5 Common Myths about Meditation
Before we begin the 2nd Shamatha Meditation practice on Sunday, I wanted to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding Meditation.
Do take a moment to read this; it might help you start this journey again with a clearer mind and a relaxed heart!
Myth #1 - Meditation is difficult
Truth - Meditation is not difficult; it's surely challenging to maintain a discipline. One reason it may seem difficult is that we are trying too hard to concentrate, we become attached to fast results, or we're not sure if we are doing it right. Once you learn the technique, which could be focusing on the breath or silently repeating a Mantra, or concentrating on a candle flame, the journey has just began. Now, we are awake to the present state of our minds.
Myth #2 - You should have NO thoughts if you're doing Meditation
Truth - This is the most common reason why students give up Meditation in frustration! Meditation is not about removing all thoughts or having an empty mind - trying to do that will definitely cause more stress & frustration! We cannot stop or control the flow of thoughts, but we can decide how much importance we give to them. As we sit in Meditation, we do not crave for good thoughts nor do we push bad thoughts away. They are just thoughts; they are like white puffy clouds in the sky; they appear, stay for a while and move on.
Myth #3 - It takes years of dedicated practice to have benefits from Meditation
Truth - The benefits of Meditation are both immediate and long-term. In a single Meditation sitting, as we focus on the object of attention, the mind can connect to the space between thoughts, maybe for microseconds, but we can experience a moment of pure awareness. As we continue to practice, this connection becomes stronger and deeper. Daily Meditation practice, even for 15 minutes, has been proven to improve immunity, decrease blood pressure and enhance quality of Life!
Myth #4 - You have to be able to sit in Padmasana / Lotus Pose, only at certain times, facing only certain directions
Truth - My teacher always says "If you are alive, you can meditate". No particular posture can bring us peace, if our bodies are in pain. You can sit on a cushion on the floor, you can sit on a chair, you can lie down too; the emphasis is a relaxed body leads to a relaxed mind. Yes, early mornings are better, but 10 minutes at the end of the day also works well. Experiment & explore and arrive at your sweet spot to settle into a few moments of peace.
Myth #5 - I'm supposed to have Transcendent experiences / Total Peace / See Colors / Connect with Angels ; When these events don't happen, Meditation is not working
Truth - Most of us don't experience visions, see colors, levitate or hear a choir of angels when we meditate :).
The real benefits of daily Meditation are in how we lead our lives, in the rest of the day. We will carry some of the stillness, silence, tolerance and patience from our meditation cushion out into the world.
Maybe that's enough to change our experience of the day - maybe less frustration at a co-worker, maybe less anger at our child / spouse, maybe a moment of Joy at the blue sky, maybe a breath of Gratitude at the end of the day..aren't all these true benefits of a conscious Life?
Yes, they are!! We just have to change our perception!
Hope these myths can be dispelled from your consciousness today and you can rebuild your commitment to Meditation!!