Meditation is known for its ability to promote relaxation, improve focus and concentration, and nurture an appreciation and closeness with one’s self. Several cultures and religions have used meditation in their traditions and countless universities around the world have studied its many effects on the body, mind, and emotions. As wide spread and well-studied as meditation is, there are still many misconceptions about it; what it is, how to do, and who uses it. Here, I debunk three common myths about meditation.
1. Meditation is for Buddhists-False. Meditation is for everyone, no matter what your religion, belief system, spirituality, or lack thereof is. While it is true that Buddhism teaches meditation and mindfulness, so do many religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and others. Meditation is a mental discipline that has been around since the dawn of humans.
2. Meditation is about “not thinking”-False. Meditation is not the absence of thought. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Meditation teaches us to maintain focus on a single thought, word, or action despite internal or external distractions. It is nearly impossible (and not fun) to stop our mind from thinking. It just doesn’t happen because our senses are feeding our brain information on a constant basis. What we can do, though, is gently acknowledge our thoughts and let them pass by as we maintain concentration on our meditation. Meditation is about effort, not performance. All you have to do is continue to try, and you will be successful!
3. You must meditate for an hour a day-False. Meditating for any amount of time is beneficial. Here’s the good news; you do not need to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and meditate for an hour to have a “successful” practice. Of course, you can do that if you want to, but it is not necessary to have an effective practice. Some ways you can plug meditation into your daily routine is to focus on your breathing in the morning for a few rounds of breath, check in with your feelings throughout the day, or imagine your muscles relaxing before you fall asleep at night.
The truth is there are limitless ways to practice meditation and mindfulness. Practicing on a daily basis, whether in class or on your own, will make many dramatic positive shifts in your life. Begin to feel good for no reason. Visit www.studioformindfulness.comfor more information on classes near you.