Original Research

An integral investigation into the phenomenology and neurophysiology of Christian Trinity meditation

Stephen D. Edwards, David J. Edwards
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1053 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1053 | © 2012 Stephen D. Edwards, David J. Edwards | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 March 2011 | Published: 12 March 2012

About the author(s)

Stephen D. Edwards, University of Zululand, South Africa
David J. Edwards, University of Zululand, South Africa


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Abstract

This integral investigation explored phenomenological and neurophysiologic, individual and collective dimensions of Christian Trinitarian meditation experiences in a volunteer, convenience sample of 10 practicing Christians, 6 men and 4 women, with a mean age of 48 years and an age range from 21 to 85 years. Participants meditated for a minimum period of 15 minutes, during which neurophysiologic data in the form of electroencephalographic (EEG), electromyographic (EMG), blood volume pulse (BVP) and respiratory activity were recorded. A phenomenological analysis indicated that the meditation process generally involved a movement from body to mind to spirit as evident in reports of an increasingly relaxed, contented and focused state of consciousness characterised by Christian Trinitarian imagery, wonder, surrender, peace, bliss, openness and formlessness. The neuropsychological findings indicated significant increases, from baseline to meditation recordings, in the alpha and beta range, accompanied by increasing mean trends in the theta and gamma range, and decreasing mean trends in the delta range, EMG, BVP and respiration. Integrative findings indicated the practical theological value of small doses of Christian Trinity meditation to enhance spiritual life for those forms of waking, thinking, conscious behaviour needed in everyday world involvement and healing. Findings were discussed in relation to further integrative investigations and interventions with practical theological implications.

Keywords

Christian Trinity meditation; integral investigation; neurophysiology; phenomenology; practical theology

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