Meditation and Buddhism were once linked together, now they drift apart

Back in 2004 “Meditation” and “Buddhism” went together. Searches for these terms were roughly the same, in fact “Buddhism” was searched more in some months.

What a difference 15 years makes. “Meditation” pulls away, with the trend significantly diverging in 2010. In fact we begin to see a seasonal trend of “Meditation” queries popping every January (how many of you made a new years resolution to meditate?)

Meanwhile “Buddhism” interest is decreasing, with a new trend of “Mindfulness” beginning to emerge and, I predict, will overtake “Buddhism” interest.

Its interesting to see the secularization of Meditation and Mindfulness from Buddhism in the US. We’ve seen the same trend before, the secularization of Yoga from Hinduism.

Some interesting facts from this report on the Meditation Industry

Meditation, often called mindfulness, generated $1.2 billion in revenue last year. Four in 10 adults in the United States say they meditate at least weekly, and major companies including Google, Apple, General Mills, Goldman Sachs and Aetna have adopted meditation programs for their employees. The industry has attracted $260 million in investments since 2012.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Health insurance giant Aetna reported that employees’ annual productivity rose by about $3,000 each after they participated in a mindfulness training program.
  • Headspace, the largest of nearly 1,000 mindfulness apps, raised $36.7 million in funding in 2017. The company offers in-flight meditation channels on eight airlines and released plans for public, phone booth-sized relaxation “pods.”
  • Experts say the industry’s growth raises concerns about the need for credentialing. Founders of new, for-profit mindfulness services say they are modernizing ancient teachings to make them accessible to the general public.

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