This study alludes to dualistic themes related to meditation and cognition: concentration and mindfulness, awareness and emotion, external and internal reality. Although we know better than to limit ourselves to an either/or perspective, these themes and their many variations can give us insights into the underlying complexity from which they emerge.
We know that people who meditate do better on tasks that require self-control… “[The study] results suggest that willpower or self-control may be sharpest in people who are sensitive and open to their own emotional experiences. Willpower, in other words, may relate to ‘emotional intelligence’,” said Michael Inzlicht, associate professor of psychology at UTSC. He co-authored the paper with PhD student Rimma Teper.
Most meditation traditions emphasize two major practices: awareness of the present moment, and acceptance of emotional states. It was possible that the practice of maintaining awareness of the moment strengthened executive control. But Teper and Inzlicht suspected emotional acceptance played a bigger role.
Meditators’ acceptance of emotions key to self-control | University of Toronto