How meditation has evolved – From spiritual approach to the development of human skills

Danis Bois, June 6th. 2022

How meditation has evolved – From spiritual approach to the development of human skills

Over the last ten years, meditation has evolved from being seen as a spiritual discipline to a cognitive activity able to bring about a range of benefits fitting within humanistic, ecological and natural health trends.

Modern meditation claims to be a secular activity aimed at improving human skills and focusing on mental acts destined to master and control thoughts, emotions and more humane behaviour (everyone wants to improve their human qualities). It is supported by science, particularly neuroscience. Scientific literature on the benefits of meditation on physical and mental health, and on cognitive performance is abundant today.

DBM (Danis Bois Method) Full-Presence Meditation® fits clearly within humanistic thought and the neurosciences of education and is a logical extension of my academic career (doctorate in the science of education, aggrégation in psychoeducation and university professor in human and social sciences).

Medication stimulates human qualities (such as empathy, altruism and benevolence) as well as cognitive, perceptual, relational and behavioural abilities.  In this perspective, Full-Presence Meditation® develops multiple skills and stimulates dormant qualities through a particular style of teaching that mobilizes educative and existential issues at stakes.

Full-Presence Meditation® is linked to humanistic thought and fits within the psychoeducation field, with an emphasis on perception, motivation and action.  Since 2018, I have developed in my masterclasses a step-by-step method, known as Full-Presence Educational Process, as a response to the need for educative, experiential and existential perspectives leading towards more humanity and human warmth.

A brief review of the characteristics of Full-Presence Meditation®

In my latest book, Full-Presence Meditation – The Seven Ways to Access Human Warmth (Eyrolles), I have presented the characteristics of our approach. By characteristics I mean the novative aspects of Full-Presence Meditation® in relation to other forms of meditation, most particularly to Mindfulness meditation.

There are many similarities with Mindfulness meditation that are complementary in the sense that to be fully aware, we need to first be fully present. We perceive before we become conscious, and not the other way around.  And this illustrates the importance of perception and sensoriality in Full-Presence Meditation® , in relation to Mindfulness which puts more emphasis on consciousness. (Translator note: This paragraph makes reference to the use of the term ‘Pleine Conscience’ as the French term used for the translation for Mindfulness)

Conceptual characteristics of Full-Presence Meditation®

For us perception has primacy over consciousness (not the other way around) and the notion of presence has wider implication than temporality as it emphasises the relational dimension of presence. Consciousness is cognitive by nature, whereas presence is relational and in this way gives acts of consciousness a qualitative and humane dimension. The conceptual characteristics are varied and I refer you to the book mentioned below to explore this approach further.-

Paradigmatic characteristics of Full-Presence Meditation®

Our approach is clearly rooted in humanistic thought, educational neuroscience, and phenomenology in that it emphasizes the study of the experience as lived by the meditator and the hermeneutics that follow from it (making sense of the lived experience). In line with these different currents, Full-Presence Meditation® also sees itself as educative in nature as it accompanies meditators to develop their capacities, resources, and skills to learn from their immediate experience, from their life, and from Life.

Experiential characteristics of Full-Presence Meditation®

We envisage experience from the perspective of the humanistic movement, particularly in terms of empathy, benevolence and “actualizing tendency” (Rogers). There is within each of us an innate process that leads us towards the positive realization of our own potential. But beyond this important dimension that leads us to express the best version of ourselves, the experiential dimension carries for us a strong connotation of learning: How can we learn from the lived experience of the meditation and bring into our daily life what was emerged during the meditation? We consider that the inner movement is the living and embodied manifestations of the actualizing tendency. The presence of the inner movement at the heart of the lived experience of meditators is the specific feature of Full-Presence Meditation® .

Teaching characteristics of Full-Presence Meditation®

The concepts and practices related to the learning process proposed in Full-Presence Meditation® are generically referred to as the Full-Presence Educational Process. The step-by-step process used is a specific feature of Full-Presence Meditation® .

The incremental nature of this methodology is based on a standard sequence known as stepping, which is a set of tasks (exercises) to be carried out in a particular order and chronology from simplest to most elaborate, stimulating higher abilities along the way. This teaching strategy takes into account the degree of accessibility of the tasks to be achieved and the natural abilities of learners to execute them.

Evaluation grid of accessibility criteria (Danis Bois 2022)

Evaluating task in relation to degree of:Evaluating learners’ ability in relation to
Feasibility (easy to complex)
Objective and/or subjective criteria
Ability to control or not
Attention stimulation (low to high)
Level of awareness required (low to high)
Quality of presence engaged (low to high)  
Their ability to execute the task alone or with help
Their inability to execute the task even with help
The flexibility of their attention (ability to adapt to the exercise)
The speed of mastery of the task with help or autonomously

Learning to meditate and to learn from your meditation

Danis Bois holds a PhD in the Science of Education and has been meditated for over 40 years. He is co-author of « La méditation pleine présence, les 7 voies d’accès à la chaleur humaine » published by Eyrolles in France. (A translation in English is available online – Full-Presence Meditation : The Seven Ways to Access Human Warmth).

Danis Bois facilitates a weekly meditation online (with live interpretation in English) opened to anyone with an interest in meditation. The next term runs from 14 September to 7 December 2022 and podcasts are then available for a year. You can register on this site at meditate live with Danis Bois.

To learn how to meditate step by step in 8 weeks, sign up at POSBAM by contacting a coach registered with the register.

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