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Investigating the Depths of Consciousness Through Meditation

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This article explores the theory and practice of a contemplative phenomenology. In general, contemplative phenomenology investi gates and describes the activity and effects of meditation. Drawing on William James, I suggest that meditation can be understood as involving 'lowering the threshold' of consciousness. This includes, among other things, opening up access to unconscious processes. I exemplify an interdisciplinary approach to this idea by combining a recent remote associates test with first-person accounts. Based on further such accounts (historical and contemporary), I develop an outline of the forms of contemplative depth-experience. Taking a cue from Hegel, I argue that understanding deep contemplative experience may require a specific form of conceptuality characterized by synthetic universals. In contemplation this conceptuality can also manifest itself directly in the perceptual system, giving rise to an experience of transcending time and space. The results of this investigation provide an overview of the depths of contemplative experience primarily based on first-person accounts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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