Meditation Myths: Listen Now
Meditation Myths (Transcript)
Welcome to Episode 3 of deepen your meditation. In today’s episode, we’ll be exploring meditation myths.
Meditation is on the rise as a way to reduce stress, improve our mental health and to boost well-being.
Since 2012, the number of people who meditate has tripled, which is a crazy statistic. It shows you how popular this practice is becoming.
But as meditation increases in popularity, the confusion about it increases as well. So, we do find that there is some misinformation, myths and even fears about meditation.
So, let’s take a look at these 7 myths and how they are not actually true.
Ever worried that meditation is too difficult, selfish, unchristian, or even uncomfortable? Then you’re in the right place to have your doubts extinguished.
You can grab the 5-day meditation email challenge now. This is going to give you 5 days of instructions on how to meditate and a short practice each day to get you started.
All right, so let’s crack on with our 7 meditation myths.
Meditation Myth #1: You have to completely clear your mind
Many people believe that they need to completely still the mind to meditate well.
This is the wrong mindset to begin with.
Every meditation is a success, as long as we sit down, focus, and bring the mind back to the breath when it wanders.
There are some purists out there who will tell you that this is not true meditation. True meditation is a state of pure awareness.
And there is some truth to that. But they are talking about the state of true, deep meditation. For most of us, it takes a long time to get there.
So we can think about meditation as a practice and a state. We may not always get to that true state of deep meditation. In fact, early on, it may be quite rare.
But if we sit and practice focusing on the breath, coming back to the breath, focusing the mind, then that is a success.
And when you do this, you’re going to improve your practice over time. Eventually, you’ll experience that deep stillness.
If you expect to get into that state every time you meditate, you’re going to get frustrated. You won’t last a month because you’ll feel disappointed.
So, the key here is practice, practice, practice, and whatever happens, keep going.
You don’t have to completely clear your mind in each meditation. Do your best and when those deeper experiences come, enjoy them.
Myth #2: Meditation instantly brings peace and happiness
Meditation can take time to help you resolve your deep inward issues and struggles.
There’s a lot of buried pain, negative tendencies, and other reasons why you might suffer.
So, it’s not realistic to expect that you’re going to be perfectly happy when you start meditating.
The truth is that meditation can bring up some difficult issues. It may confront you with some unpleasant secrets that you’ve hidden from yourself.
But another myth is that you have to meditate for years and years to see results — that’s not true either. You can see results in a very short time.
But the true growth in lasting peace and happiness does tend to happen over time.
I noticed a shift almost immediately when I started meditating. Things felt quite different to me: clearer, calmer. But then life goes on and challenges arise.
Meditation reveals the inward problems so we can overcome them and purify ourselves. And this is what leads to growing inner freedom, inner strength, peace and wisdom. But it happens over time.
Myth #3: Meditation is selfish
Now I’m not sure where this one comes from but some people definitely believe it.
Meditation is as selfish as doing exercise, or anything else you do to improve your well-being.
Working on your mental health and emotional well-being is going to improve your life in the long term. And so, it’s also going to improve the life of everyone around you.
Because when you’re happy and peaceful, that’s going to make the people around you happy as well.
It may feel like, if you have a family, taking time for yourself to sit and meditate is unfair or selfish. But that time is important.
So, get rid of those thoughts whenever they come up. You have to make yourself happy if you want to enjoy your life and enjoy the people around you.
To be honest, I suspect that this may be an excuse for some people to not meditate.
Be aware of that and remember that being your highest self is the greatest gift that you can give to other people.
Of course, if you’re meditating 6 hours a day, while your spouse does all the housework, then yes, that’s a bit selfish. And you may want to reflect on that.
Always do your duties first, and meditate afterwards. But meditation isn’t selfish. Just make sure that you fit it into your routine in the right way.
Myth #4: Meditation is unchristian
There are many Christians out there who are reluctant to meditate. They feel that it’s going against their faith and it’s not part of the Christian teachings. Others people believe that it’s dangerous and sinful.
I definitely want to be sensitive here. I understand why people would feel that way. And if you do feel that way, there’s no obligation to meditate. But it is an important practice to deepen your connection with God, spirit, and even Jesus.
To me, meditation is like prayer. There’s an old saying: “Prayer is talking to God; meditation is listening.” So these two practices go hand in hand.
Scholars have argued about many aspects of the Bible, and how it’s changed over the centuries. There were many reasons why the church had to edit the bible over time. And I’ve often wondered if these spiritual practices like meditation were removed.
Whether that’s true or not, meditation doesn’t need to be a religious practice. It’s also a way to improve your health, your well-being and your happiness. So if you’re uncomfortable with it from a religious view, see it as a self-care ritual.
We’re still learning about meditation and so it’s new, in a way. Of course, it’s not really new, but as a popularised practice, it’s quite new. So there’s some fear and reluctance.
Over time, that’s going to reduce.
Make sure you’re not using this as an excuse for not meditating. I know meditation can be a little scary, to face up to your inner conflicts and your pain. So be sure that you’re not using your religion as a reason to not do the inner work.
Meditation Myth #5: You don't have the time
I hear this one a lot.
We live in a busy world and it can be tricky to find the time. But you can definitely find 10 minutes in a day.
How many minutes do we waste in one day? For me, it’s quite a lot, and I still manage to meditate 90 minutes a day.
Flicking through Facebook, watching TV shows, staring into the fridge. There are many other ways to waste time.
So, find ways to carve out time in your day to meditate. It just requires that you take action, and notice where you can save time.
The easiest way is to wake up a little earlier and meditate before you do anything else.
When you know the true power of meditation, you won’t need to try to find the time. It will be something that you’ll just do. You’ll want to do it and it will be easy to find the time. When you don’t meditate something will feel a little off.
So, the bottom line is, you do have the time somewhere in your day. You have to figure out where it is and what you need to tweak to find it.
You can do this. I know you can.
Myth #6: A busy mind is a reason not to meditate
Many people tell me, “I can’t meditate because I have a busy mind.”
I’ve heard this lots of times, and it feels like it makes sense. But when you explore it, it really doesn’t.
It’s a little bit like saying, “I can’t eat because I’m so hungry.” If you’re hungry, the number one thing that you should do is eat. And in the same way, if you have an active, busy, restless mind, what you need to do is work on that in meditation, so you can fix it.
A busy mind is a problem and it can become a serious one. In today’s world, we all have busy minds, even some of us who meditate.
But the difference is that we learn to gain control of the mind and those restless thoughts. We don’t get lost in downward spirals of negative thought patterns. And day-by-day, we begin to slow down the racing mind. Our daily meditation practice is the way to do that.
So, if you have a busy mind, remember, it’s not an excuse to not meditate. It’s a reason that you should be doing it.
Meditation Myth #7: You have to sit in uncomfortable positions
People see pictures of Buddhist monks in full lotus, and that can put them off. You don’t have to sit in any difficult positions if you don’t want to or if you’re not able to.
It’s fine to sit in a chair as long as you can keep a straight spine.
It helps to put something under the back legs of the chair to raise the back a little. This pushes the hips forward which helps you keep your spine straight.
Also sit at the front of the chair. Don’t lean against the backrest. Finally, make sure it’s the right kind of chair. Because if you’re sitting in an armchair you’ll be too relaxed. An upright chair with a flat base is ideal.
You can also get meditation benches these days. They’re great because the knees are well below the hips. This pushes your pelvis forward and leads to a very straight spine again. These are cheap on Amazon these days; you can get them for $40-$50.
Finally, you can sit on a meditation cushion on the floor. As long as you can keep a straight spine. Again, you don’t need to sit in full lotus or half lotus or anything. As long as your spine is straight and your knees grounded, that’s fine. And if that’s too hard, then sit on a chair or a meditation bench.
Read about meditation posture here.
Meditation Myths Review
Okay, so let’s debunk these seven meditation myths once and for all.
1. You don’t need to clear your mind completely to have a successful meditation.
2. Meditation doesn’t bring instant peace and happiness. It improves our well-being over time with discipline and dedication.
3. There is nothing selfish about meditation, or any other practice that involves self-care.
4. Meditation doesn’t contradict Christian teachings. It can even complement them, especially when done with deep faith and devotion.
5. You do have the time to meditate, all you have to do is find it.
6. If you have a busy mind, you need meditation as much as everyone else.
7. Sit how you like in meditation, as long as you sit upright, with a straight spine.
Grab the 5-day challenge now for daily emails giving you tips and practices to help you meditate. And I’ll see you again next week. Take care.”