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.


Secular Buddhist meditation: cultivating virtues and insights to promote human flourishing

Mike Slott argues that the purpose of meditation for secular Buddhists is to cultivate certain virtues and insights which are crucial to promoting human flourishing in this world, not the attainment of nirvana.

By Mike Slott

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


Satipaṭṭhāna: how to know ourselves and open up our inner lives

By Winton Higgins

The goal of secular Buddhist meditation practice

By Winton Higgins

What if our ordinary experience is all that matters

Flowers in a field by Jim Champion

By Stephen Batchelor

Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy and Stephen Batchelor’s four tasks

By Bill Gayner

Making the most of the human condition #2

By Winton Higgins

Winton Higgins on Ron Purser’s “McMindfulness”

By Winton Higgins

A Review of Rick Heller’s ‘Secular Meditation’

By Sylvie Vanasse

Jason Siff on meditating with chaotic inner conflict

By Jason Siff