A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of mindfulness meditation on prosocial behavior found, essentially, that there is no evidence that it works. I find these results entirely unsurprising, and they yet again highlight the need for rigorous research before concluding that a phenomenon is real.
As a 'Buddhist sympathiser' I have my doubts about this - as mindfulness training can have real benefits. But as I suspected, the article raises more questions than it actually answers (especially about the legitimacy and validity of the research). For example, it even admits that the study did not have a clear definition of just what constituted 'mindfulness' (if the definition in the article is anything to go by, they missed the mark entirely. But if you can't define the phenomenon, how can you measure against it or make meaningful correlations?).
For me, mindfulness practice does help (especially when driving, whereby I find I can get distracted by a lot of unnecessary stimuli).
Essentially, this piece concludes that 'that there is no evidence that it works' AND 'there is no definitive evidence that it does not work'.
Evan said:Essentially, this piece concludes that 'that there is no evidence that it works' AND 'there is no definitive evidence that it does not work'.
That's a liberal interpretation of the conclusion.
Evan said:As a 'Buddhist sympathiser' I have my doubts about this - as mindfulness training can have real benefits.
I, too, am a Buddhist sympathiser. It's the only religion I find remotely congenial. I especially like the idea that we can, through conscious and dedicated practice, achieve a form of enlightenment. I've used mindfulness myself, and have found it to be quite helpful. I think I'd find watching TV to be the exact opposite of the state that mindfulness can help me to achieve! I think one of the most 'mindful' things I ever did was to get rid of my TV. 15 years ago now. Don't miss it, and will never have another one.
I don’t understand everything the article talks about but as for meditation/mindfulness, I think it’s required, in one form or another and to whatever degree, to get some level of introspection. But who knows. It’s like with anything else, if it’s of benefit to you, go ahead. I’ve been a meditator for about 15 years, it’s helped a lot, I’m not doing much meditation at present, and I have no idea if I’ll do any more in the future, but I suspect I will, but I might not! I’m not sure I know anything at the minute.