Simple Meditation Myths Explained
What is meditation? Is it really beneficial to my health? Today meditation is practiced all over the world by different cultures and races, from artists to businessmen, from students to military personnel.
Despite meditation being prescribed by doctors, psychiatrists and health gurus around the world, there are some myths surrounding this ancient old practice. These meditation myths prevent people from reaping the overall health benefits meditation has to offer.
Here are the 10 Meditation Myths
Myth #1: Meditation is a religious practice
Meditation is practiced by many religions and religious beliefs. However it is possible to meditate without irrespective of your religious belief or violating your religious convictions and practices in anyway.
Myth #2: Meditation is a New Age belief
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, it really isn’t new at all. Meditation has been extensively studied by scientists and health professionals from all around the world, and has been found to bring about very specific benefits. It has been reported to lower blood pressure, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even reduce anxiety and depression.
Myth #3: Meditation is for those who belong to a cult
Meditation is about free thought, independence of spirit and individualism. Cults are completely opposite and foreign to the practice of meditation, as cults are about control, coercion and dominance.
Myth #4: Meditation stops you thinking leaving your mind open
Meditation isn’t about emptying your mind or stopping your thoughts. I don’t believe you can ever stop your thoughts, as Deepak Chopra says, “you can decide on how much attention you give them”. We can certainly find the quite or stillness between our thoughts, sometimes called the “gap”, this is where you find peace and quiet and pure consciousness. Normally when you meditate, you would use an object of attention, like your breath, or an affirmation and you would focus on that.
Thoughts will always arise within the mind, but you needn’t judge them or fight them. Simply gently and deliberately return your attention back to the focus of our attention. Meditation is about taking us from all the hustle and bustle of the noisy life into silence and stillness.
Myth #5: Meditation is difficult
The idea that meditation is difficult, is because is rooted in the myth that it is reserved for holy men, or people of high spiritual standing and experience. One of the other reasons meditation is believed to be difficult, is because we maybe result orientated and place too much emphasis on concentration, and focus, this has the opposite effect and creates anxiousness. Meditation is fun and easy to learn. You may want to look for an experienced teacher to help you get started and guide you through the basics.
Myth #6: You have to assume specific yogic positions to meditate
In order to meditate successfully, you need to be in a comfortable position, not too comfortable that you fall asleep though. The position you meditate in is mostly based on preference. Some find it difficult to sit cross legged, or to sit on the floor with a straight back. You may prefer to sit in a chair or on the floor with a pillow, the point is to be comfortable when you meditate, there is no hard and fast rule that says you must sit in the lotus position.
Myth #7: Meditation is just relaxation
Meditation is more than just relaxation, unlike lying on the bed or sitting in a chair reading a book, meditation has been shown to change brain wave patterns. The brain releases calming hormones into the body. Meditation also boosts brain wave activity in the left frontal region of the brain, which is associated with positive upbeat feelings.
Myth #8: Meditation takes too much time
Some people notice distinct psychological benefits in the form of reduced stress, calmer thoughts and slower breathing with only ten minutes of meditation daily. However, it is estimated that anywhere between twenty to forty minutes of meditation a day will yield greater benefits for your health.
Myth #9: Meditation takes years to produce any benefits
While it is true that physiological benefits may take a while to show up, people often do feel psychologically better after a short meditation session. One study showed that after twenty three minutes of meditation a day for eight weeks, a measurable increase in brain activity was seen.
Myth #10: I will have spiritual experiences if I meditate
Many people expect to see visions, colours, hear voices, levitate or have out of body experiences when they meditate. Although there are moments of bliss, peace, harmony and oneness during meditation, these are not the purpose of meditation. The results of meditation are experienced during the normal daily activities of life. A sense of purpose, a feeling of centeredness and belonging, promote an attitude of creativity, focus and care toward not only ourselves but others also.
Some final thoughts
As you begin to explore the wonderful world of meditation, remember, be easy on yourself, it’s not about getting it right or wrong or expecting results. It’s about finding a quiet place to take time out for yourself, relax, have no expectations and just allow yourself to gently drift into the quietness of your mind.