July 8, 2014
This review was prepared by Shapiro, Brown and Astin (2008), for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
There is growing interest in the integration of meditation into higher education (Bush, 2006). This paper reviews empirical evidence related to the use of meditation to facilitate the achievement of traditional educational goals, to help support student mental health under academic stress, and to enhance education of the “whole person.” Drawing on four decades of research conducted with two primary forms of meditation, we demonstrate how these practices may help to foster important cognitive skills of attention and information processing, as well as help to build stress resilience and adaptive interpersonal capacities. This paper also offers directions for future research, highlighting the importance of theory-based investigations, increased methodological rigor, expansion of the scope of education-related outcomes studied, and the study of best practices for teaching meditation in educational settings.