Meditation is a process concerning the condition of the person’s soul when his or her mind does not take part in the process. Meditation aims to relax, to forget all problems, and to try to look inside oneself. The process of meditation is rather long and complicated, as it may be difficult for people to keep out of the way all problems and to forget about them at least for a while.
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The article, “Deep states” of meditation: phenomenological reports of experience” written by D. Gifford-May and N. L. Thompson, represents the reader with the main idea and the aim of the meditation and explains the states of the meditation through the interviews. According to the article, meditation is “a group of practices that aim to transform consciousness through the deliberate alternation and control of attention” (Gifford-May and Thompson, 1994, p. 117). The deep states of meditation were summarized after the interviews of people. So, the discovered states are as follows,
- Transcendence beyond the normal physical and mental boundaries of the self.
- A different sense of reality.
- Positive emotions. (Gifford-May and Thompson, 1994)
The first state was experienced by absolutely all interviewees, and the last two were experienced optionally. The authors wrote about all these states, used some examples of meditation strategies to give the most understandable presentation of the research.
One of the strongest items of this research article is that the authors represented the reader with the quotations of the interviewees that give the impression of real communication with them and allows understanding the problem better. The authors decided not just give the description of received results, but to annotate the texts to “delineate descriptions of deep states of meditation, comparisons between meditation experiences, interpretations or reflections of an experience, to use the analogies of the description” (Gifford-May and Thompson, 1994, p. 122). There is one more feature of the research: there was no definite structure, so the interviewees could tell all feelings and emotions they experienced during the meditation.
There are some weaknesses of the research. One of them is that there was not told the age of the interviewees, and it plays not the last part, in our opinion. Having studied the article we understood that some interviewees had the first experience of the meditation so they could not give the valued and well-considered information. The absence of structure may be considered not only as a positive feature but also as negative: it could be difficult for some people to express their feelings without understanding what is exactly wanted.
The present research of meditation may be very useful in many other types of research, especially concerning psychology. The people’s inner world is very complicated and it is impossible to study it carefully. During the meditation the body of a person seems to be released from the mind, the person appears in the other world and experiences the other emotions. These experiences may be the key items in the description of people’s personalities and inner world.
So, the article represented the reader with the states of meditation, tried to explain their nature, and created some new topics for research, connected with these items.
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Gifford-May, D. Thompson, N. L. (1994). “Deep states” of meditation: phenomenological reports of experience. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Vol. 26, № 2.