative approaches into higher education but unsure about their effects, universality and implementation, then this important volume is for you. Filled with subtle yet eminently practical wisdom and analysis, this collection takes important strides in clarifying how we can use and, most importantly, evaluate contemplative methods throughout higher education.”

Daniel Barbezat
Ward H. Patton Professor of Economics
Amherst College

“This outstanding set of chapters joins the work of cutting edge scientists involved in pushing the field of contemplative science to its deeper and more critical phase. Good science is achieved by taking stock not merely of what we study but also of how we do research and how we ground our claims. These contributions are timely in this respect, as they respond to many of the critical questions raised in current discourse in regards to measuring the outcomes as well as the processes of contemplative practices. Spanning diverse disciplines and fields including psychology, neuroscience, communication and technology among others, this volume both presents substantial methodological groundings for the further development of this field, and offers illuminating case-studies that demonstrate the importance of incorporating contemplative practices in education. This is a much-needed addition to this exciting and exponentially developing field that demonstrates the incredible variety and potential of contemplative practices for human development.”
Oren Ergas (PhD)
Beit Berl College, Israel

“If mindfulness and other contemplative practices are to be embedded into key areas of society, including education, healthcare and business, then researchers and developers must deeply consider the insights and recommendations put forth in Empirical Studies of Contemplative Practices. This timely collection provides a roadmap of novel strategies to structure, measure and analyze the myriad of introspective approaches in this burgeoning field, as well as case-studies to illustrate them. The authors’ emphasis on maintaining ecologically valid environments and tools for measurement helps to guide researchers so they can avoid the classic reductionist trap, ensuring outcomes that are actionable, repeatable and sustainable in real-world applications, outside of the research lab. Insights gleaned from this book will help to expand our understanding of how contemplative practices can bolster human flourishing.”
Laura Bakosh, Ph.D.
Co-Founder Inner Explorer, Inc.

“This important book edited by Diane Grimes, Qiu Wang, and Hong Lin is must reading for any serious scholar, teacher, or practitioner of contemplative practice. The effort of the authors to bring a rigorous lens to the definitions, practices and scientific study of this fascinating area of human development will no doubt prove to be a watershed event as the scientific community grapples with getting more mastery in this field.”
Patton (aka Dinabandhu) Sarley
Past CEO of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health

“As the founding director of Syracuse University’s Contemplative Collaborative, I am pleased to endorse this groundbreaking book. It represents some of the results of our collaboration, the scholarly aspect of which has extended far beyond the Syracuse University campus. Assessing what we do, difficult as it may seem, will provide the information needed to improve our ability to truly be of use, whether bringing contemplative practices into classrooms and student programming, or other offerings to members of our communities, near and far.”
Reverend Bonnie Shoultz, Founding Director of Syracuse University’s Contemplative Collaborative
Buddhist Chaplain
Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel

“In the simplest expression of his dispensation, the Buddha is said to have declared that he teaches only suffering and the end of suffering. Historically, Buddhism has spread around the globe by adapting to the cultures and sensibilities of those it encounters while maintaining this core teaching. As these contemplative practices continue to root in the West, studies like this will prove to be important as Eastern spiritual traditions meet Western scientific traditions. With the continued deepening of this convergence, studies such as this will continue to explore not only positive ancillary aspects of meditation like stress reduction, but also bring modern understandings to the nature of the goal itself—suffering, its cause, the possibility of its end, and the way to that end.”
Gary Steinberg
Stone Mountain Meditation

Empirical Studies of Contemplative Practices