Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Meditation is not essentially a "non-white people" activity. Christians in Western Europe and the Americas, both lay people and clergy, many of them white (and many non-whites too, of course), have developed and engaged in various forms of meditation over the past two millennia.

I don't mean here to exclude parallel developments among Eastern Christians (i.e. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholics), I'm just making a particular point about meditation not being essentially non-Western or "non-white".

At the risk of oversimplifying, the Western Christian tradition breaks down into two schools of thought: one school advocates active contemplation, while the other advocates passive contemplation.

Since the 16th Century, the school of active contemplation, also known as discursive meditation or mental prayer, has been strongly influenced by various writers and preachers in the Jesuit[1] tradition, but stills feels the influence of great figures such as Bernard of Clairvaux[2] and Benedict of Nursia[3].

The Western school of passive contemplation has, since the 16th Century, been profoundly shaped by the writings of two Spanish authors, John of the Cross[4] and Teresa of Ávila[5], together known as the Carmelite[6] Doctors.

Personally, I am more drawn to active contemplation. In 2007-2008, I had the opportunity to read a classic work on the subject by a 16th Century Spanish Jesuit -- Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez[7], The Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues[8]. That work's "Fifth Treatise"[9] is a detailed treatment of personal development with respect to the practice of mental prayer, and I can't recommend it highly enough to persons with an open mind.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_jesus

[2] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Bernard_of_Clairvaux...

[3] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Benedict_of_Nursia%2...

[4] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=John_of_the_Cross%2C...

[5] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Teresa_of_Jesus_%28A...

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discalced_Carmelites

[7] http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Alonso_Rodriguez

[8] http://bit.ly/PPCV-1of2 http://bit.ly/PPCV-2of2

[9] http://bit.ly/MentalPrayer

This is all true, but does it relate to the reason why meditation is popular in the West?

The real determinant of the "legitimacy" of a thing is the true reason why it came to your attention, not the post-hoc reason that might be a more "legitimate" explanation (where "legitimacy" is the fuzzy criteria referred to in my original comment).

Since I doubt any of the people in my life telling me I should meditate are aware of anything in your comment, the facts in your comment have no effect on my decision to discard meditation.

Some in the Christian Charismatic movement also do "soaking in God's presence," which is probably in the passive contemplation: listen to music that draws your heart to give yourself to God.

In addition to soaking, I will also just literally meditate: read some of the Bible and just think about what it means.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact