Meditation in popular fiction

Meditation in popular fiction

Various forms of meditation have been described in popular culture sources. Science fiction, in particular, often depicts characters meditating or practicing different forms of visualization or contemplation. Typically, but not always, these practices are drawn from or inspired by real-world meditation traditions. Some of the practices occurring in popular fiction are outlined below:

Star Wars

The Jedi and Sith of the Star Wars fictional universe are monastic orders with meditative practices for relaxation, controlling the body (such as slowing the metabolism), and focusing their Force abilities. The force itself is similar to religious concepts of animatism. Jedi meditation may be understood as contemplative practices which better attune the practitioner to the force.

Jedi meditation may be going a step further into the realm of alternative religion with the Jedi census phenomenon, and the recently opened [ Church of the Jedi] in Surrey, England.

Star Trek

The Vulcan culture in Star Trek utilizes visualization and contemplative practices for the disciplining their minds, training their telepathic abilities, and most notably; purging themselves of emotion, which they find to be a dangerous element of their psyches.

Stargate SG-1

In the "Stargate SG-1" television series, the Jaffa warriors practice a form of meditation known as "kel no'reem" in order to relax, focus their minds, and enhance the regenerative capabilities of their Goa'uld symbiotes. Other species in Stargate, including the Ancients, the Ori, and some humans, have made use of Buddhist-inspired meditation practices to ascend to a higher, energy-based plane of existence.


In Frank Herbert's "Dune" series of novels, various factions use meditation practices for a number of reasons. The Bene Gesserit have a number of practices, such as the Prana-bindu discipline, which trains the mind and body to work as one. The Mentats on the other hand, use visualization and a form of mantra practice ("It is by will alone I set my mind in motion...") to enhance their computer-like mental abilities.

The Fountain

In Darren Aronofsky's film "The Fountain", The astronaut, Tom (Hugh Jackman), travels toward a golden nebula in an ecospheric spacecraft, which also houses a living tree. Tom meditates in padmasana and practices tai chi, but is haunted by visions of his cancer stricken wife Izzi. Jackman researched and prepared for his role by practicing tai chi. Jackman took 14 months to achieve the lotus position, which is seen in the film.

Babylon 5

In the "Babylon 5" television series, various species, including the Minbari and Narn, are depicted using meditation as part of regular customs and religious rituals. In the season 5 episode entitled Learning Curve, the rangers training on Minbar are shown learning a form of meditation practice.

The Glass Bead Game

In Hermann Hesse's book The Glass Bead Game, Joseph Knecht is taught meditation by the Music Master, and later, by various teachers. Meditation is depicted as a basic subject of teaching in Castalian schools.

Ian M. Banks Culture novels

In the Culture novels by Ian M. Banks, meditation is used as a means of subliming to a higher plane of existence (a process not dissimilar to ascension in the Stargate SG-1 series). Characters in the Culture novels also use meditation and visualization techniques to control their physiology, adjust their physical features, and change sexes at will.

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