Musings on meditation

Recently, a friend who is also a talented life coach, told me about her plans for creating online content on meditation. Her idea is to help her clients remotely with guided meditations when they need to slow down and focus, and she is not with them in the moment.

She was sure it was a great idea and wished for her clients to be as excited about it as she was, so she wanted a “catchy” label to introduce her project. Two options were on the menu.

“TAKE UP” or “TAKE ON” meditation?

She couldn’t decide!

Firstly, the verb she had selected, “take”, was a great choice, I said. To take means, above all, AGENCY and an active role in a decision. A general definition of the verb tells us that that by taking, you get something into your possession by your own action. It also has connotations of bodily agency, because you use your hands when you take something. But figuratively, at the same time, it also activates notions of choice among alternatives and gives you the opportunity to carry what you take from one place to another.

These semantic nuances align with her idea to give her clients the option to actively make a decision to do something for themselves, and to choose to play her guided meditations anywhere and anytime they feel the need.

What about the prepositions?

Big difference!

The preposition “on”, at its core, represents “contact” between entities, be it by support, attachment, cover or alignment, among others. Books are literally on the shelf but they can also figuratively be on a subject. You put your feet on the ground and get them off it when you are drunk on wine. In combination with takeon develops a meaning of challenge by contact and choice, because work and responsibilities can be taken on. At the same time, a combative nuance may appear as engaging or contending, like when you take on a bully or take on an adversary in a game.

The preposition “up”, on the other hand, shines a different light on take. Up has a core meaning of physical elevation on the vertical axis, and this literal perspective creates a conceptual meaning of “more” in every direction as well. That is why up generates linguistic expressions related to an increase in physical values such as size, position, pitch, volume, noise, brightness or speed. Even more interestingly and at the figurative level, the conceptual metaphor of MORE IS UP transfers that increase to issues of rank, competition, prominence, knowledge or completion. We set up a project and bring it to life, we keep up with the latest information and feed our knowledge, we finish up an activity and turn it into an accomplishment. By taking up something, we then combine our agency with an increase in action, a heightened interest and engagement, an availability of choice, and a growth in prospects.

So what label would my friend choose for her guided meditations? What imagery did she want to suggest to her clients and project in their imagination?

Could she reflect on the narrative she wanted and end up choosing the right take for it?