Meditation gets a bad rep most of the time. With a sense of pretention constantly surrounding something so simple and straightforward. Meditation myths are rife and many people who could vastly benefit from meditation, are put off by their seemingly impossible guidelines.
When anyone asks me how to deal with stress or anxiety, I always recommend doing at least a 10-minute meditation every day, but I’m usually met with a scrunched up face or pessimism. That’s why I’m here to debunk these 7 meditation myths, to help change your mind about meditation and get you reaping the benefits in no time!
Don’t let these meditation myths stop you
You have to have a quiet mind in order to be able to meditate
NO! You do not need a peaceful and quiet mind in order to meditate. Meditation is about reflection and about processing all the hectic information buzzing around your brain from the day’s events.
So many people complain that they can’t do meditation because they can’t stop thinking, but stopping your thoughts is not what it means to practice meditation. Nobody can completely shut off from the world, we’re not computers. There is no button to just turn everything off, it’s about creating a space where you feel calm and peaceful enough to be able to round up your thoughts and be able to sort through them more clearly.
Meditation is a way to escape normal life
See above. Meditation is not a way for you to escape your problems, it’s a way for you to find the strength to face these problems in a rational and calm way.
So many people want meditation to take them away from it all, but unfortunately, that’s not possible. Life is hard sometimes, but everyone has the strength and knowledge to get through it, it just takes a second to get some clarity around these issues and emotions and it’s this clarity that will help you tackle whatever comes your way.
The end goal of meditation is to find inner peace
Buddhist monks love a good bit of inner peace, but they pretty much spend their lives practising to get to that point. You are probably not a Buddhist monk.
There should be no end goal when it comes to meditation, just like exercise, it gets easier every time you do it. You are flexing these muscles within your brain in order to be better equipped to handle the stresses of modern society. What you want to get out of meditation is personal. For some, it may be a way of handling stress in work or in a relationship, for others it may be a case of dealing with a mental illness. Don’t let someone else tell you what meditation should and should not give you.
You need to be in a quiet room alone with no disturbances
Meditation is all down to you and your focus. Sometimes, I find meditating on public transport easier than meditating in a quiet room, because there are more sounds to focus on.
You can do it anywhere and that’s because there are lots of ways to meditate. There is no one size fits all, you just need something to focus on, whether that’s a spot on the floor, your breathing or even your busy thoughts.
Meditation is just about relaxation
Meditation is a great way to relax, this is true, but relaxation is a product of meditation, not the sole reason to do it.
Usually, people feel more relaxed after a meditation session, because they have had time to reflect on the things that were creating stress and worry. They are now able to see clearer and understand their thoughts better than before. All of these things ease the tension we have built up, creating relaxation.
You need to have your legs crossed and your eyes closed
Just like I mentioned above, there is no, one set way to meditate. Closing your eyes can help as it allows you to use other senses without the distraction of sight.
We are very visual beings, that’s why we love watching TV, Films or are awed by beautiful landscapes and scenery. Closing your eyes closes this overwhelming sense in order to allow you to listen to the world around you, smell the smells you might have missed and grasp a better appreciation for what’s happening in the here and now.
There are set ways you need to meditate, otherwise, you’re not doing it right
Again, this is not true. You do not have to sit on a cushion in a quiet room with your eyes closed, legs crossed and whale music playing on the radio.
People play calming music because it is less distracting than throwing on some Kendrick Lamar, or burn incense in order for their sense of smell to have something to latch onto. These elements are there to help the person focus during meditation, so find what works for you! It might be that the soothing sounds of Kanye West are what you need to ease a stressful day!
The important thing to remember about meditation is that it is all about gaining focus and clarity. It’s the lack of these things that make us feel like we’re spinning out of control. Grasping a tight hold on the things that are creating negativity and taking time to truly understand them, is what makes us stronger and more capable.