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Durham e-Theses
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The practice of meditation and its cognitive contexts

Todd, Christopher J. (1981) The practice of meditation and its cognitive contexts. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Meditation techniques are described; therapeutic and mystical contexts of practice are discussed; the physiological and psychological research is reviewed. Meditation induces a relaxed hypnagogic type state, and is associated with both therapeutic and mystical effects. Semantic differential (SD) and mysticism scales were administered to meditators and non-meditating controls. Statistical analysis reveals three significantly different groups: (1) non-meditators; (2) therapeutic and (3) mystical context mediators' second study at a Buddhist centre is reported. Four techniques are used: participant observation; a Ganzfeld description; an informal semi- structured interview and the semantic differential. Cluster analysis of the SD data reveals the lay and ordained groups not to differ significantly. The patterning of the groups' data is explicated. Meaning of specific concepts is revealed to be important. Meditation techniques practised, their effects and general outlook of the interviewees are described and discussed. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the meanings attributed to these by interviewees. Content analysis of the interview data reveals expectation and experience of meditation effect to be correlated. There is no significant difference between lay and ordained groups for expectation and experience of therapeutic effects; however, there is a significant difference for mystical effects. Lay and ordained groups differ in their Ganzfeld description. It is concluded that the lay mislabel an hypnagogic state as a mystical state. The context of practice is associated with outcome. Implications for other studies are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1981
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:55

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