In a word..

Dr Charles Tart Ph.D imageCharles T Tart Ph.D. is internationally known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness (particularly altered states of consciousness). In his article That word “Meditation” he makes an important point: to answer the question ‘what is meditation?’ you need to consider the context in which the word is used. Since meditation is a feature of many different disciplines, the answer to the question will differ according to the discipline being considered. Tart begins provocatively:

When I become the Czar of Worldwide Words, I’m going to abolish the word “meditation.”

He then goes on to argue his case, that meditation is a word with multiple interpretations. In studying or researching the topic, we need to have an understanding of how the word is defined by the author of the material at hand

Thus when someone tells me, for example, “I meditate each day,” I really have almost no idea of what they actually do or mean. At a minimum, it probably means that it is something they consider different from their ordinary life activities, but that’s about it. As a transpersonal psychologist and scientist, looking at how “meditation” is taught and practiced across many traditions, there are many, many definitions of what it means, and often no clear definition at all of what it means. Further, the actual techniques for particular forms of meditation may be described in certain words, but that practice is learned within a context, and the subtle hints and cues and expectations in that context may greatly change the meaning of the particular words for a learner. So the same set of instructions in terms of words, in different contexts, may mean people do entirely different things.

You can read Dr. Hart’s full article here

What does the word ‘meditation’ mean to you? I’d love to hear your comments

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