Meditation today has moved far and wide from its original purpose and definition. It isn’t a cure-all. As a matter of fact, run in the opposite direction from people who claim that! Unfortunately, there are a lot of meditation myths that may prevent some people from experiencing the pleasure of a mindful life.
The most familiar misconception that I came across in my journey was that meditation is trying to empty your mind. I say this because for quite some time, even I was wrapped in this delusion. But as I progressed, I realized that this preconception couldn’t be far from the truth.
Slowly I started my journey towards a more mindful life, and it uncovered many of the myths.
- What is meditation really?
- Myth 1: You need to abandon your life and move to the hills to become a meditator.
- Myth 2: There is such a thing as a perfect or a wrong meditation.
- Myth 3: You need to sit in a lotus position in order to meditate.
- Myth 4: Meditation is trying to empty your mind or to try not to think.
What is meditation really?
I’m debunking the top 4 meditation myths here today!
Myth 1: You need to abandon your life and move to the hills to become a meditator.
Nothing wrong with that I mean, if that’s what you want to do. However, it’s not a requirement. It certainly helps refresh your mind when you go out in nature, but who says you can’t get a similar effect in your garden. You need not leave everything behind to become a meditator.
Mindful living is when you choose to be present in everything you do and engage all your senses while doing the most mundane of chores. This fast-paced life has forced us all to multitask. Might I suggest you stop looking at your phone for 10 minutes while you are with your family and friends and truly appreciate and enjoy their presence.
Myth 2: There is such a thing as a perfect or a wrong meditation.
Dr. Steven Laurey states in his bestseller “The no nonsense meditation book- A scientist’s guide to the power of meditation” that meditation is not a lack of thought.
It doesn’t mean that you think of nothing, rather, what it actually means is, to be focused. Now, the point or object of focus could be anything and everything. This might include focusing on your breath or being aware and open to internal or external stimuli.
When you first delve into meditation, you will feel that you are doing it in the wrong way. But the truth is that there is no wrong or a right way. There is just a cycle of focus and practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll be able to let your thoughts pass like clouds in the sky. You’ll learn to not dwell on those thoughts and this practice will enable you to make better decisions in your day-to-day life. You will be able to distinguish the noise from your rational thoughts.
Myth 3: You need to sit in a lotus position in order to meditate.
Imagine you are sitting down to meditate and there rises an itch in your arm.
You have two options, either you choose to ignore it and continue with your meditation, or you scratch the itch and continue with your meditation.
In what scenario do you think that you’ll be able to concentrate, say on your breathing properly?
If you said the latter one, you are right!
What will happen in the former scenario is your mind will again and again go back to that itch and the idea of meditation is not to restrain yourself pertaining to the feeling that arises, but to feel more intensely whatever it is that you are feeling. So, scratch that itch, and come back to your meditation.
What’s more is that you don’t need to sit in an uncomfortable position in order to meditate- on the contrary.
You can sit on a chair, on a bed, you can even lie down, keep your eyes open or close, no matter, as long as your spine is straight, and the posture doesn’t hamper your breathing and you are comfortable.
Now, let’s end this with the most important one.
Myth 4: Meditation is trying to empty your mind or to try not to think.
It’s impossible to empty your mind. In fact, that is not the goal of meditation either.
Anyone who has ever sat down to meditate knows that thoughts pop up, you get distracted, your mind wanders.
But it’s OKAY!
It is an essential aspect of the meditation process. Dr. Steven Laurey explains this beautifully in his book, but I’ll try to summarize it. There are four steps:
- You give your attention to something let’s say your breathing.
- Your mind wanders.
- You realize your mind wanders.
- You refocus your attention.
- And repeat
And these processes continue throughout the meditative process and it’s important that they do.
Now, the remarkable thing about this is that different brain areas are activated during each of these processes. Therefore, distractions and mind wandering are inevitable when you sit down to meditate. Let it happen. What’s actually important is to recognize that your mind has wandered and try to refocus your attention.
Well, there you are, hopefully I settled some of the most basic myths surrounding meditation, giving YOU the freedom to dive deeper into a more mindful life.
I’m also continuously learning to practice meditation; hence I’m sharing the lessons I acquired on the way. In the meantime, check out these changes I made that significantly improved my well-being.
Let me know if you have any other questions regarding myths about meditation.