|Trans||Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften||15. Nr.||August 2004|
3.8. Well Being. Integrating
Eastern Knowledge in Western Culture and Western Knowledge in
Marja K. Taams & Maurits G.T Kwee (Transcultural Society for Clinical Meditation)
In July 1990 an international group of scientists and scholars meeting in Kyoto, Japan, established The Transnational Network for the Study of Physical, Psychological & Spiritual Wellbeing (TNSPPSW). The Network had begun as an informal group of core members and friends (that in the present form include J. Austin, M. Drummond, J. Dua, L. Freeman, T. Holdstock, M. Ichii, J. Kabat-Zinn, H. Kato, B. Khong, H.Kief, R. Kloppenborg, Y. Konno, F. Koshikawa, N. Kubota, M. Mahoney, K. Krishna Mohan, Y.Mohan, H. Nakajima, S. Nakamura, T. Oei, A. Onda, J. Pitayataratorn, C. Pert, M. Qian, M. Quintana Santana, M. Regmi, D. Rothenberg, A. Saito, Y. Sasaki, Y. Sawada, D. Shapiro Jr, S. Srinivasan, E. Stutchbury, G. Sugamura, M. Suzuki, J. Teasdale, K. Toombs, N. Tremblay, H. Wallnöfer, W. Wang, G. Weil, Y. Wu, H. de Wit, W. Yu, Y. Yuasa). With kind sponsorship from the Ibuka Foundation of Japan and the able leadership of Y. Haruki, conferences on various themes have been held in different parts of the world, in or near: Brussels (1992), Tokyo (1993), Montreal (1996), Beijing (1998), Amsterdam (2000), and Sydney (2002). Many researchers have been involved in these conferences as speakers (see Proceedings below) which merits continuation of the Network's activities. As the period of sponsorship from Ibuka has come to an end an alternate organizational structure is herein proposed.
To provide continuity, connection, and potential for growth, we have created a web-based society called the Transnational Society for Clinical Meditation (TSCM) and organized a 'click and mortar' office in The Netherlands with internet membership for people with interests in studying an integrative approach to human wellbeing. Marja Taams and Maurits Kwee serve as Directors of TSCM, supported by an Executive-Advisory Board. Members of this board are: P. Bankart, M. Blows, M. DelMonte, Y. Ishii, R. Kawano, R. Kertesz, W. Mikulas, Y. Sakairi, P. de Silva, M. Tophoff, while Y. Haruki serves as TSCM's Honorary President. A valued patron of TSCM is World Health Organization's director-general emeritus: H. Nakajima.
Our main goal is to encourage efforts to study and practice forms of meditation serving human wellbeing and complementing the offerings of professional psychotherapy. Clinical Meditation (CM), as here and elsewhere described, is an experiential practice that is well developed in Asian wisdom traditions. CM aims to integrate Eastern and Western approaches to health and healing by promoting contemplative lifestyles. The adjective "clinical" is chosen to denote (a) the private and most confidential context of application, (b) the individual meaning and elaboration of one's meditative practice, and (c) the idiosyncratic nature of its benefits, which may include emotional balancing, preventive health care, and growth/self-actualization. We encourage a transcultural stance and technical eclecticism.
Meditation is not techniques, but any specific induced mindful experience via one's BASIC-I.D. (Behaviors, Affects, Sensations, Images, Cognitions, Interpersonal relations, and Drugs/entheogens) might be a springboard to not forgetfully attend the herenow purposefully and non-judgementally, accruing absorption and eventually an attitude of witnessing in choiceless awareness (e.g., via Vipassana or Zazen). It is no wonder that there exist numerous formally described meditations to cleanse the mind and attain altered states of consciousness. The state of the art of classifying meditation techniques is in a mess. Nevertheless it seems that outcome studies on some clinically applied meditations have matured in the past seven decades, generally resulting in confirmations of its relatively salubrious effects. Most techniques stem from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Judaic, Sufi, and Taoist traditions. Of the existing grand doctrines we recognize Buddhist and Taoist practices - and Zen as its blending - as a mode of meditative living that strive for self-realization without worshipping a Deity and might therefore be practiced without giving up one's devotion and religion. By embracing constructivism as a secular meta-psychology - that largely overlaps the perennial psychology of Zen - we believe to be in the middle of a paradigm shift wherein we stand for the synthesis of the-East-and-the-West as an enlightened mentality in our clinical practice.
As there are as many meditations as gurus and allegiances pledged, we try to ferret out the false from the real. We adhere to the use of meditations drawn from diverse sources without also necessarily subscribing to the notions that spawned them. In order to meet the canon of scientific specificity - which meditation technique works best for whom and under what circumstances? - we are interested in any technique as long as (a) it is applicable across cultures, (b) stripped off of any idolatry and religious doctrine, and (c) its effects can be proven empirically. Thus, we wish to stimulate best clinical practice (evidence based) and further a well founded status for the field. This includes the search for adequate theories that are capable to account for and make sense out of bewildering practices and assertions while heeding Occam's razor. We stimulate inquiry that is amenable to scientific evaluation and theoretical integration.
Weprofessionalism by advancing a health profession that respects the canons of empirical science based on a wholistic BioPsychoSocial-and-Spiritual outlook of existence.is defined as a subfield of clinical psychology and complementary counterpart of psychotherapy based on the academic knowledge gathered in the second half of the 20th century on until now about the clinical application of Eastern meditation techniques. Its goal is to understand and help individuals to practice meditation in order to alleviate existential-emotional suffering, to attain states beyond pure emotion tolevels of consciousness known as Satori.studies reveal that a selection of meditation techniques secured favorable results in the areas of health promotion, prevention, care, healing, and managerial functioning. To date, CM - although capable of mitigating and extenuating clinical symptoms as an adjunct, pre-therapy, or preventive measure - cannotadamant claims for cure. Thus, TSCM studies the alleviation of existential neurosis & psychological growtha wisdom traditions' perspective. Transcultural stands for: beyond cultural confines & national boundaries, Society for: promoting free web-based memberships, e-Library, e-Journal, academic curriculum, Ph.D.-thesis coaching, conventions, symposia, awards, lectures, workshops, etc. Clinical for: individual matching, tailoring, diagnosing personality and psychopathology (as listed in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), and Meditation for: all meditations, especially NeoZEN, an exponent of TSCM. (The first Ph.D. thesis, an empirical and theoretical study, which was approved by a Utrecht University Netherlands' committee included four TSCM core members - Y. Haruki, R. Kertesz, R. Kloppenborg, and M. Kwee - saw printer's light: "Chan Buddhism: Implications of Awareness and Mindfulness-Training for Managerial Functioning" by M. Tophoff (see below for a reference).
Where do we go from here?
TSCM wishes to realize the advancement, dissemination, and implementation of CM for the alleviation of human emotional suffering and Satori (enlightenment). It bows for no religious creed, is against any cult, sect, zealotry, or delimited schools of thought, and places science in its center. We envision a quantum leap in the foreseeable future, i.e. that ultimate progress will simultaneously come from biotechnological hardware as a tangible result of genomics and nanotechnology (e.g., changing atoms to transform coal into diamond. The unveiling of the human genome and development of cellular semiconductors will likely provide humankind the possibility of longevity in good health and a computerized condition for instant Satori. What can be our task going forward when the state of Nirvana is endorsed by molecular chips? We submit that the experiencing of emotional states and spirituality as well as sense and meaning making remain a human quality for which no technological surrogate exists. This implies that by then we will still be in need of CM when striving for inner balance and growth, like software providing content for the hardware. When gurus and disciplinary hardship have outlived their usefulness, we ourselves are in charge to decide whether or not to turn on the hardware, to apply the software, and to speed our beings to a next evolutionary phase of 'Buddhahood' (by lack of a better word). CM including technical eclecticism and the ethics of attaining enlightenment (necessarily culture free) might provide some answers to overcome stumbling blocks down the road. The future might bring about a postgraduate curriculum for a certified education in a new academic profession of 'Master of Clinical Meditation Studies (CMS)' to warrant quality in the mushrooming market of spirituality.
The TSCM had its first convention in Bari, Italy (2003) as part of the 8th Congress of the Society for Constructivism in the Human Sciences (SCHS), directed by M. J. Mahoney. At this joint congress a confluence was established between SCHS and the TSCM. Indeed we have found in constructivism a comprehensive postmodern meta-theory for the human sciences in general and CM in particular. TSCM embraces the SCHS conceptualization of human beings as "actively complex, socially-embedded, and developmentally dynamic self-organizing systems" to which we would like to add "with the potential to become Buddhas." Such a post-positivistic and post-objectivist outlook honors subjectively constructed realities as well as contextualism, relativism, the Socratic wisdom of 'not-knowing' and the Buddha's wisdom of 'not-self'. It includes the post-rational that goes beyond the pre-rational, the (ir)rational, and the trans-rational. By embracing constructivism as a secular meta-psychology that largely overlaps with the perennial psychology of Zen, we find ourselves in the middle of a paradigm shift wherein we are promoting the synthesis of the East and the West as an enlightened mentality in our clinical practice, theory, and research.
Our discovery of this resonance with constructivism inspired us to think that the TSCM as a small group might evolve to become part of the larger SCHS and thus of mainstream psychology (our ultimate striving). However, to honor the tradition we have established in our own right, we will continue the work of the original (1990) Network by establishing TSCM and continuing to attract our own membership. From this juncture TSCM and SCHS will go forward jointly organizing congresses and projects. This expansion is a first step. We are already on the lookout for a next coalescent process, guided by an adage found in the 27th verse of the Tao Teh Ching:
At this juncture the TSCM is in a continuous process of developing a curriculum for a course and of conducting seminars and workshops to educate postmodern Senseis (Masters in CMS, or what W. Mikulas has called 'integrative helpers'), who are well-versed in NeoZEN (a clinical psychological approach to Zen - a Buddhist meditation practice for inner liberation that traveled from India via China and Japan to the West - tailored to the individual, that includes scientific evidence and the Buddha's extant instructions, that travels back to the East in a regenerated condition, rejuvenating and revitalizing its practice, as Dhammawest or West-ayana: the dhammawheel that turns from the West to the East). A TSCM symposium on NeoZEN was held in Vienna, Austria (November, 2003) during the congress "The Unifying Aspects of Cultures", organized by INST (Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Sciences). The six contributions of this symposium "Well-being: Integrating Eastern Knowledge in Western Culture and Western Knowledge in Eastern Culture" can be found in TRANS - Internet Journal for Cultural Sciences (ISSN 1560-182X) (www.inst.at/trans/15Nr/sektionsgruppen15.htm#3) and is also available on cd-rom and printed book form www.roehrig-verlag.de (INST-Series I). Amongst other planned activities, the next TSCM-SCHS congress is projected in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2005). Let us finish by stating that this article is intended to communicate our enthusiasm about the recent SCHS-TSCM confluence and cordially invite readers to visit our TSCM Invitational Website ( www.constructivism123.com/Links/TSCM.htm ) and to logon to our Members' Website. Contact email@example.com for a login and password to enter the pages or to order books. Below is a list of works warranting our society's track record as a basis for future social action.
Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 2003, Vol. 8, No.2. (275 pp) 'A TRIBUTE TO YUTAKA HARUKI' (Special Issue on Clinical Meditation) (Order by subscribing to the journal www.constructivism123.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
M. M. Tophoff (2003). Chan Buddhism: Implications of awareness and mindfulness-training for managerial functioning. Destelbergen, Belgium: Cartim bvba (271 pp). (Order ISBN 9039333483 by email email@example.com)
Y.Haruki (Convenor), & K.T. Kaku (Ed.).(2000), Meditation as Health Promotion: A Lifestyle Modification Approach. Delft, Holland: Eburon Publishers (x + 165 pp). Proceedings, the 6th Conference, July 20-21, 2000, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. (Order ISBN 905166758X by email firstname.lastname@example.org)
W. Wang, Y. Sasaki, & Y. Haruki (Eds.).(2000), Bodywork and Psychotherapy in the East. Delft, Holland: Eburon Publishers (viii + 256 pp) Combined Proceedings, the 5th Conference 'Qigong, Meditation, and Hypnosis', April 27-30, 1998, Beijing, China & of the International Symposium 'Psychotherapy and Eastern Thought', 1st AWCP Congress (the Asia Division of the World Council for Psychotherapy), May 1, 1998, Beijing, China. (Order ISBN 9051668112 by email email@example.com)
M.M. DelMonte, & Y. Haruki (Eds.).(1998), The Embodiment of Mind: Eastern and Western Perspectives. Delft, Holland: Eburon Publishers (169 pp). Combined Proceedings, the 4th Conference 'Body over Mind or Mind over Body: Does it Matter?', August 12-15, 1996, Chateauguay, Canada & of the Symposium ' Does the Concept of Embodiment Offers Something New in Psychology?', August 20, 1996, at the XXVI International Congress of Psychology, Montreal, Canada. (Order ISBN 9051666381 by email firstname.lastname@example.org)
M.G.T. Kwee, & T.L. Holdstock (Eds.).(1996), Western and Buddhist Psychology: Clinical Perspectives. Delft, Holland: Eburon Publishers (xiv + 338pp). (Order ISBN 905166477X by email email@example.com)
Y. Haruki, Y. Ishii, & M. Suzuki (Eds.).(1996), Comparative and Psychological Study on Meditation. Delft, Holland: Eburon Publishers (x + 238 pp). Proceedings, the 3rd Conference, August 30-September 2, 1993, Makuhari, Chiba, Japan. (Order ISBN 9051664834 by email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Y. Haruki, Y. Ishii, & M. Suzuki (Eds.).(1994), Current State of Eastern Medicine Around the World. Report by The Transnational Network for the Study of Physical, Psychological & Spiritual Wellbeing and The Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences, Waseda Universty, Japan. (Including a Report on Meditation-Related Research: U.S. Scientists by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Sausolito, CA, USA.) (ii +143 pp). (Order: Waseda University, School of Human Sciences, 2-579-15 Mikajima, Tokorazawa, Saitama 359, Japan)
M. Blows (Ed.).(1993), Towards the Whole Person: Integrating Eastern and Western Approaches to Body-Mind Skills. Kenthurst, NSW: Linking Publications (vi + 98 pp). Proceedings of the 2nd Conference, July 15-17, 1992, Bruges, Belgium. (Order ISBN 064613252 by email email@example.com)
Japanese Health Psychology, Vol.1, No.1, December 1992, edited and published by The Japanese Association of Health Psychology, Tokyo (112 pp). (This monograph comprises papers presented at the symposium 'Eastern Techniques for Mental Health around the World' held at Komazawa University in Tokyo, July 21, 1990 - when The Transnational Network was formed at the invitation of Yutaka Haruki - and at the symposium 'Eastern and Western Approaches to Mental and Physical Health' during the the 22nd International Congress of Applied Psychology in Kyoto, July 21, 1990). (Order ISBN 4761004940 by email firstname.lastname@example.org (Dept. of Psychology, School of Literature, Waseda University, 1-24-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162, Japan)
M. Blows, & S. Srinivasan (Eds.).(1992), Perspectives on Relaxation and Meditation. Melbourne: Spectrum Publications (x + 222 pp). (This book had its origins in 1988 when a group of psychologists held a symposium at the 24th International Congress of Psychology in Sydney and marked the preparation of The Transnational Network's conferences). (Order ISBN 0867861398 by email email@example.com)
M.G.T. Kwee (Ed.).(1990), Psychotherapy, Meditation & Health: A Cognitive-Behavioural Perspective. London/The Hague: East-West Publications (320 pp). Proceedings of the First International Conference on Psychotherapy, Meditation, & Health, March 16-18, 1990, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. (This conference might be considered as a precursor of the Transnational Network's conferences.) (Order ISBN 0856921890 by email firstname.lastname@example.org )
Acknowledgements and correspondence.
© Marja K. Taams & Maurits G.T Kwee (Transcultural Society for Clinical Meditation)
3.8. Well Being. Integrating Eastern Knowledge in Western Culture and Western Knowledge in Eastern Culture
Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups | Groupes de sections
Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu 15 Nr.
For quotation purposes:
Marja K. Taams & Maurits G.T Kwee (Transcultural Society for Clinical Meditation): Introducing the transcultural society for clinical meditation (TSCM). In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW: http://www.inst.at/trans/15Nr/03_8/kwee_intro15.htm