- David Hastings Lloyd R.Ac, R.TCMP
The Five Main Myths of Meditation
With more and more people starting a meditation practice, it is logical that certain untruths will begin to surface. Myths are to be expected. However, that does not mean shouldn’t shed light on them. Once you predict a few everyday distractions, you can do your best to avoid them. Let’s dig into a few common misconceptions about meditation.
Myth #1: Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice.
Truth: Meditation is a practice that allows us to escape the various distractions of our minds. With training, it can bring you to a place of stillness and peace. As I touched on in my page Meditation 101, meditation doesn’t require a specific spiritual or religious belief. People meditate to experience peace of mind and an enhanced awareness of their experiences in the world in which they live. There are health benefits as well, and that may be the reason why you start to practice meditation. Maybe you have high blood pressure, poor sleep, or perhaps you are just plain stressed out. You might also meditate to help you excel in your career or improve in playing a particular sport. There are many reasons to practice meditation, and they aren’t exclusive to spiritual traditions.
Myth #2: Meditation is Strenuous to Learn
Truth: Mediation is a fun and straightforward to learn and practice. The reason why we associate meditation with difficulty is likely due to the image of the Yogic or Shaolin monk. Many of us have seen them performing feats that, though impressive and related to their ability to focus, would take many years to learn. Another reason why meditation seems difficult is that concentrating our minds is very challenging. But that is only a problem if you are attached to “achieving” a particular outcome from meditating. Don’t worry about it, just sit down and work on your practice.
Myth #3: You must sit in the lotus (or other difficult to attain) position
The Patanjali yoga sutra explains that while meditating it is vital to be comfortable and steady. That’s it. This means you can sit cross-legged, on a chair, on a sofa, in the grass on a log; it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you have good spinal posture while you sit. The rules of good posture for meditation are explained in detail in my free ebook (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD).
Myth #4: You Have to Meditate for Hours to “Go Deep”
You do not have to sit for hours to have a rewarding meditation practice. If you practice for a just a few minutes a day, you can gain profound benefits. Research backs this up. Meditation is about accumulated experiences over a lifetime, it not about a marathon today and nothing until the next week, if ever again. A simple relaxation meditation before you drift off to sleep can change the quality of your sleep and make for a more energetic day the next morning. You do not need to do long sessions, especially if you are a beginner.
Myth #5: Meditation is Only About Relaxation
Though you can achieve deep states of relaxation by meditating, the impact on your body and mind is much more profound. Unlike merely vegging out on the sofa and watching TV, meditation produces beneficial changes in brain chemistry and brainwave patterns. These results are due to some of the specifics of breathing and posture used for meditation practice. As previously mentioned these aspects are covered in detail in my free ebook (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD).