You think meditation is just sitting by yourself doing nothing or some mumbo-jumbo stuff that only weirdos do.
Or maybe you think you are already enjoying your life and you do not need any mental peace!
Well, if the second one is right for you, then I envy you. But I also highly doubt you.
As far as I know, almost everyone living in this crazy, competitive world can do with some mental peace.
And doing meditation is one of the simplest ways in which you can strive for clarity and peace- both much-needed things in today’s world.
However, there are some beliefs, or I should say meditation myths, that stop people from starting a meditation habit or even thinking about learning it.
Today I bring you 25 misconceptions about meditation that are so strongly believed by people that they are considered true.
But they are not. These are just myths:
Meditation is not for normal people, only for weirdos, ascetics, or holy men with a beard!
This is perhaps the most prevalent meditation myths of all time. Yes, it is a myth. High achieving people all over the world are reaping the benefits of meditation. If you believed this myth till today, it is time to let go of it!
Sitting With Closed Eyes Won’t Solve My Problems or Stress I am going through
Yes, it may not solve your problems but it will make you realize you have a choice. The choice to observe your thoughts about your problems which are often exaggerated.
And the choice to deal with them calmly and proactively instead of reacting stressfully.
Meditation is only for relaxation. I am already chilled out.
It is a huge fallacy to believe that meditation only helps to achieve a relaxed state of mind. Sometime during meditation, you will encounter those old self-limiting beliefs and fears which may even make you more uncomfortable than relaxed.
And it is okay to feel so. You’re not doing anything wrong. It is all part of the process.
Meditation means no thoughts and empty mind. Is that even possible?
No, meditation does not mean thoughtlessness or an empty mind. In the beginner stages, you may never even reach that thoughtless stage.
You must never strive to achieve that state or get worried when you observe so many thoughts when you start meditating.
It is all about being aware of them in a non-judgemental manner.
There is only one right way of meditation
Again, one of the most commonly believed meditation myths. You think that there is just one right way of meditation and you are doing it wrong. It is not true.
There can be several types of meditation. You can pick any meditation technique which suits you or makes more sense to you.
Meditation means I will feel good afterward
A common misconception of meditation is that you must always feel relaxed, peaceful or good. However, it is not always true.
When you begin meditating for the first time, there comes a stage when deep, buried emotions come up to your consciousness. Such emotions often make you uncomfortable and restless instead of relaxed and peaceful.
In fact, there could be times when you may even begin to cry after meditation. But do not worry as it is completely normal.
I can never quieten my mind or sit still so I cannot meditate
That is why you are doing meditation. Meditation will help you see how your mind constantly keeps you busy with one thought after another.
And through meditation, you’ll realize you have the power to observe these thoughts in a detached manner and let them go without acting on them or obsessively ponder upon them.
Meditation Is Tough
Don’t you think in the beginning everything seems tough? Whenever you want to learn a new skill, you rarely find it easy in the first class.
Moreover, here you are talking about skill to train mind and finally confront thoughts that you have become habitual of avoiding or mindless reacting. It is supposed to be tough.
But you know what? It is worth it!
Meditation will Give Me Psychic Powers
Sorry to break this to you but trust me you are not going to become Dr. Strange (he is cool, I know!) once you start your meditation practice.
You may have heard of Buddhist monks and Indian Yogis who have developed magnificent abilities with the power of meditation.
But it is highly unlikely that you will get psychic powers with your regular meditation habit. I am not saying that is impossible. However, that takes years, perhaps even more than one birth, to achieve those level of superhuman abilities with meditation!
I Have to Meditate Hours A Day to Experience Any Meditation Benefits
No, you do not have to sit like a Buddhist monk in a secluded location to experience benefits of meditation.
In fact, as little as 5-10 minutes a day or twice a day can give you result within 8 weeks. This Harvard research on meditation effects on the brain also proves this fact!
Meditation and Mindfulness Are Same
This is one of the common meditation myths of modern times. People use mindfulness and meditation terms often interchangeably but there is a difference between mindfulness and meditation.
In simple words, you can say that mindfulness could be just one aspect of meditation or a beginner stage when you have just begun to learn to focus your mind.
Yes, through mindfulness, you can go into deeper stages of meditation but it is often the first stage. That does not mean, however, that there are no benefits of mindfulness.
For someone who has never learned to see thoughts separate from him or her, mindfulness teaches exactly that!
Who has time for sitting idle doing meditation nothing?
Steve Jobs had time to do meditation daily. Hugh Jackman does meditation daily without fail despite his busy schedule. CEOs of top companies swear by the power of meditation in their lives. Yes, successful personalities and celebrities do meditation regularly so there must be some benefits, right?
Do you want to live your life like an average Joey (mediocrity) with little or no growth, or get better every day to have a remarkable life?
Whatever your decision, meditation would definitely help you to do the latter. The choice is yours!
Meditation means escaping from my problems
On the contrary, meditation allows you to confront your problems and deepest limiting beliefs that prevent you from reaching your maximum potential.
In fact, don’t you think that you escape your real problems daily by keeping yourself busy to no end?
When you take out time for daily meditation, you may encounter your most pressing issues of life. Once you get comfortable in observing them without attachment and reaction, you can begin to think about solving problems.
Meditation will Solve All Your Problems
No, meditation by itself won’t solve your problems. But yes, it will give you a perspective and a calm and open mind to deal with them.
When you are able to separate yourself from problems and see them as they are without any reaction, you can begin to find effective solutions.
Doing Meditation means I have to become Buddhist Monk
This is one of the biggest misconceptions and myths about meditation among some people. Meditation has nothing to do with any particular sect or religion.
After all, you need not believe in any faith or religion to spend time with yourself in silence. Millions of people practice Vipassana meditation that has Buddhist origins and so can you!
I Have to Chant Mantras to Do Meditation
Mantra meditation is just one of the types of meditation. When you are a beginner to meditation, you can begin with any technique that feels natural to you and reap benefits of meditation. The easiest way to begin meditation is try mindfulness meditation as it is quite simple and you can start the practice immediately.
Meditation has to be done in lotus or cross-legged position
You can do meditation even while reading this article. Focus on white spaces as you read these lines feeling your eyes go from left to right. What happened in last 5-10 seconds?
You were just immersed in reading that for a moment you forgot what was happening around you. Meditation only involves experiencing such moments where you are totally immersed in the present.
That can be anything, be it washing dishes or commuting to work. You do not have to sit in a lotus position to do meditation. Although that does help at times!
I need a teacher to start meditation
Initially, when you are starting out, you do not need any teacher or guru to start meditation. Just wear some loose clothes. Put your stopwatch on a timer of 2-5 minutes. Take 5 deep breaths with duration of exhalation slightly longer than inhalation.
Now return to your normal breathing and just observe your breath go in and out as you breathe. Maintain your attention on your breath for the entire period.
That’s it. Remember, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Want to bet? Go ahead and try it now! It would take just 2 minutes!
I need special place only for meditation with incense sticks and all new-agey stuff
All that you need for meditation is your intention and inner resolve. Everything else is secondary.
If incense sticks, special meditation pillows, or anything else helps you to create an environment, use them by all means. But never let them hinder your practice as they are never necessary!
Meditation Takes Months or Years To Learn
You would be surprised to know that you have been in meditation many times without your conscious effort. Don’t believe me?
Remember the time when you became so lost in the task you are doing that forget yourself and was just going with the flow?
It could be any task, be it spending time with your loved ones, playing with a 2-year-old, or simply watching a breathtaking sunset.
During all those times, weren’t there moments when you did not have any thoughts at all and was completely immersed in the moment?
You can recreate those moments at will with the help of meditation and it won’t take months or years! If you want to try, check out how to do mindfulness meditation and experience mindfulness right now!
I Can Do Meditation With Technology
Given a huge number of meditation apps available today, it is not a mistake to think that one can do meditation with technology.
However, the reason why it is still a meditation myth is that there is a chance you may get dependent on it to achieve a state of relaxation and meditation.
Yes, for those who are entirely new to meditation, they may use these apps to get a hang of technique. But once you know the process, I’d recommend you to practice on your own without getting dependent on technology.
Meditation Will Make Me Enlightened
Ah, the enlightenment! That is an intriguing word depending on your assumption of what it is!
But do you really think you know what is enlightenment?
Honestly, I do not know if it is the feeling of interconnectedness with the universe or just a spiritual strength that comes from inside or anything else.
All I know is meditation makes you more self-aware and reflective besides giving you a clarity and freedom from attachment with the continuous chatter of your mind. Enlightenment? Not really.
But even if you do think that meditation makes you enlightened, it is a good thing, right?
To Sum Up
Meditation has still got a serious stigma associated with it in common people especially in India. That is ironic given the fact that India is known for its spiritual knowledge and wealth.
However, the western world has caught up fast and has already recognized the benefits of meditation. It is time to dispel all these meditation myths that prevent people from trying the habit.
What do you think about the above myths of meditation? How many of them have you believed at some point or still do? Let’s get the discussion started!