The practice of meditation is believed to have existed well before written history. Today, the growth of research on meditation and the development of new applications incorporating meditation are advancing exponentially. This rapid expansion is due to the efforts of clinicians, theorists, and researchers — all of whom are interested in legitimizing meditation research by secularizing the various practices, translating them into clinically relevant interventions, and examining the effects of meditation on biological outcomes such as brain structure and function, immunity, and stress hormones. And yet, there is much more to know.
IONS research has distinguished meditation as one of the key fundamental practices for fostering positive transformations in consciousness, and reveals the prevalence and importance of often neglected meditative experiences — including experiences of oneness and interconnectedness; samadhis and siddhis; shakti and kundalini energies; karma, past-life recall and reincarnation experiences; visions, synchronicities, precognition, and extra-sensory perception; experiences of God, deities, and other non-physical entities.
Under IONS direction, 20 leading meditation researchers explored how to rigorously and scientifically investigate such experiences and their potential role in the effects of meditation practice. The results of these efforts include a new online course, designed for new and existing meditation researchers.
Presented as a series of video lectures by experts in the field of meditation research, this online offering suggests potentially fruitful areas for expanding the science of meditation, and shares theories and hypotheses, measures and protocols, and suggestions for new or understudied lines of inquiry.