Can meditation, yoga or mindfulness training help nurses and teachers be more effective and resilient in stressful situations? Can such contemplative practices be part of a more effective treatment regimen for major depression, or for alcoholics in recovery?

What can we learn about the mind from brain scans of advanced meditators engaged in deep meditation? And what are the commonalities between advanced meditation and athletes or artists who report being "in the zone" – focused on only the present task and moment, performing efficiently and gracefully, yet with no conscious sense of effort or thinking?

Those are just a few examples of the types of research that will be fostered by a new Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia, said David Germano, a professor of religious studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, who will help lead the new center.

Continue reading »