If you've ever said to yourself, "I can't meditate," it's time to revisit the practice with a better knowledge of what it's all about. Here are meditation myths to avoid if you want to get the life-changing benefits of meditation.
Because you can't sit still, you can't meditate. Good news for people who find it difficult to sit motionless during meditation! It's fine to move around during your practice — you can correct your position, scratch an itch, or simply stretch your legs out. You don't have to be a statue to be effective. If you're in a group meditation class, try to do this silently so you don't disturb the other participants.
If your mind wanders, meditation isn't functioning. If you discovered you were having ideas while meditating, you were doing it correctly. Meditation is about honing our ability to perceive different parts of our interior experience rather than changing it. We get better at not getting caught up in our thoughts as we practice meditation. This can make us feel more in control and calmer in the long run, but the ideas don't go away.
You can't meditate because you're unsure whether you're doing it correctly. The only meditation that is incorrect or ineffective is one that is not done at all. Meditation is a simple process. You concentrate solely on one thing. It might be your breath, a mantra, a candle flame, or even counting numbers, depending on the practice. When you detect that your mind has wandered, simply return your attention to the object of your meditation.
It takes hours to meditate. Some people believe you need to meditate for hours every day and practically lock yourself up to meditate. Five-minute meditation periods can be beneficial to people. The idea is to start small and work your way up so you don't become discouraged and give up. Even the most seasoned meditator knows that some days fly by and all you have time for is 5 minutes of meditation. This is always preferable to doing nothing.
Meditation must be spiritual or religious in nature. Meditation and religion are not interchangeable terms. While many kinds of meditation have their roots in Buddhism and Hinduism, there are now modern forms of meditation that have nothing to do with religion. Meditation is practiced by many religious groups, and the intersection of prayer and meditation is fascinating, but it is not required to believe in a god or be involved with a church or spiritual group to benefit from meditation.
Meditation is intended to help you clear your mind. Meditation is about observing the mind and attempting to gain a better understanding of its natural state through thought awareness. Mindfulness can be gained through this deeper awareness, which can be attained by a variety of techniques such as mantras, conscious breathing, body scans, or simply using a tool like a Zen garden and the repetitive motion of raking sand can help clear the mind.
To meditate, you must be given a mantra. Meditation using mantras is just one type of meditation. Many mindfulness-based meditation approaches do not require a mantra, such as Transcendental Meditation . Consider a mantra to be one of the vehicles or tools that people utilize to begin their meditation practice. Counting, being aware of what you hear around you, and even simply paying attention to your breath are all useful techniques.
Meditation is a soothing activity. It's a myth that meditation helps you feel better or calms you down. Because it may be the first time that someone sits with the unpleasantness of their inner experience, meditation might actually induce dysregulation or anxiety. They may notice things that they dislike or are afraid of. Although relaxation can occasionally be a side effect of a particular meditation, you may have noticed that your mind was wandering on some days.
With the popularity of meditation growing, it's understandable that there would be some misunderstanding. Myths, misunderstandings, and disinformation are to be expected, but it doesn't mean we can't do everything we can to correct them.