Exploring Theories and Meditative Practices from Psychology & Spirituality

Directors: Will Adams, Psychology & Dan Scheid, Theology


The MEDITATIO learning community will explore psychological and theological perspectives on spiritual experience, with a special focus on meditative, contemplative, and mystical versions of spirituality. The Christian and Buddhist traditions will be emphasized, although not exclusively. Theoretical inquiry based upon readings, lecture, and discussion will be complemented by experiential inquiry.

Fall 2022

PSYC 260C Psychology, Religion & Spirituality (TR 12:15pm) Will Adams (Psychology)

An exploration of psychological perspectives on religious experiences, beliefs, and practices. The course will consider religious/spiritual approaches to phenomena such as meaning-making, self and others, consciousness, relationship, love, suffering, death, faith, reason, Spirit/God/Mystery (by whatever name), socio-political ramifications of doctrine, social engagement and justice, the natural world, meditative/contemplative practices, and personal and cultural transformation. No prerequisites required.

THEO 210C Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (TR 10:50am) Dan Scheid (Theology)

This course explores some of the key reasons for and approaches to Buddhist-Christian dialogue, with an emphasis on Zen Buddhism and Catholic Christianity. We will begin with a brief introduction to each religious tradition and to their founders, Buddha and Jesus. Then we will turn to contemporary figures and what Buddhists and Christians have learned from each other through dialogue. There will be a particular focus on two areas: 1) meditative practices and 2) addressing climate change. This course will partner with the Zen Center of Pittsburgh, and we will regularly engage in various meditations during class.