A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto found people become more liberal immediately after meditating and other spiritual practices.
"Spiritual experiences seem to make people feel more of a connection with others," said lead author Jacob Hirsh of University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management in a press release. "The boundaries we normally maintain between ourselves and the world tend to dissolve during spiritual experiences. These feelings of self-transcendence make it easier to recognize that we are all part of the same system, promoting an inclusive and egalitarian mindset."
For the study, researchers asked half of the 317 participants to use a guided meditation video and asked half to complete an exercise comprising a guided meditation video, then report on their political orientation and rate how spiritual they felt. Compared to those in the control group, who did not meditate, they felt significantly higher levels of spirituality and expressed more liberal political attitudes. Researchers noted that the group who meditated showed a preference for liberal political candidates and less support for "tough on crime" policies.
Researchers pointed out that religiousness and political conservatism both focus on tradition, while political liberalism and spirituality both emphasize "equality and social harmony."
What do you think? Have you noticed this connection?