Awareness without a sense of self in meditators
In the context of meditation practice, meditators can experience a state of 'pure awareness' or 'pure consciousness', in which they perceive consciousness itself. This state can be experienced in various ways, but evidently incorporates specific sensations as well as non-specific accompanying perceptions, feelings, and thoughts.

Researchers designed an online questionnaire comprising more than a hundred questions and asked thousands of meditators worldwide to answer it. "The goal of our research was not to learn more about meditation. We are interested in human consciousness," said the researcher.

In addition to questions about the participants themselves, such as gender, age, and meditation techniques used, the questionnaire consisted of 92 questions about their experience of pure awareness.

Of the questionnaires investigators received back, 1,400 were filled out in full and so could be used for so-called factor analysis. They employed this type of statistical evaluation to identify groups of questions that were frequently answered in a similar manner. "This led us to identify twelve groups, which in turn allowed us to name twelve factors that characterize pure consciousness," he explained.

"Based on these twelve factors, we can now develop a prototypical minimal model of human consciousness," said the author. In addition, the study opens up numerous avenues for further research.