TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Attention Training: the cultivation of mindfulness and introspection in order to develop increased relaxation, stability, and vividness of attention.

Consciousness: mental luminosity, by which all sensory and mental appearances are made manifest, and cognizance, by which all objects are known.

Contemplative Science: the application of contemplative methods of first-person inquiry and intersubjective study where insights into the mind are shared in mutually respectful collaboration between scientists and professional contemplatives.

Contemplative Technology: tools of highly-trained attention, mindfulness, and introspection developed by professional contemplatives to enable them to make rigorous, replicable observations of mental processes and states of consciousness that can be intersubjectively validated or repudiated.

Empiricism: the practice of relying on observation and experiment, especially in the natural sciences, as opposed to the practice of reaching conclusions by way of applying a pre-existing system, formula, or belief system.

Epistemology: a theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes among valid modes of knowing, justified belief, and opinion.

Intersubjective: accessible to or capable of being established for two or more knowing subjects.

Introspection: a reflective looking inward upon one’s own body, speech, and mind, with a special emphasis on observing mental states and processes.

Longitudinal study: a research design involving repeated observations of the same variables (e.g., people) over short or long periods of time.

Mindfulness: the faculty of sustaining voluntary attention continuously upon a familiar object, without forgetfulness or distraction.

Neurophenomenology: a scientific research program aimed at addressing the hard problem of consciousness in a pragmatic way. It combines neuroscience with phenomenology in order to study experience, mind, and consciousness with an emphasis on the embodied condition of the human mind.

Neurophysiology: a branch of physiology and neuroscience concerned with the study of the functioning of the nervous system.

Objective: expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations. The “third-person” view that enables assertions to be publicly validated or refuted.

Phenomenology: the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is understood to be its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.

Quantum Mechanics: a fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.

Subjective: arising out of or identified by means of one’s perception of one’s own mental and sensory states and processes. The “first-person” view.