On October 7, the Center for Contemplative Science successfully finished the second part of step three of its contemplative science education program, “Step by Step” in Korean, provided by the director of the center, Wan-Doo Kim. The English version is scheduled to run on October 10 and 17. This program divides the core elements of meditation into three steps such that it is accessible to first-time practitioners.
In step three, named “Focused Attention”, participants first went through a vocal training session and delved into sound meditation, focusing on the vibrations of meditation sounds. The vocal training session started with making a circular humming sound, with the pitch going up and back down. Afterwards, the participants incorporated this humming while blowing through their mouths to flap their lips. Finally, the participants were taught how to exercise their mouths to improve articulation. This training was conducted in order to improve the diaphragmatic breathing or clarity of the voices for use in the next part.
With the vocal training over, the session moved on to the production of various elementary sounds for long durations. Participants were required to focus on these sounds as well as the resonance formed with a gong. Then, the participants had to perform a hybrid version of different humming sounds. The session ended with a final meditation period of relaxing and serene silence.
Established in March 2018, the center provided these programs throughout the last two semesters, with its main goal being to study the science behind the effects of contemplation. Recently, a rise in research concerning this field has led to an increasing number of research papers being published by multiple well-known institutions such as Harvard University, the University of Oxford, the Max Planck Institute, and many more. These research papers mainly focus on the direct effects of contemplation on the brain and other well-being related effects such as stress reduction. Furthermore, several scientifically proven programs have also been developed by well-known researchers such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) — which is already being used in the medical scene — and many more.
The center provides four different training programs: the Heart-Smile Training (HST), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and MBSR programs. HST focuses on the embodiment of compassion in daily life. MSC focuses on the cultivation of self-compassion. MBCT is a cognitive therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices and MBSR is based on mindfulness practices, psychotherapy, psychoneuroimmunology, and pedagogy.
Currently, the center has plans for a 2020 launch of the “All Steps” program, which incorporates the MBCT, HST, ACT, and Music, Sound, Mindfulness (MSM) programs, aimed at enhancing interoception, the sense of the internal state of the body, relaxation, resilience, creativity, innovation, and intuition.