Eric Van Lente: Mindfulness, Oneness self-perception and Well-being
Eric Van Lente is conducting research on the relationship between mindfulness, oneness and well-being.
Throughout history, people have sought to understand their relationship with others, the world, and the universe – and in many religious and philosophical traditions there has been an attempt to understand experiences of oneness or non-duality that arise in these relationships ([William] James, 1910). Oneness or non-dual awareness has been defined as ‘a sense that the usual subject/object distinctions are no longer the dominant mode of experience’. While there is evidence that greater mindfulness is related to greater well-being, this study aims to examine whether changes in meditators’ oneness self-perception is a mechanism by which these changes occur.
The first study of Eric’s PhD project employed a collective intelligence methodology to examine long-term meditators experience of oneness and will use these results to develop a questionnaire-based measure of oneness self-perception. In the second study, using the new measure, the relationships between mindfulness, oneness self-perception and well-being will be examined through an online survey involving short- and long-term meditators. The final study will be a randomised-controlled trial (i.e. an experiment) with beginning meditators in which the effects of mindfulness meditation on oneness self-perception and well-being will be explored.
Prior to beginning this PhD Eric worked in a number of health, medical and social science areas including occupational health and population mental health. He spent a number of years at the University of Chicago partly sponsored by a Fulbright Award where he also completed his MA in experimental psychology, a year at the University of Illinois working on Social and emotional learning (SPHE), and three years as a mechanical engineer in nuclear fusion research. Eric has been involved in over 37 quantitative and theoretical papers, reports, posters and presentations in psychology, health and engineering.
Eric has attended and presented oneness-related research at a number of Mind and Life Summer schools and he is also involved in the Mindful Way at NUI Galway, a group which aims to create a Mindful University at the National University of Ireland Galway.