Opening in Awareness: Exploring how Mindfulness and Meditation can Enhance the Mediation Experience


Given the over 2,500 year-long tradition of Buddhism, which is based upon the Buddha’s teachings on suffering and its eradication and on an unbroken period of wide-ranging practical applications, the Buddhist framework continues to offer profound insights into the workings of the human mind and heart as it relates to the emergence and transformation of conflict. Embedded in the authors’ practical experience and theoretical knowledge as mediators, trainers, and students of meditation, this paper will explore Buddhism’s contribution to conflict transformation, particularly in mediation settings, by examining how Buddhist understandings of the human conditioned mind and its capacity for transformation through meditative awareness can complement traditional Western approaches to mediation and conflict. Inherent in this approach is the thesis that conflict transformation need not only center on altering systems and structures, but also on emphasizing and empowering the individual to understand the processes of the human mind that may lead to the construction of divisions leading to destructive conflict, and how these constructions may dissipate, personally and interpersonally, to yield transformative occasions (Spears, 1997). This paper, then, explores the Buddhist linkage between destructive conflicts and the human mind’s construction of divisions that create psychological isolation, insecurity, and dissatisfaction, divisions that manifest suffering. It also explores how this suffering may be eased or eliminated through mindfulness and meditation practices that yield awareness of our true nature as fundamentally interconnected and interdependent beings. When the view of the self as standing apart from and against others (as experienced during destructive conflict) loses its hold, conflict is seen from a different angle and real transformation in relationships and in our ways of addressing problems are possible. Based on time-tested Buddhist principles, in this paper we will explore: (1) what Buddhism views as the source of our human experience of personal dissatisfaction and destructive disagreement; (2) what Buddhism suggests in dealing with our tendency to separate ourselves from our own conditions and from others; and (3) how the practice of tapping into and expanding awareness may help us in our interpersonal relations to see disagreement and its source differently.

Read or download full paper:

Mauer, Katharina; Applebaum, Martin (2019). Opening in Awareness: Exploring how Mindfulness and Meditation can Enhance the Mediation Experience

Journal of Living Together, 6 (1), pp. 75-85, 2019, ISSN: 2373-6615 (Print); 2373-6631 (Online).

Title = {Opening in Awareness: Exploring how Mindfulness and Meditation can Enhance the Mediation Experience }
Author = {Katharina Mauer and Martin Applebaum}
Url = {}
ISSN = {2373-6615 (Print); 2373-6631 (Online)}
Year = {2019}
Date = {2019-12-18}
Journal = {Journal of Living Together}
Volume = {6}
Number = {1}
Pages = {75-85}
Publisher = {International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation}
Address = {Mount Vernon, New York}
Edition = {2019}.


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