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The aim of this article is threefold: It attempts to 1) identify the characteristics of East Asian forms of meditation, as compared to meditation in other parts of the Eurasian continent; 2) test the usefulness of a definition of meditation as a self-administered technique for inner transformation; and 3) test the usefulness of a classification of meditation techniques based on generic features of the meditation object, in particular location (external vs. internal), agency (spontaneous vs. produced), and faculty (cognitive vs. sensory). While the variation among East Asian forms of meditation is considerable, they (along with Indic forms) are often more technical and less consistently devotional than their Western counterparts, and less often sound-based than their Indic counterparts. In a number of ways, both the definition and classification system suggested turn out to be helpful in the analysis of East Asian forms of meditation. Keywords: meditation, mental attitude, meditation object, body, breathing, subtle body, visualisation, direct contemplation, keyword meditation, devotion

The effects of Zen breath meditation were compared with those of relaxation on college adjustment. 75 undergraduates (aged 17–40 yrs) were divided into 3 groups using randomized matching on the basis of initial anxiety scores of the College Adjustment Scales. Ss also completed the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale. The 3 groups included, meditation, relaxation, and control. Training for the meditation and relaxation groups took place during a 1-hr instructional session with written instructions being distributed. After 6 wks anxiety and depression scored significantly decreased for the meditation and relaxation groups. Interpersonal problem scores also significantly decreased for the meditation group.

Used psychometric concepts developed by the 2nd author to study the quality of changes in creative functioning resulting from training in meditation. 24 undergraduates who experienced meditation training and 10 undergraduates who experienced training in relaxation were administered the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking before and after training. Meditators attained statistically significant gains in heightened consciousness of problems, perceived change, invention, sensory experience, expression of emotion/feeling, synthesis, unusual visualization, internal visualization, humor, and fantasy. Relaxation training Ss manifested significant drops in verbal fluency, verbal originality, figural fluency, and figural originality and significant gains in sensory experience, synthesis, and unusual visualization. When the linear models procedure was used to compare the changes, it was found that the changes of the meditation group exceeded those of the relaxation group on perceived change resulting from new conditions, expression of emotion, internal visualization and fantasy. (10 ref)