While Religious Naturalists may or may not meditate, for many, meditation is an important lifelong practice. This article by J.X. Mason is presented here for those interested in knowing more about the topic.

Meditation is paying sustained attention to some event, concept, or thing. The thing or event could be a Japanese garden, a babbling brook, a cycling dryer in a laundromat, your own breathing, your body as it does Yoga postures, the arranging of flowers, your character traits, movements of Tai Chi, a game of chess, watching tropical fish swim in a home aquarium, listening to music, coloring in a coloring book, deeply pondering a poem, or musing about truth and beauty. Each meditative activity must be done in an unhurried, respectful manner; and with a positive, open attitude.

There are Meditations that Have Practical Goals — limited, day-to-day goals – to relax, reduce stress, calm the mind, lower blood pressure, and reduce one’s heart rate.

There are also Meditations that Have a Wholistic, Secular-Spiritual Goal. They are like prayer in that the meditator seeks to connect with a Greater Whole, such as the “Interlocking Summation of All Systems.” We might also call them meditations of “Wholistic Apprehension,” or “Wholistic” for short. Other, shorter names for the same thing include “Nature,” The Tao,” and “Gaia.”

 How to Meditate — The Mechanics of Meditation

Set Aside a Time and Place: Most Meditations (but not all) require us to set aside a time and place each day for just one meditative activity (e.g., Contemplation, Yoga, Breath Counting) by itself, apart from all other activities.

Comfortable Position: Meditation consists of placing the body in a comfortable position (either sitting still or smoothly doing intended motions) and then holding the mind’s attention on just one thing for an unhurried period of time, or on a series of things during several intervals of time.

Relax: Set aside distractions and discomforts (including your cell phone!) and center the mind.

Focus: The Meditation should focus on just one thing, or on one stream of things.

Repetition.  Meditation often involves repetition. Repetition of a sound, a word, or the drawing of a breath.  This works because our bodies have natural rhythms – breathing and the heartbeat.  Our minds tend to stray, so many meditations provide a discipline that returns one’s attention to the breath or to repeated words called a mantra. We watch a brook because the flow repeats. For the same reasons, religious prayers (like the “Hail Mary”) are often repeated, as they are in the Catholic Rosary.

Of course, excessive focus can lead to obsession, and excessive repetition can be hypnotic. These unwelcome effects happen both to individuals and to groups, e.g. to members of a cult.

Lawrence LeShan’s Categories of Meditations

Sitting Meditations hold the body still.  “Contemplation” is an example.
Active Meditations move the body in some pattern. “The Zen Tea Ceremony” is an example.

Meditations of the Outer Way focus on something outside the mind – a crystal, a flower, a waterfall.
Meditations of the Inner Way focus on something inside the mind – an idea, a feeling, a concept.

Structured Meditations approach the subject in a defined way – we explore it, count it, repeat it.
Unstructured Meditations take in thoughts about the subject as they come to the mind.

Quite a few studies over the past 20 years have taken brain scans of highly experienced meditators. The results indicate that meditation can, in fact, meet the above goals.  Specifically, two authors write that Practical Meditations likely have the following effects:

  • Reduce depression and chronic pain.
  • Free the mind from automatic mental conditioning and inner confusion.
  • Train the mind to focus more quickly and stay focused longer.
  • Reduce the stress of normal daily irritants.
  • Calm the person.
  • Promote a sense of psychological well-being.
  • Improve a person’s sleep pattern.
  • Reduce emotional burnout among healthcare workers.
  • Physically construct links between the brain’s cognitive and affective functions.
  • Increase the number of axons (connecting fibers) — between different regions of the brain.


Mindfulness, a type of meditation, has five simple steps:

  1. Step worrying about the past and the future.
  2. Watch what you’re doing (especially if you are running a chainsaw).
  3. Keep your mind on what you’re doing.
  4. Do what you are doing.
  5. Then do the Next Right Thing.


To explore meditation from the perspective of Nature’s Continuing Creation, including source citations, go to —  https://continuingcreation.org/meditations-for-co-creators/


Note: This link does not represent an endorsement by RNA of “Nature’s Path of Continuing Creation.”



  1. LK

    What a wonderful article. I have often considered “meditation” to be something arduous that I could not “accomplish.” But this article helps me realize that I do “achieve’ a level of meditation each time I do what I do in nature. I do feel calmer, breathe deeper, have more focus. Yea! I don’t have to sit in some room and stare at my toes! I do it in nature! Thank you, JX Mason

    • Elle Harrigan

      Thanks so much! I have to credit the pandemic years for forcing me to slow down and absorb nature with all my senses. Such a truly ancient practice when you think about it. Time to reclaim our kinship! Blessings.


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