I have finally discovered a serious academic who honestly accepts the possibility of certain mental states otherwise dismissed as bonk by many intellectuals. Ellen Langer is a researcher of positive psychology. Her research promotes a certain kind of mindfulness, not necessarily the kind obtained through meditation, but an awareness of ones actions and ones presence in the world as opposed to mindlessness, such as driving a car on autopilot from home to work or school.
I first stumbled onto Ellen Langer and her work on the Chronicle of Higher Education, a periodical for university professionals and a great source for anyone interested in higher education in the US. Her work in mindfulness, creativity, and her openness to other interpretations and other possibilities of mental experience are refreshing. I will have to read more about her, but not before my entrance exams are done, so for now, here is the article about her work in the Chronicle Review.