Updated: Dec 4, 2021
When I say meditation, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably a person sitting cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by incense, vibrating "ohhhhhhm," and while you would be correct in thinking that this is meditation, you would be wrong in thinking that it is the only way to go about it. There are as many ways to meditate, as there are stars in the sky, so if this particular one isn't for you, don't worry about it!
The form of meditation mentioned above, has a very long and rich history in eastern religious traditions, one that I am not qualified to talk about, however I can tell you that it became popular in western society around the counterculture movement of the 60's and 70's, or "The Hippie Movement". Around that time, Dr. Herbert Benson began to study the biological effects meditation had on the mind and body, backing up this spiritual practice with cold hard fact. This made it a lot more appealing to a society that was beginning to lose faith in its spiritual belief systems, this all came to a head around the 90's when celebrities like The Beatles started to endorse meditation as a form of mindfulness. This is a very brief summary of how secular meditation became part of mainstream western society, it is by no means comprehensive, and is simply meant to give context to the concept of secular meditation, and its evolution from a religious practice.
In western society, the word "meditation," has become a catch-all term for grounding, breathwork, centering, and other forms of ritual preparation. This has led to a lot of neurodivergent occultists, witches, practitioners etc. to feel as if they cannot develop within their personal practices, and has excluded them from a lot mainstream occultism, and while this was not done intentionally, it is still the reality of the world we live in today. On a more personal note, I also find this to be incredibly dismissive of the folk traditions and practices that existed long before traditional meditation became the pinnacle of western ritual preparation.
The movie 'Soul,' released by Disney Pixar in December of 2020 has a conceptual space called "The Zone," in the movie, you reached the zone through deep meditation, or by doing something you can get lost in. For some this is playing music, painting, or dancing. Personally I like to play traditional Irish music on various instruments, however the music does not have to be tied to culture, I just like to kill two birds with one stone, offering to the ancestors, and meditative technique all in one!
Getting lost in the music as a pathway to "The Zone," singing, dancing, painting, even traditional prayer like chanting can be used in this way, you just have to figure out what works for you. I would also like to clarify that you do not need to be musical, or artistic to take part in alternative meditation, these are just examples from my personal practice, I have a friend (https://warriorwitchnike.com/findme/) that uses white noise, weighted blankets, and sometimes physical activity to find their way to "The Zone". It is important to remember that this list is not exhaustive, you need to pick something from your life that matters to you, not something that you've read online.
In the end, the road you take to "The Zone," does not matter, the important thing is that you get there. Do not allow someone else to dictate your personal practice, and do not delude yourself into thinking that you are not worthy of spirituality and religion because of someone else's opinion. Slán go fóill mo chairde, Eóin an Chailleach