The word comes from Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Similar words are omphaloskeptic (one who engages in the practice) and omphaloskeptical (related to contemplation of one's navel).
Actual use of the practice as an aid to contemplation of basic principles of the cosmos and human nature is found in the practice of yoga of Hinduism and sometimes in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some consider the navel to be "a powerful chakra of the body".
However, phrases such as "contemplating one's navel" or "navel-gazing" are frequently used, usually in jocular fashion, to refer to self-absorbed pursuits. This criticism is often leveled at professions interested in themselves: movies about Hollywood, for example, or television shows about television writers.
See also 
Notes and references 
- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, p. 865
- Udo Becker, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols (Continuum International 2000 ISBN 978-0-8264-1221-8), p. 210
- Royal L. Craig, Whispers beyond the Edge (Xlibris 2010 ISBN 978-1-4500-7972-3), p. 99
- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, Yantra Yoga (Snow Lion 2008 ISBN 978-1-55939-308-9), p. 15
- E.R. Lyn, Abbreviations Acronyms Glossary for American Readers (CreateSpace 2009 ISBN 978-1-4421-7895-3), p. 490