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Four statues depicting omphaloskepsis

Omphaloskepsis or navel-gazing is contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation.[1]

The word comes from Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination).[1]

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.[2] Some[who?] consider the navel to be "a powerful chakra of the body".[3][4]

However, phrases such as "contemplating one's navel" or "navel-gazing" are frequently used, usually in jocular fashion, to refer to self-absorbed pursuits.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "omphaloskepsis". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Becker, Udo (2000). The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols. Continuum International. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8264-1221-8. 
  3. ^ Craig, Royal L. (2010). Whispers beyond the Edge. Xlibris. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4500-7972-3. [self-published source]
  4. ^ Norbu, Chogyal Namkhai (2008). Yantra Yoga. Snow Lion. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-55939-308-9. 
  5. ^ Lyn, E.R. (2009). Abbreviations Acronyms Glossary for American Readers. CreateSpace. p. 490. ISBN 978-1-4421-7895-3.