Origins of Mindfulness & Meditation: Interplay of Eastern & Western Psychology

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Mindfulness & meditation are gaining popularity in the Western psychological practice in the past 3-4 decades, especially within psychotherapeutic approaches, health promotion, and stress reduction. The origins and the broader context, however, seem to be overlooked in some of these practices.
This article focuses on the origin of these phenomena in the first part, as it is important for both their interpretation and application in the current Western context. As these practices, entered Western psychology through India, basic assumptions about human nature in Indian psychology- monoism of body- mind, centrality of consciousness and meditation as a part of daily conduct are presented. The basic constructs of Buddhism, an integral part of Indian psychology, in relation to mindfulness and meditation, are also delineated as illustrations of these assumptions.
The second part reflects on the application of the meditative practices through cognitive existential study of mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003) and a study on the phenomenology of meditation (Madsen, 2007). Both emphasise an experienced instructor, regular practice as a part of daily life, conceptual consciousness understandings for beneficial effects of these practices.
The last part reflects critically on perils of mindfulness and meditation in the context of modernity. There is an appeal for considering these as a part of daily life, not just a technique, along with considering their origin, spirituality as compassion, interplay between the Eastern and Western psychological understandings and the broader context.
TidsskriftPsyke og Logos
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)220-239
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2011


  • Mindfullness
  • Human nature in Indian Psychology
  • Consciousness
  • Daily conduct
  • Meditation

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