Effectiveness of four deconstructive meditative practices on well-being and self-deconstruction: study protocol for an exploratory randomized controlled trial

Effectiveness of four deconstructive meditative practices on well-being and self-deconstruction: study protocol for an exploratory randomized controlled trial

Introduction: The efficacy of interventions based on mindfulness and compassion has been demonstrated in both clinical and general population, and in different social contexts. These interventions include so-called attentional and constructive meditation practices, respectively. However, there is a third group, known as deconstructive meditation practices, which has not been scientifically studied. Deconstructive practices aim to undo maladaptive cognitive patterns and generate knowledge about internal models of oneself, others and the world. Although there are theoretical and philosophical studies on the origin of addiction to the self or on the mechanisms of action associated with the deconstruction of the self, there are no randomized controlled trials evaluating these techniques in either a healthy population or clinical samples. This study aims to evaluate the effect of three deconstructive techniques by comparing them to mindfulness in the general population.

Methods and analysis: A randomized controlled clinical trial will be conducted with about 240 participants allocated to four groups: (a) mindful breathing, (b) prostrations, according to Tibetan Buddhist tradition; (c) the Koan Mu, according to Zen Buddhist tradition; and (d) the mirror exercise, according to Toltec tradition. The primary outcome will be the qualities of the non-dual experience and spiritual awakening, measured by the Nondual Embodiment Thematic Inventory, assessed at pre- and post-treatment and at 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Other outcomes will be mindfulness, happiness, compassion, affectivity and altered state of consciousness. Quantitative data will be compared using mixed-effects linear regression models, and qualitative data will be analysed through thematic analysis and using the constant comparative method from grounded theory.

Ethics and dissemination: Approval was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of Aragon, Spain. The results will be submitted to peer-reviewed specialized journals, and brief reports will be sent to participants on request.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05317754. Registered on August 2,2022.

Keywords: Deconstructive meditation practices; General population; Mindfulness; Randomized controlled trial; Self-deconstruction; Wellbeing.

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