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Buddhist meditation practice is perceived as non-relational. Yet a serious meditator develops an intimacy with herself that is an asset to being in a healthy relationship. In this essay, using composite profiles of patients, I pursue my interest in relationships and family life as a path to mental health and a home to enlightened experience. The intimacy of a relationship with oneself, with another and within family provides a container that may enable us to let go of our fixed sense of self.

(RNS) The mindfulness movement has seeped into Silicon Valley, Capitol Hill, and even the United States Military Academy at West Point. Next stop: the voting booth. By Daniel Burke.

The purpose of this article is to show how moral imagination can be cultivated through meditation. Moral imagination was conceived as a three-stage process of ethical development. The first stage is reproductive imagination, that involves attaining awareness of the contextual factors that affect perception of a moral problem. The second stage, productive imagination, consists of reframing the problem from different perspectives. The third stage, creative imagination, entails developing morally acceptable alternatives to solve the ethical problem. This article contends that moral imagination can be cultivated through three kinds of meditation: non-discursive, semidiscursive, and discursive meditation. Part one shows how the seed of reproductive moral imagination is planted during sessions of nondiscursive meditation. Productive moral imagination, as will be shown in part two, is nurtured through semidiscursive meditation. Part three will demonstrate the flowering of creative moral imagination through discursive meditation. Reflection and small group discussion on each form of meditation will help to show business people how to cultivate moral imagination.

Two conditions for the development of empathy skill, compatible with social work curricula and staff development programs, were tested in a pretest-posttest design. Empathy skill was operationalized using a videotape of client-worker interviews coupled with a fixed response questionnaire. The first condition, an experiential-didactic course, produced no significant change in empathy. The second condition, a structured meditation experience, produced significant change but not beyond controls. Positive change in empathy scores significantly correlated with blind-ranked levels of meditation attainment. Scores of subjects exposed to the two conditions combined are compared with results of other studies. Limitations and implications are discussed.

This paper reports the results of a prospective experiment in which a group of approximately 4,000 participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi assembled in Washington, D.C., from June 7 to July 30, 1993. It was hypothesized that levels of violent crime in the District of Columbia would fall substantially during the Demonstration Project, as a result of the group's effect of increasing coherence and reducing stress in the collective consciousness of the District. A 27-member Project Review Board comprising independent scientists and leading citizens approved the research protocol and monitored the research process. Weekly crime data was derived from database records provided by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (DCMPD), which are used in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Statistical analysis considered the effect of weather variables, daylight, historical crime trends and annual patterns in the District of Columbia, as well as trends in neighboring cities. Consistent with previous research, levels of homicides, rapes and assaults (HRA crimes) correlated with average weekly temperature. Robberies approximately followed an annually recurring cycle. Time series analysis of 1993 data, controlling for temperature, showed that HRA crimes dropped significantly during the Demonstration Project, corresponding with increases in the size of the group; the maximum decrease was 23.3% (p < 2 × 10-⁹) [24.6% using a longer baseline, with 1988-1993 data (p < 3 × 10-⁵)], coincident with the peak number of participants in the group during the final week of the assembly. When the same period in each of the five previous years was examined, no significant decreases in HRA crimes were found. Robberies did not decrease significantly. However, a model that jointly estimated the effect of the Demonstration Project on both HRA crimes and robberies showed a significant reduction in violent crimes overall of 15.6% (p = 0.0008). Further analysis showed that the effect of the coherence-creating group on reducing HRA crimes could not be accounted for by additional police staffing. The time series analysis for HRA crimes gave results that are highly robust to alternative model specifications, and showed that the effect of the group size was cumulative and persisted after the Demonstration Project ended. Also, calculation of the steady state gain based on the time series model predicted that a permanent group of 4,000 coherence-creating experts in the District would have a long-term effect of reducing HRA crimes by 48%.

Ananda Marga (AM) Yoga was taught to male inmates at Wake Correctional Center in Raleigh, NC. A five-year study of 190 inmates found that those who were taught Ananda Marga (AM) Yoga were significantly less likely to be reincarcerated upon release. Subjects were divided into two groups, those who attended at least one, but less than four classes, and those who attended more than four classes. Differences in reincarceration rates between these two groups during a two-year post-release period were striking. Of those who attended more than four classes, 8.5% were reincarcerated, while 25.2% of those who attended fewer than four classes were reincarcerated during this same period. This difference was found to be statistically significant at the 0.025 level.

The authors offer a preliminary exploration of the theory underlying the ways in which mindfulness might be incorporated into social justice approaches to social work (such as structural, critical, and anti-oppressive social work) as a method to link the personal and political in direct practice. Mindfulness may provide a window for observing and investigating events in our everyday lives that can inform, while also being structured by, larger social relations and structures. Mindfulness and social justice approaches to social work theory, in particular critical social science theory, converge around the ideas of social relations, dialectics, consciousness, and self-reflection or reflexivity. There are tensions, however, and further development is needed of a social work practice that incorporates knowledge from both mindfulness and social justice approaches. Les auteurs font une première exploration de la théorie sous-tendant les moyens possibles d'intégrer la pleine conscience du moment présent aux approches de justice sociale en travail social (comme le travail social structurel, critique et anti-oppressif) comme méthode de conjugaison du personnel et du politique dans l'exercice direct de la profession. La pleine conscience du moment présent peut servir de fenêtre d'observation et d'investigation d'événements du quotidien susceptibles de nous éclairer tout en étant construite par de plus vastes relations et structures sociales. La pleine conscience du moment présent et les approches de justice sociale à la théorie du service social, en particulier la théorie critique des sciences sociales, gravitent autour des notions de relations sociales, de dialectique, de prise de conscience et d'autoréflexion ou réflexivité. Il y a toutefois des tensions et il faut continuer à travailler au développement d'un service social intégrant la connaissance issue tant de la pleine conscience du moment présent que des approches de justice sociale.

Using a randomized wait-list controlled design, this study evaluated the effects of a novel intervention, mindfulness-based relationship enhancement, designed to enrich the relationships of relatively happy, nondistressed couples. Results suggested the intervention was efficacious in (a) favorably impacting couples' levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, relatedness, closeness, acceptance of one another, and relationship distress; (b) beneficially affecting individuals' optimism, spirituality, relaxation, and psychological distress; and (c) maintaining benefits at 3-month follow-up. Those who practiced mindfulness more had better outcomes, and within-person analyses of diary measures showed greater mindfulness practice on a given day was associated on several consecutive days with improved levels of relationship happiness, relationship stress, stress coping efficacy, and overall stress.

Many unethical decisions stem from a lack of awareness. In this article, we consider how mindfulness, an individual's awareness of his or her present experience, impacts ethical decision making. In our first study, we demonstrate that compared to individuals low in mindfulness, individuals high in mindfulness report that they are more likely to act ethically, are more likely to value upholding ethical standards (self-importance of moral identity, SMI), and are more likely to use a principled approach to ethical decision making (formalism). In our second study, we test this relationship with a novel behavioral measure of unethical behavior: the carbonless anagram method (CAM). We find that of participants who cheated, compared to individuals low in mindfulness, individuals high in mindfulness cheated less. Taken together, our results demonstrate important connections between mindfulness and ethical decision making.

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