Zen meditation and ABC relaxation theory: an exploration of relaxation states, beliefs, dispositions, and motivations

Author: Gillani NB//Smith JC
Roosevelt University Stress Institute, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Conference/Journal: J Clin Psychol
Date published: 2001
Other: Volume ID: 57 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 839-46 , Word Count: 146

This study is an attempt to rigorously map the psychological effects of Zen meditation among experienced practitioners. Fifty-nine Zen meditators with at least six years of experience practiced an hour of traditional Zazen seated meditation. A control group of 24 college students spent 60 min silently reading popular magazines. Before relaxation, all participants took the Smith Relaxation States Inventory (SRSI), the Smith Relaxation Dispositions/Motivations Inventory (SRD/MI), and the Smith Relaxation Beliefs Inventory (SRBI). After practice, participants again took the SRSI. Analyses revealed that meditators are less likely to believe in God, more likely to believe in Inner Wisdom, and more likely to display the relaxation dispositions Mental Quiet, Mental Relaxation, and Timeless/Boundless/Infinite. Pre- and postsession analyses revealed that meditators showed greater increments in the relaxation states Mental Quiet, Love and Thankfulness, and Prayerfulness, as well as reduced Worry. Results support Smith's ABC Relaxation Theory.