Different ways to meditate, from a secular perspective

Among westerners, Buddhism is often considered to be simply meditation. This is a mistake, as what Gotama taught goes well beyond one practice. Meditation is, however, vital to the dharmic path and secular Buddhists have begun to explore several approaches to meditation which are consistent with the core elements of secular dharma. 

On this page you will find recommended reading to introduce and explore the subject, and more articles written by a number of leading secular dharma writers that will help you dig a little deeper.


Getting started with secular meditation

Ramsey Margolis emphasizes that secular meditation is primarily about stillness and self-observation. When we sit regularly, we become becoming mindfully aware of not just the content of our thoughts but also the emotions and mind states that inform these thoughts.

By Ramsey Margolis

The basis of meditation

At a Sŏn-style retreat in which the question ‘What is this?’ is posed Martine Batchelor explains that all forms of meditation practice are all based on two fundamental elements – anchoring and experiential inquiry. 

By Martine Batchelor

Why use meditation and reflection?

Reflective meditation is a relatively new, non-formulaic and flexible meditation approach which many secular Buddhists have found to be very helpful in developing their practice.

By Linda Modaro

Secular versus traditional approaches to meditation

In his 2015 book After Buddhism Stephen Batchelor argues that the goal of meditation for secular Buddhists is not achieving nirvana but gaining an embodied understanding of our experiences from moment to moment.

By SBN Editor

A secular approach to insight meditation

In a talk given in New Zealand in October 2015 Winton Higgins explores the differences between a secular approach to meditation and insight meditation.

By Winton Higgins


Buddhist and western philosophical perspectives on emptiness

By Gay Watson

Linda Modaro & Nelly Kaufer on reflective meditation

By Linda Modaro

Challenges to Buddhist meditation practice now

By Winton Higgins

Making the most of the human condition #4

By Winton Higgins

Reflections on meditation: more than me and my mind

By Ramsey Margolis

A review of Ron Purser’s McMindfulness: the new capitalist spirituality

By Mike Slott

Mindfulness is a hot commodity: looking for a quick fix?

By Winton Higgins

A Review of Rick Heller’s Secular Meditation

By Sylvie Vanasse