1 Health Promotion, The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University2 The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University3 Childhood, Youth and Family Life Research, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University4 Roskilde Universitet
This presentation focuses on the genesis of meditation and mindfulness in the East for comprehension of these phenomena, which are increasingly applied and adapted in the current Western context. Their very origin from the East, particularly Buddhism and Yoga practices, directs our attention to the three major assumptions about human nature; the monoism between mind and body, the centrality of consciousness and meditation as a part of daily conduct. The mainstream Western understandings promoting the body-mind dualism are challenged by invoking the bodily experiences and consciousness emphasising experiential aspects. Similarly self- realization in a narrow sense is challenged by invoking an understanding of ethical living (advocated in the Buddhist Noble Eightfold path) and human existence as impermanent and interdependent. Thus cultivation of compassion and interconnectedness of being , heartfulness is perceived as a way of resisting dualisms and binaries regarding psychological, physical, social and spiritual realities. We conclude that without a holistic, integrated understanding of the basic principles and assumptions in which meditation and mindfulness are embedded, there is a risk for these phenomena becoming self dismantling practices and a part of negative societal symptomatic tendencies.