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Erric Solomon

Clifford Saron, PhD: Practicing Meditation and Doing Scientific Research

Clifford Saron, PhD at UC Davis, is a pioneer of Meditation Scientific research. His ambitious Shamatha Project where they randomly assigned 60 healthy people with prior meditation experience to an intensive 3-month meditation retreat or a control group.

What many people might not know is that Dr. Saron is a meditator himself. At the Buddhsim and Medicine Forum, I asked him if being a meditator influences him as a scientist. He proceeded to give a fascinating account of crucial events from his childhood up to the present day have contributed to his work.


It’s a story of an asthmatic child, who begins to appreciate the importance of a breath, with one parent studying under the famed psychologist Abraham Maslow and another hanging with the best neuroscientists, who meets some very interesting folks along the way. 

Co-founfer of Insight Meditation Society, Joseph  Goldstein was his first meditation teacher. He was influenced by Francisco Verela who he met in the 1970’s and then later co-founded the Mind & Life Institute. He speaks of sharing not just a passion of scientific inquery with Dr. Richard Davison, but a mutual love for meditation practice. It is a story that you might not get to hear too many other places.


Cliff Saron, PhD: Being a Meditator and Scientist from WhatMeditationReallyIs on Vimeo.


More videos on from the Buddhism and Medicine Forum can be found here and scrolling to the bottom.