Some form of spiritual practice is especially central to Integral Life Practice. Of the many types of spiritual exercises, meditation is one we particularly recommend. A recent survey of over 1,600 scientific studies documents an enormous range of benefits from meditation. These include physiological changes of state (in metabolism, respiration, and alleviation of pain); positive psychological and behavioral effects (shifts in perception, concentration, and attention); and subjective factors (including enhanced equanimity, extrasensory experiences, and illuminating dreams). The science is unambiguous: meditation works. In fact, it is the only practice demonstrated to significantly accelerate growth through stages of development!
There are two general kinds of meditation: with form and without form. Meditation with form involves holding attention on an object—it could be the breath, an image, or a mantra. Meditation without form involves releasing attention from all objects, in order to rest effortlessly in pure awareness—a “non-practice” practice that is sometimes called “just sitting” or “pure presence.”
Integral Meditation is a general term for using the AQAL Framework as the launchpad for meditation. Although meditation ultimately goes beyond all mental forms, the traditions agree that the View or Framework is of crucial importance for interpreting and understanding meditation correctly. The more integral the View, the more comprehensive and full the understanding.