Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending:Categories to organize meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinesetraditions
, Jonathan Shear
Center for the Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, Maharishi University of Management, 1000 North 4th Street, Fairﬁeld, IA 52557, United States
Maharishi University of Management Research Institute, Maharishi Vedic City, IA 52557, United States
Department of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, 817 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284-9002, United States
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 29 March 2008Available online xxxx
MeditationMindfulnessTMTranscendental MeditationCoherenceZenTibetan BuddhismGammaAlpha
a b s t r a c t
This paper proposes a third meditation-category—
— to extendthe dichotomy of
proposed by Lutz.
includes techniques designed to transcend their own activity. This contrastswith f
, which keeps attention focused on an object; and
,which keeps attention involved in the monitoring process. Each category was assignedEEG bands, based on reported brain patterns during mental tasks, and meditations werecategorized based on their reported EEG.
, characterized by beta/gammaactivity, included meditations from Tibetan Buddhist, Buddhist, and Chinese traditions.
, characterized by theta activity, included meditations from Buddhist, Chi-nese, and Vedic traditions.
, characterized by alpha1 activity,included meditations from Vedic and Chinese traditions. Between categories, the includedmeditations differed in focus, subject/object relation, and procedures. These ﬁndings shedlight on the common mistake of averaging meditations together to determine mechanismsor clinical effects.
2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Meditation practices are embedded in different cultures, worldviews, and traditions, which confounds discussions be-tween meditation traditions. Neuroscience provides the language of brain functioning to discuss meditation practices. Brainpatterns reﬂect the cognitive processes used in meditation practices (attention, feeling, reasoning, visualization), the waythese processes are used (minimal- to highly-controlled cognitive processing), and the objects of meditation (thoughts,images, emotions, breath) (seeShear, 2006). Thus, brain patterns could provide an objective ‘‘language” to discuss proce-dures and experiences resulting from different meditation practices.Lutz has divided meditation practices into two categories:
meditation, which entails voluntary andsustained attention on a chosen object, and
, which includes techniques designed to transcend their own activity.
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Corresponding author. Address: Center for the Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, Maharishi University of Management, 1000 North 4th Street,Fairﬁeld, IA 52557, United States.
Consciousness and Cognition
ARTICLE IN PRESS
Please cite this article in press as: Travis, F., & Shear, J. Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: Categories toorganize meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinese traditions.
Consciousness and Cognition