In meditation, we cultivate an inner space of openness and acceptance free of judgement. But this space should not remain private: sooner or later we have to extend it, and before we try to cover the entire world with an enlightened society, let’s start with smaller circles.
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.
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.
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.
Sylvie Vanasse, a member of the Beaches Sangha in Australia, discusses the different secular meditation practices in Rick Heller’s book. She praises Heller for offering many practical exercises and his avoidance of supernatural jargon, but thinks that his insistence on the need to ‘quiet our mind’ minimizes the value of a recollective or reflective approach to meditation.