A new study published in Mindfulness suggests that intensive meditation retreats can lead to profound changes in consciousness, particularly among experienced meditators.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, recruited 32 experienced meditators who had all participated in at least one meditation retreat before. Participants were randomly assigned to either an intensive meditation retreat or a control group that continued their daily routine.
The retreat group spent three weeks meditating for up to 10 hours per day. The control group continued their usual activities, but were asked to meditate for at least 30 minutes each day.
At the end of the three weeks, participants in the retreat group reported significantly higher levels of profound, meaningful, and mystical experiences than those in the control group. These experiences were characterized by feelings of unity with all things, a loss of self-identity, and a sense of transcendence beyond ordinary reality.
The researchers believe that these findings suggest that intensive meditation-based interventions can lead to profound changes in consciousness among experienced meditators. They say that these changes may be related to increased feelings of interconnectedness with others or nature and altered time perception.
However, the study has several limitations that should be considered when interpreting the results. First, the sample size was relatively small, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. Second, the study did not include a long-term follow-up to assess whether the effects of the retreat persisted over time. Finally, participants in the control group may have experienced changes in consciousness due to factors other than meditation.
Despite these limitations, the study provides valuable insights into the potential for intensive meditation-based interventions to induce profound, meaningful, and mystical experiences among experienced meditators. The findings suggest that these experiences may be related to increased feelings of interconnectedness with others or nature and altered time perception. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and explore meditation’s long-term effects on consciousness and well-being.
Overall, this study contributes to our understanding of the potential benefits of contemplative practices for psychological well-being and highlights the importance of using multivariate methods when analyzing complex data sets in this field.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation or participating in an intensive meditation retreat, please visit the Heartfulness website for free meditation training near you.
About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized author, professor, consultant, and speaker who has helped employees at The Coca-Cola Company, Holiday Inn, Verizon, Mercedes-Benz and others do a better job leading, managing, and mentoring others. To have him speak at your event or organization, email him at: Jamie@JamieTurner.Live