The Science and Art of Meditation

What is meditation and why does it seem to help many people cope with the hassles of daily life? We will begin to answer these questions by exploring some of the basic approaches to meditation, with a broad focus on the distinction between mindfulness and concentrative techniques. In the “art of meditation” part of the class, we will learn about breathing focused and “loving kindness” meditation as well as other methods for developing mindfulness. In the “science of meditation” part of the class, we will read and discuss some of the emerging literature on the positive psychological and physiological consequences of meditation. During both the art and science portions of the class, we will focus extensively on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) approach, which is the most researched and empirically validated meditation currently available.

Instructor: William Arsenio

Four Mondays: October 12, 19, 26 and November 2: 6–7:30 p.m.
Wasch Center Butterfield Room: $90
William Arsenio
William Arsenio is a professor of psychology in the Clinical Program at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. He was a preschool teacher for nearly a decade before receiving his PhD in child development from Stanford University. His research focuses on the relations between children’s social and emotional competence, and more recently, on adolescents’ perceptions and moral evaluations of economic and societal inequalities. He and his students also are interested in how children and adults learn to regulate and control their mood states using empirically supported techniques from positive psychology (e.g., meditation, directed writing, and lifestyle modifications).