By B.Sc. (physics), Ph.D. (philosophy), research leader at Center for Research in Existence and Society, Niels Viggo Hansen
Dept. of Sociology, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark
Post Conference Resources
Audio Presentation – listen here
Audio Q&A – listen here
From a “faith and health” perspective, the growing trend of using meditation techniques with a more or less direct aim of improving health must present an interesting borderline case. Many of the meditation techniques obviously have their origin in religious traditions but have – perhaps not unlike artistic and philosophical enterprises – found expressions that are independent of particular religious cultures while still to a large extent acknowledging that they care for spiritual processes that can at least be partly shared with religion. This presentation will focus on the philosophical question of the nature of meditation and its double role as an instrument of attaining specific individual goals (e.g. health related ones) and as a spiritual process pointing beyond the particular, the selfish or the pre-defined. As a main example it will outline an ongoing research project developing meditation based interventions to prevent lifestyle diseases, presented in the context of a half century’s history of research in meditation and health, and the parallel history of reception and development of meditation forms in the West.