A phenomenology of meditation-induced light experiences: traditional buddhist and neurobiological perspectives

@article{Lindahl2014APO,
  title={A phenomenology of meditation-induced light experiences: traditional buddhist and neurobiological perspectives},
  author={Jared R. Lindahl and Christopher T. Kaplan and Evan M. Winget and Willoughby B. Britton},
  journal={Frontiers in Psychology},
  year={2014},
  volume={4}
}
The scientific study of Buddhist meditation has proceeded without much attention to Buddhist literature that details the range of psychological and physiological changes thought to occur during meditation. This paper presents reports of various meditation-induced light experiences derived from American Buddhist practitioners. The reports of light experiences are classified into two main types: discrete lightforms and patterned or diffuse lights. Similar phenomena are well documented in… 

Tables from this paper

Challenging and Adverse Meditation Experiences: Toward a Person-Centered Approach
Challenging meditation experiences have been documented in Buddhist literature, in psychological research, and in a recent qualitative study by the authors. Some of the central questions in the
The varieties of contemplative experience: A mixed-methods study of meditation-related challenges in Western Buddhists
TLDR
Identifying a broader range of experiences associated with meditation, along with the factors that contribute to the presence and management of experiences reported as challenging, difficult, distressing or functionally impairing, aims to increase the understanding of the effects of contemplative practices.
The Phenomenology of Imaginative Consciousness in Steiner
Visual experiences occurring during meditation are central to many different religious, contemplative, and esoteric traditions. This is also true for anthroposophy. In Rudolf Steiner’s work,
Progress or Pathology? Differential Diagnosis and Intervention Criteria for Meditation-Related Challenges: Perspectives From Buddhist Meditation Teachers and Practitioners
TLDR
Qualitative data from Buddhist communities shows that there is a wider range of experiences that are evaluated as potentially warranting intervention than has previously been discussed, and it is important to expand the framework for assessment in both scholarly and clinical contexts to include not only criteria for determining normative fit with religious experience or with psychopathology.
Silence in Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation: An Evidence Synthesis Based on Expert Texts
TLDR
A key finding is that the experts indicate silence/quietness has a particular connection with stillness, and the absence of concepts, mental activity/noise, thoughts, and disturbance in the contentless experiences of Shamatha, Transcendental, and Stillness Meditation.
Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science
TLDR
A cross-sectional online survey to investigate the prevalence of a wide range of experiences in 1120 meditators shows that the majority of respondents report having had many of these anomalous and extraordinary experiences.
A qualitative study of motivations for meditation in anthroposophic practitioners
TLDR
This study presents an overview of different forms of motivations found in contemporary Anthroposophic meditation practice, improving upon a scheme developed by Shapiro by including additional types of motivations and being able to differentiate between forms of motivation that are fundamentally different.
Mindfulness-based Therapy in Modern Psychology: Convergence and Divergence from Early Buddhist Thought
Abstract This article offers a comparative analysis on mindfulness from mindfulness-based therapies in the contemporary literature and from Buddhist meditation practices in the Pāli Canon. This
...
1
2
3
4
5
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 189 REFERENCES
Awakening is not a metaphor: the effects of Buddhist meditation practices on basic wakefulness
TLDR
This interdisciplinary review aims to provide evidence of meditation's arousing or wake‐promoting effects by drawing both from Buddhist textual sources and from scientific studies, including subjective, behavioral, and neuroimaging studies during wakefulness, meditation, and sleep.
Meditation-Induced Changes in Perception: An Interview Study with Expert Meditators (Sotapannas) in Burma
Effects and implications of meditation, especially mindfulness-based practices, have become a focus of research in clinical and nonclinical studies over the past two decades. This qualitative study
EEG alpha blocking correlated with perception of inner light during zen meditation.
TLDR
A significant correlation was observed between perception of the inner light and electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha blockage in the meditation experiment and during the blessing period, significant alpha blocking was observed in experimental subjects who had been practicing meditation for years in preparation for being in resonance with theinner light.
Mindfulness, by any other name…: trials and tribulations of sati in western psychology and science
The Buddhist construct of mindfulness is a central element of mindfulness-based interventions and derives from a systematic phenomenological programme developed over several millennia to investigate
Differences in Visual Sensitivity among Mindfulness Meditators and Non-Meditators
TLDR
The results support the statements found in Buddhist texts on meditation concerning the changes in perception encountered during the practice of mindfulness, and may reflect an enduring increase in sensitivity.
Meditation and the Neuroscience of Consciousness: An Introduction
The overall goal of this chapter is to explore the initial findings of neuroscientific research on meditation; in doing so, the chapter also suggests potential avenues of further inquiry. It has
A qualitative analysis of sensory phenomena induced by perceptual deprivation
Previous studies have shown that misperceptions and illusory experiences can occur if sensory stimulation is withdrawn or becomes invariant even for short periods of time. Using a perceptual
Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Hallucinations during Sleep Paralysis: Neurological and Cultural Construction of the Night-Mare
TLDR
A three-factor structural model of HHEs based on their relations both to cultural narratives and REM neurophysiology is developed and tested with several large samples and central features of the model developed here are consistent with recent work on hallucinations associated with hypnosis and schizophrenia.
Sensory Isolation in Flotation Tanks: Altered States of Consciousness and Effects on Well-being
A qualitative analysis (The Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method) of interviews involving eight patients (depression, burn-out syndrome, and chronic pain) was carried out in order to
...
1
2
3
4
5
...