Meditation and mindfulness are becoming increasingly more mainstream, as the mental, physical, and emotional benefits are becoming realized by professionals. However, many may still feel intimidated by mindfulness and meditation, especially if they have some preconceptions about it. Below we have debunked a few of the more common myths we hear surrounding meditation in an effort to help clear these up, and hopefully it might tempt you to give meditation a try!
Myth #1 – Meditation is A Buddhist Practice
Although it is most commonly aligned with Buddhism, meditation is also a wholly secular tradition that needs no affiliations whatsoever to religion, esoteric belief structure, or any other defined stratum of thought. It is yours to take on as an individual and any secondary parties such as a mediation group, class, or retreats are all readily available should you feel that’s a better starting off point or choose to join. There are great lessons to be learned in these communities, but keep in mind it is your choice to take it on whichever way you deem fit.
Myth #2 – Meditation Probably Requires an Altar or Shrine
This is borderline exaggeration, but a lot of people are surprised one can meditate anywhere they choose. The only “requirement” is that a person remain upright during the meditation (especially when first starting), mostly to ensure attentiveness. Some find a chair, sit on a pillow, or just use the floor next to their bed–it really is up to you. Although you can technically meditate anywhere regardless of sounds/noises, when starting out it is advantageous to try to find a spot that is relatively free from outside noises that may be distracting.
Myth #3 – Meditation Must Be Zen, So it’s A Relaxation Practice
Although relaxation is among the many experiences of meditation, there are certainly others. Vipassana meditation, for instance, is not a singular attempt to become tranquil or calm. Vipassana is best translated as “Insight Meditation,” which means you will be exploring your inner psyche by slowing down or ceasing altogether the incessant thoughts that often plague us every day. It will give you, your mind and body, a much needed break from the norm of thought processing the tens of thousands of thoughts flying though our heads that exasperate our daily lives.
Myth #4 – Meditation isn’t for Me, or I am Bad at it
Meditation is a practice, and everyone will be “bad” at it in the beginning. To try it and give up after a few tries is no different than being given a guitar and giving up after a week simply because you aren’t on par with Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan. Start simply by adding a few minutes every day to your morning or evening routine, or both! Although you likely will not have a profound spiritual experience initially, you will probably start to notice some small, unexpected changes to your mental health pretty quickly!
Hopefully these will help you in giving mediation a try, it really is something that can become one of the most positive additions to your life.
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