Awakening to the Past: Connecting Medical Meditation to Its Cultural and Historical Sources

Project Summary

This project is hosted by: Warburg Institute

Research interests:
Project period:
06-Jan-2019 - 31-Mar-2020
Project categories:
Research project
Project summary:

Meditation has become integral to modern life. NHS doctors prescribe mindfulness to reduce stress and manage pain and illness, while medical and neuroscientific research tests meditation’s effects.

We believe that history and social science can also help improve meditation’s health outcomes. This grant will gather experts to compare contemporary medical meditation—in its strengths and weaknesses—with other contemplative traditions. We will draw from Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic contemplative traditions and from the history of Western science, which in key respects emerged out of ascetic traditions. We will compare specific cases to the present, focusing on the community structures, cosmologies, and ideals of health associated with specific mind-body techniques. This holistic, comparative perspective may suggest ways to reposition and re-orient current practice.

Management Details

Lead researcher & project contact:

Name Position Institute Organisation Contact
John Tresch Warburg Institute School of Advanced Study, University of London



Funder Grant type Award
Wellcome Trust Small Grant in Humanities and Social Science £30,142.00