As meditation increasingly makes its way into mainstream society, we find that more of us are enjoying the benefits. For people who haven’t yet tried it, there may be a shroud of mystery surrounding it. Maybe they have some pre-conceived notions of what it is (or isn’t) or maybe it sounds too woo-woo for them.
Generally speaking, meditation is the practice of quieting the mind. It is in meditation that we develop our mindfulness. It’s a simple practice, not easy for most, at least in the beginning, and it does take some time, energy and discipline. But sometimes it’s easier to talk about what meditation isn’t.
So, I offer the following myths & truths to the question of “what is meditation”:
Myth: Meditation is just for the airy-fairy amongst us.
Fact: Meditation is becoming more and more accepted a whole range of people. There are entire sports teams that meditate before a game. Meditation is taught in police departments and the military. There are politicians and celebrities that make it part of their everyday routine.
Myth: My mind is way too busy to even consider meditation.
Fact: You are talking to the queen of busy minds right here. I know what you mean, I feel your pain, and I thought the same as you at one time. I’m here to tell you, this stuff works!
Myth: It is just a relaxation technique
Fact: While you do relax when doing meditation, it’s so much more than that. It has proven health benefits like stress reduction, pain management, increased happiness, better memory, increased compassion and on and on.
Myth: I have to sit cross-legged in hour long meditation to see benefits.
Fact: Sit however makes you confortable and stay for whatever time you are able, even it that’s just 5 minutes. It will get easier and you will sit for longer (because you’ll want to) as you develop a consistent, dedicated practice.
Myth: I don’t have time to meditate.
Fact: In addition to the above truth, everyone has just 5 or 10 minutes to carve out of their day, even if that means not watching TV, or keeping your social media posts short. It’s all a matter of priorities. And I guarantee you, the benefits of meditation outweigh ANY other activity you are doing.
Myth: Meditation means going into a trance
Fact: Yes, some lesser known types of meditation can take you there, but most do not.
Myth: The purpose of meditation is to become psychic
Fact: No, the purpose is to develop mindfulness/awareness.
Myth: Meditation is running away from reality
Fact: Quite the opposite, it’s facing reality head on. It’s exploring your mind, getting to know yourself so well that there are no illusions left. You see yourself exactly as you are and accept it fully. Only then can you change it. Meditation is not about trying to escape or transcend into something otherworldly, it’s being intimate with reality, seeing things as they are not how you would like them to be. It is from this place of acceptance that effective changes can be made because you are perfectly aware of the situation.
Myth: Meditation is a great way to get high
Fact: Well, yes & no. While you may find a feeling of bliss at times, you should not do it with that purpose in mind. The purpose of meditation is increased mindfulness/awareness. The bliss you might feel is a result of a release of tension. If you’re chasing bliss through meditation, guaranteed it will elude you.
Myth: Meditation is selfish
Fact: This is one of my favorite myths to debunk because while it may appear that way to some, those around you will reap the benefits. You are less reactive, more understanding and more compassionate.
Myth: I’m a bad meditator if I don’t banish all thoughts.
Fact: Yeah, that will never happen. We aren’t built that way. But the chatter in your brain will quiet over time.
Myth: A couple of weeks of meditation and all my problems will disappear
Fact: Nope, wrong again. First of all, it takes more than a couple weeks of practice to see significant changes. And the changes are in the way you respond to situations instead of reacting. You will find you control your thoughts, instead of them controlling you.
Make meditation a regular part of your daily routing. Start with just five minutes. Soon you’ll find you want more. I’m here to offer my support and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.