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Hands make a heart shape against a sunset sky

From the Heart: Testing the Efficacy of Heart-Centred Contemplation


Templeton World Charity Foundation


$523,400.00 US


Templeton World Charity Foundation logo

Project team

Miguel Farias, Associate Professor Academic, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (Principal Investigator)

Inti Brazil, Donders Institute, Radboud University, Netherlands (Co-Principal Investigator)


Radboud University, Netherlands


31 December 2021 – 31 December 2025

Project overview

The project presents three novelties in meditation research: first, it aims to expand the current contemplative science by focusing on techniques which were developed within Christian and Islamic traditions; second, it retains its original other/God-centered focus; and third, it uses techniques which include core elements of heart visualisation and elicit strong emotions (in contrast to mindfulness and other secularised meditation practices that typically have a relaxation effect).

Project objectives

To study the effects of two heart-centred meditation practices through a randomised controlled trial comparing the two exercises to a mindfulness-based stress reduction control condition and a waitlist condition. Psychophysiological, cognitive, social functioning, and self-report outcomes, including heart rate variability, pain tolerance, attention, prosociality, forgiveness, stress, anxiety, and depression will be assessed at three timepoints.

Impact statement

To explore the prosocial and individual effects of religious meditation practices that have been used by centuries within the Christian and Islamic traditions; this could lead to a renewal of interest in these practices by millions of religious individuals.


Project outputs will include five academic articles, two popular science articles, a four-episode podcast series with Oxford University Press, and an app for daily 8-week Christian and Islamic heart-centred meditations.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023