Need help naming a Secular Meditation / Mind Training Centre
April 15, 2016 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Without getting into too much detail, I am part of a group of volunteers trying to establish a NFP centre which offers secular contemplative practices that are grounded in the meditative traditions and tested by science. As the resident marketing/advertising person, I have been tasked with coming up with a name for our project/space, but after spending days in, wordoid, and the free dictionary, I'm coming up short. Can anyone help me throw some ideas into the mix?

To give you some more background, our project will be somewhere between behemoth organisations such as The Mind and Life Institute, and The Garrison Institute, and smaller, more contemporary 'drop-in' centres like Mndfl.

There is a large group of volunteers from many different backgrounds, and coming up with a name that satisfies everyone's interests and concerns has been a challenge to say the least.

We're trying to stay away from place names like 'Institution, Centre, Foundation, Collective, etc', and other terms such as 'mindfulness, meditation, happiness' which are very overused in this space, and more towards terms such as 'room, seat, union, place, observatory, spot, etc' or simply make up our own word from other words but at the same time, we don't want to go so Web 2.0 or so basic that it sounds like we're a fringe group or something.

From there I've spent quite some time doing free association on many key words that we have brainstormed together as a group (contemplative, compassion, kindness, heart, mind, ethics, eudaimonia, observatory, reflection, balance,, wisdom, cultivation, etc), but it's hard to put those two things together to get something cohesive and meaningful, especially when we try to put it into context:

“I’m going down to the _____________ this evening for a guided meditation, it’s a really good way to unwind after a long day at work”

“Tonight there’s a really cool public talk about lucid dreaming and meditation at the ______________”

One thing that has been successful for me in naming things before is to reach out on places like here where there are a great diversity of interests and backgrounds to see if there any any underused gems of terms, words, or phrases, in your profession or hobby that could be applicable to a project like this.

For example, when researching the word 'center' on a certain thesaurus, it brought up the word, 'Heartwood', which is definitely going to be in my top 10 names that I will be putting forward. Even though it doesn't have anything specifically to do with everything above, it still has a good general feeling about it - and you could also tell a good backstory in terms of what we are trying to do as a organisation, and how that relates to what Heartwood actually is in terms of mirroring some of the qualities listed above etc, and it could easily be paired with other 'place' names like the ones above.

Even though there are places like Heartwood House etc, this would not discount the word from being used with other qualifiers for our name. Same goes with domain names etc, I'm happy to take any and all suggestions of anything that might come to mind with sincere gratitude :)

Thank you!
posted by sxtrumpeto to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Center Square (as in centered)
Something Ground/s (doubling ground as noun and verb)
The Hollow (association to hallow but secular, woodsy)
posted by Iteki at 12:00 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a meditator I really like the term "observatory" - how about

Inner Observatory

Playing from the other suggestion:

Inner Grounds Observatory
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:03 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Brain Gym
Mental Kinetics
Focus Group
Level Up
Mind Spa
Thought Spot

Kind of a different direction, but maybe something will spark an idea :)
posted by ananci at 12:20 AM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Reflection Pool
HeartWorks / HeartWerks / HeartWorx
(double meanings there - working on your heart, your heart working, inner working)
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:06 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Steady State
Fixed Point
posted by en forme de poire at 2:37 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Bell?
posted by lumensimus at 4:57 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

What is the problem that you will be solving for your clients? In other words, say there's a person, Kelly, out there in the world. Kelly feels a certain way, or wants a certain thing or experience. What is Kelly talking about, how is this feeling or want described? Then maybe the name of your center will flow naturally from that.

In other words, if Kelly has anxiety, maybe words like "calm" or "time" will naturally connect with that (actually, "time" is a little anxiety-inducing, so maybe not that one).

If Kelly wants connection to other people, or a way to ... I don't know. My point is that your group has probably already articulated something like this.

You have to be careful to articulate this kind of thing from Kelly's perspective; don't use words or ideas that you'd learn only _after_ being a client/user/interested party.

If you can do that, then it might help ideas flow a bit.
posted by amtho at 6:44 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Breathing Room
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:14 AM on April 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

Open Mind
posted by y2karl at 7:21 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

In my bookstores I had to come up with a term for all those spirituality New Age type of books, so I finally chose
Inner Arts
You could put any sort of word after it (center, practicum, etc) but I'd look for something that starts with an "m" so your initials would be IAM (pronounced I AM). Maybe "manor" or "mission" or "market."
Of course, the I AM group would probably get miffed and send you a stiff letter (as happened with a writer friend of mine), so let's consider that a little joke of mine. But I still recommend Inner Arts.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:12 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

As a meditator who is part of a meditative tradition (Buddhism), I would see that a secular group who uses words from my tradition detached from their spiritual meaning as an uncomfortable (for me) form of cultural appropriation. Words like: compassion, kindness, heart, ethics and wisdom, for example, from your list. These are terms that relate to the spiritual aspects of meditation and are taken directly from the Buddhist teachings, and have a very specific meaning and intention that goes in a different direction from secular forms of meditation.

But the suggestions that have been offered here are really great, and point more to the science/secular approach you are going for (Breathing Room, Mind Spa etc).
posted by nanook at 10:26 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by rhizome at 10:46 AM on April 16, 2016

FWIW, the first thing that popped into my mind was "head space."
posted by rpfields at 10:59 AM on April 16, 2016

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