Movement Based Meditation
Qi Gong, Tai’ Chi, and yoga are forms of specific movements that hold specific meanings. These are often practiced in a gentle fashion requiring a focus and mindfulness in order to complete the movement. These movements are intentioned to help the body release tension both in the literal and metaphorical sense. Many who are kinesthetic learners with high dexterity ability are drawn to this type of meditation.
Concept Based Meditation
Concept based meditation means a specific idea is being nurtured, rested on, or being requested of a higher power. In a variety of Christianity based prayers, peace and healing are being requested. In Dharmic religions, (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism) there are specific mantras chanted for peace, protection, and happiness for a specific number of times. 108 is considered a sacred number of times (this is why bracelets or necklaces with 108 prayer beads are helpful to hold as they help keep count while the mantra is repeated.)
Sensory meditations include focusing on breathing, as well as a sensory focus on different places within the body. A body scan is one such method of giving sequential focus to different body areas to notice what it’s feeling without judgement. Reportedly, for someone living with pain, this helps to notice what parts of the body are pain free.
The Britton Lab At Brown University Studies The Downside Of Meditation
Dr. Willoughby Britton and Dr. Jared Lindahl of Brown University, conduct an ongoing study on contemplative experiences encountered by contemporary practitioners, with a special focus on those being too challenged, or experiencing serious difficulties. Dr. Britton’s clinical research includes sleep, and novel treatment/prevention strategies for emotional disturbances. She recently completed a 3-year NIH-funded clinical trial on the neurophysiological effects of mindfulness meditation in depression, and continues to examine the link between sleep, affective disturbance and emotional regulation strategies.
Meditation is considered to be safe for healthy people. There have been rare reports that meditation could cause or worsen symptoms in people who have certain psychiatric problems, but this question has not been fully researched.
The Atlantic Interviews Dr. Britton
“One of her team’s preliminary tasks—a sort of archeological literature review—was to pore through the written canons of Theravadin, Tibetan, and Zen Buddhism, as well as texts within Christianity, Judaism, and Sufism. ‘Not every text makes clear reference to a period of difficulty on the contemplative path,’ Britton says, ‘but many did.’
‘There is a sutta,’ a canonical discourse attributed to the Buddha or one of his close disciples, ‘where monks go crazy and commit suicide after doing contemplation on death,’ says Chris Kaplan, a visiting scholar at the Mind & Life Institute who also works with Britton on the Dark Night Project.”
The Dark Knight of The Soul, The Atlantic, by Tomas Rocha, a research associate at the Mind & Life Institute and a doctoral student at Columbia University.
“There are parts of me that just want meditation to be all good. I find myself in denial sometimes, where I just want to forget all that I’ve learned and go back to being happy about mindfulness and promoting it, but then I get another phone call and meet someone who’s in distress, and I see the devastation in their eyes, and I can’t deny that this is happening.”Dr. Willoughby Britton, Ph.D.
Photo Credit: Britton Lab
Dr. Willoughby Britton is awarded the Karen T. Romer Prize for Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring At Brown University
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