Society & Culture
Dr. Miguel Farias - The Buddha Pill
The Buddha Pill – Highlighting the Shadow Side of Mindfulness and Meditation with Dr. Miguel Farias
Aired Thursday, 4 April 2019, 7:00 PM ET
Mindfulness and meditation are practiced by millions of people around the world and their benefits are being hailed by everyone from neuroscientists, doctors, and mental health professionals to parents and teachers. The popularity of mindfulness programs has exploded, and they’re being offered in schools and prisons, in workplaces and homes because, of course, everyone knows that mindfulness and meditation can transform our lives and make us happier, calmer, and better people… but is that always true?
While there’s little doubt that millions swear by meditation, which is often advocated as a “magic pill,” there’s also a darker side to these activities, for both meditation and mindfulness have been known to have seldom-discussed negative side effects.
In his book, The Buddha Pill – Can Meditation Change Us? Dr. Miguel Farias and his co-author Dr. Catherine Wikholm examine 40 years of clinical studies on the effects of Transcendental and Mindfulness and shares the results of their research on the effects of yoga meditation on inmates within UK prisons.
Dr. Farias joins Sandie this week to discuss his research on meditation and the science behind it, as well as some of the questions raised in his book about the myths and limitations of mindfulness and meditation. Topics include:
• What science can tell us about meditation and mindfulness – and how accurate are those glowing statistics?
• Why some clinical research has been found to be rife with problematic biases
• If meditation makes us nicer, more compassionate individuals why do some individuals, including advanced meditators, still behave like assholes?
• Do mindfulness and meditation work for everyone?
• The 7 myths and facts about meditation and mindfulness… and more
Dr. Miguel Farias is an experimental psychologist and Founding Diretor of the Brain, Belief & Behaviour Lab at Great Britain’s Coventry University. He has pioneered brain research on the pain alleviating effects of spirituality and the psychological benefits of yoga and meditation, and is the lead editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Meditation. His book, The Buddha Pill – Can Meditation Change Us? co-authored with Dr. Catherine Wikholm, which set the media and academic worlds alight when the first edition was published in 2015, has now been updated with the latest research.
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