Myth Busters: Meditation
Posted On Jun 20, 2016
Meditation, as defined by Miriam Webster, is to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. Meditation is a form of relaxation, of finding your inner self, and of simply disconnecting from the chaos of the world around you. Meditation has become increasingly popular with the rise of yoga and other spiritual practices, and for us newbies it can be quite challenging to grasp. If an average person has 60,000 thoughts a day, I have double that. Trying to quiet my mind up is like trying to cage a wild jungle animal. So it’s safe to say that I am struggling on my journey of learning how to meditate. And I know I can’t be the only one. Here are a few of the most common meditation myths you’ve heard debunked!
Myth #1: The goal is to clear your mind of all thoughts
This idea can be a hindrance to people during meditation (me). Deepak Chopra, a meditation expert put it best, “the nature of the mind to move from one thought to another is in fact the very basis of meditation.” Depending on the type of meditation you learn, there are tools for bringing your focus back to your meditation practice. Also, there are some types of meditation that emphasize being present and mindful to thoughts as they arise as part of the practice. There is a difference between being wrapped up in a thought and being conscious of it. Start with trying to take yourself out of your thoughts and just notice when they occur.
Myth #2: You are “doing it wrong”
The only wrong or bad meditation is the one you don’t do. It’s easy to get discouraged when you think you aren’t doing something right. Here are the laws of the land with meditation. You focus on one thing: your breath, a mantra, a visual, or a candle flame. When you notice your mind wandering off, you simply come back to the thing you are focusing on. Your practice can be whatever you want it to be, and it might take a few months to get to that level of zen you are aiming for. But in the meantime, go with the flow of your thoughts and just try and be as mindful and present as you can be.
Myth #3: You have to sit still
If you struggle with sitting still during meditation, it’s perfectly okay. You are allowed to readjust your position, scratch an itch or even stretch your legs out in the middle of your practice. You don’t have to be completely still if you don’t want to. If sitting just isn’t your style, there is such a thing as walking meditation. There are actually four types of meditation – sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. Try each of these methods and see which one your body feels most accustomed too.
Myth #4: You have to meditate in silence
A lot of people have it in their mind that it’s impossible to meditate while listening to music. If you fall into this category, you probably have only been exposed to certain types of meditation methods. The style of mindfulness meditation can be practiced listening to music. Mindfulness meditation is designed to promote insight. So, if you’re listening to music as your practice, you’re discovering what’s happening inside you while you listen to that music. You’re exploring your relationship to the music, as a path of self-discovery. You could also try guided meditation when you are just starting out to get the hang of it.
There are many different types of meditation, you just have to find the one that is the right fit for you. Meditation is supposed to be a form of relaxation so don’t let any preconceived notions get in the way of your practice to meditation mastery.