You may have heard lots of talk about about meditation lately. It certainly is getting lots of coverage as a way to combat today’s often busy and overwhelming world. Despite all of this coverage however, there is still a lot of misconception about what meditation actually is and how it can help us. Meditation has become an important practice for me, which has brought me countless benefits and so I would love to help dispel some of the key misconceptions to help you begin a meditation practice of your own:
1. It takes years to get “good” at meditation
This is a very common misconception and one that is based in stories that you hear about people wandering into the forest and meditating for 10 years, or monks who give up their worldly goods to go and meditate in the Himalayas. The truth is not like that; the fact is that you can start to experience the benefits of meditation from day one. You don’t have to practise for years, or dedicate your whole life to it. A short meditation can provide benefits straight away – it doesn’t have to take over your life!
2. I’m not good at emptying my mind
It was a total game-changer for me on my meditation journey when I finally understood that meditation is not all about creating a blank mind. It is almost impossible, particularly at the beginning to completely empty the mind and people often believe that they are “bad at” meditation as a result – I know I did! The reality is that meditation is more like setting time aside to guide your mind. It’s a peaceful, yet active process. Instead of sitting with a blank mind you are actually moving your mind towards more awareness, consciousness and choice.
3. Meditation takes too much time
Today’s world can be busy, demanding, maybe even overwhelming. Many people ask why, in that situation, you should set aside 10, 20 or even 30 minutes a day. The irony is that if you actually give it a go you will often find that meditation actually seems to add time to your day. By having more control over your mind you will spend less time on distracting activities. You will be more energised and rejuvenated. This gives you the ability to tackle your day-to-day life with energy and vigour. Plus, meditation can take as little as 2-5 minutes – once you feel the benefits there’s no doubt that you will set aside more time for the practice.
4. Meditation is a religious or spiritual practice
Many religious or spiritual traditions have long-established practices of meditation, however meditation is actually non-sectarian and non-religious. Practicing meditation won’t make you religious any more than stretching will make you a yogi! Meditation is actually a mental exercise that has been clinically tested time and time again. Research has shown that meditation is beneficial on a wide range of different patients; PTSD sufferers, high blood pressure, ADHD patients and the list goes on. In short meditation can benefit anyone, whatever your religious or spiritual views.
5. Meditation is all about stress reduction
One of the benefits of meditation is that it can help to reduce stress, but that’s not the only outcome. Meditation is an opportunity to gain a rare and intimate glimpse into your mind and your self. It will improve your ability to concentration and focus and improve productivity and give you a sense of inner peace.
As meditation becomes more mainstream misconceptions are bound to arise and some of them may stop people practising however, if dispelling some of these misconceptions has helped you then give meditation a go – I promise you won’t regret it. Let me know how you get on….
Love and light,