Perspectives on the Impact of Meditative Traits on Relationships among Advanced Practitioners of Meditation

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Virginia Tech


This qualitative study is an exploration of advanced meditators' understandings of how the personal traits developed through meditation have influenced their relationships. The term meditation refers to self-regulation practices that train attention and awareness. A "meditative trait" refers to the lasting effects in sensory, cognitive and self-referential awareness that continue whether or not the practitioner is actively engaged in meditation. These traits may have some influence on meditators' close relationships, but there has been little research of this effect to date. Seven participants were interviewed about their experiences of meditative traits, and how they have seen these traits affect their relationships. The meditative traits that the participants identified were (1) awareness of body sensations and emotions; (2) disidentification from emotions and thoughts; (3) acceptance of situations, oneself, and others; and (4) compassion and loving kindness for oneself and others. The relational effects of these traits were (1) less reactivity in relationships, (2) greater freedom and safety for the participants and the others with whom they are in relationship, (3) a new understanding of the nature of connection between people, which included an awareness of the unity and separation that exists among people, and a deepened experience of intimacy and independence within relationships. Also included are a discussion of the connections between these themes and the existing literature, the strengths and limitations of this study, and the implications for future research and family therapy practice.



traits, effects of meditation, relationships, marriage, meditation