Millions of people meditate daily but can meditative practices really make us ‘better’ people?
In The Buddha Pill, pioneering psychologists Dr Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm put meditation and mindfulness under the microscope. Separating fact from fiction, they reveal what scientific research – including their groundbreaking study on yoga and meditation with prisoners – tells us about the benefits and limitations of these techniques for improving our lives. As well as illuminating the potential, the authors argue that these practices may have unexpected consequences, and that peace and happiness may not always be the end result.
Offering a compelling examination of research on transcendental meditation to recent brain-imaging studies on the effects of mindfulness and yoga, and with fascinating contributions from spiritual teachers and therapists, Farias and Wikholm weave together a unique story about the science and the delusions of personal change.
"Mindfulness is modish, but can it deliver? If you are after a reliable guide to the possible benefits and harms of mindfulness and meditation, this is the book for you. Clear, readable and measured, it sifts a wealth of evidence in order to assess the real effects, and get beyond the hype"
- Linda Woodhead MBE, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University
About the Authors:
Dr Miguel Farias has pioneered brain research on the pain alleviating effects of spirituality and the psychological benefits of yoga and meditation. He was educated in Macao, Lisbon and Oxford. Following his doctorate, he was a researcher at the Oxford Centre for the Science of Mind and a lecturer at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. He currently leads the Brain, Belief and Behaviour group at the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, Coventry University.
Catherine Wikholm read Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University before going on to do a Masters in Forensic Psychology. Her strong interest in personal change and prisoner rehabilitation led her to be employed by HM Prison Service, where she worked with young offenders. She has since been working in NHS mental health services and is currently completing a practitioner doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Surrey. Miguel and Catherine worked together on a ground-breaking research study investigating the psychological effects of yoga and meditation in prisoners.