Meditation is a simple practice that has the potential to change your whole life – from the inside out. Science has proven the many benefits of meditation – from better mental health to happier relationships and improved work performance. Many potential new students are deterred, however, by a few persistent – but wholly untrue! – myths and misconception about meditation – so let’s debunk them one by one.
Misconception 1: “I Tried It Once And It Didn’t Work”
Perhaps you have tried meditation once in a yoga class, meditation workshop or even at home with a guided audio and were disappointed with the results. You were most likely expecting peace and bliss but instead felt like your mind was crazier than a bunch of monkeyson speed. This is a totally normal experience – the problem lies in making the assumption based on this one experience that meditation simply doesn’t work for you. Meditation is a practiceit’s something that needs to be done regularly and it can take time before you get more accomplished at quieting the mind.
Misconception 2: “I Just Can’t Stop My Thoughts”
One of the biggest meditation misconceptions out there is the erroneous belief that meditation should involve a perfectly blank mind with no thoughts at all. This belief causes many new meditators to start struggling against their thoughts or give up in resignation. Meditation does not require a state of no thinking, but simply to become aware of when the mind is distracted by thoughts and to refocus the awareness on the meditation object once moreagain and again.
Misconception 3: “I Don’t Have Time to Meditate”
You don’t need to sit on your meditation cushion for hours each day in order to experience its benefits. Even just dedicating 5 to 20 minutes of meditation per day can be life-changing. The keys is to practice regularly and to make time to meditate – we are all busier than ever these days and we must consciously schedule in time for our priorities, so it’s simply a matter of making our own happiness and wellbeing a priority.
Misconception 4: “I Don’t Have The Space To Meditate”
It would certainly be nice to be able to meditate in some extraordinary natural location or in a peaceful monastery – but that’s hardly practical for most. It really doesn’t matter where you do your meditation, as long as you just do it! Find somewhere reasonable quiet where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes, and where you can sit up straight comfortably – it could be sitting up in bed, on the floor, a cushion, a chair or even on a bus!
Misconception 5: “But I’m Not A Buddhist”
Meditation is not unique to Buddhism, though many forms of popular meditation techniques such as mindfulness meditation are loosely based on ancient Buddhist practices. Having said that though, you don’t need to subscribe to any particular set of beliefs to meditate – meditation is for everyone regardless of whether you belong to another religion or are not religious at all. There are many excellent meditation trainings, classes and retreats held at Buddhist centres around the world, but most of them are open to the general public and are not specifically intended just for Buddhists.
Hopefully this post has cleared up some misconceptions that may have been stopping you from embarking on your own meditation practice. Meditation is truly for everyone and with patience and perseverance, it can change your life in many profound and unexpected ways.
Sharee James is a naturopath and a yoga and meditation instructor with a special interest in stress, anxiety and depression. For more information on meditation check out her Youtube video How To Meditate or visit her website at http://www.ashimaliving.com/