The practice of mindfulness dates back at least 2,500 years to early Buddhism, and since then, it’s played an important role in a number of spiritual traditions.
While the stillness and connecting with one’s inner self cultivated through mindfulness are certainly an important part of a spiritual practice, feelings of wonder and awe — the amazement we get when faced with incredible vastness — are also central to the spiritual experience. And according to new research, mindfulness may actually set the stage for awe.
The relationship between mindfulness and awe also seems to be mediated by accomodation, Ostafin said. When we practice mindfulness (the cultivation of a focused, non-judgmental awareness on the present moment), we’re more able to open our mind to make sense of new experiences.
The findings shed light on the link between meditation and spiritual experiences, and also suggest that mindfulness practices may be effective in facilitating feelings of awe, which have been associated with improved well-being and creativity and reduced inflammation.
The findings were presented at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Long Beach.