Hein van Schie & Tim Gellings (Radboud University)
Can meditation trigger transcendental experiences? If so, how?
Little research has been conducted on the relationship between meditation and transcendental experiences. A recent large survey with 1130 participants practicing meditation (Vieten et al., 2018) indicates that the majority reported a high frequency of transcendental experiences during or in relation to their meditation practice. However, as a control group is missing in this research no definite conclusions can be drawn about the relationship between meditation and the occurrence of mystical or transcendental experiences. Furthermore, no distinction was made between transcendental experiences occurring during meditation and other activities during daily life. In the present research project, we investigate to what extent meditation experience is associated with transcendental experiences in daily life and during meditation. In addition, in an exploratory manner, we will investigate how meditators exactly induce these transcendental experiences during meditation. It is known that experiencing transcendental experiences comes with many benefits, such as reduction of depression and addiction or increase in meaning of life and overall well-being. Gaining information about the way in which meditators induce these transcendental experiences could have many practical benefits, such as allowing the possibility to devise a meditation plan which optimizes the odds of these experiences.