For some people the very mention of the word conjures up in their mind blissed out individuals sitting cross legged on the floor, with eyes closed, and muttering soft “OM” sounds out of their mouths.
Now, that’s not entirely untrue when practising meditation, but it’s not necessary either.
Most people have always associated meditation with a cult practice. A meditation myth such as this would definitely scare people away from even considering knowing it better.
In reality, meditation is a healthy (spiritual) practice and a great addition to your life. It allows you to connect with your inner self and take you to a deeper state of relaxation. However, there are so many misconceptions regarding meditation and what it’s supposed to do and not do for the practitioner.
These misconceptions may cause confusion for the potential meditation student and maybe even persuade them to not take up this valuable life skill
Here is what meditation is and what meditation isn’t. First of all, what meditation isn’t…
Meditation isn’t an exclusively religious activity
Definitely not. While meditation can be classed as a spiritual discipline, it doesn’t exclusively belong to any specific religion, nor is it used as a recruitment tool to join one.
It can be likened to a prayer, or a form of worship but meditation doesn’t tell you who to pray or worship to. It’s basically present in all the traditions of the different religions and it’s enjoyed by many atheists around the world too.
Meditation isn’t a means to escape reality
Not at all. Meditation is a tool that can be used to meet reality head on. It does not make escape artists out of its practitioners, nor does it paint picture-perfect scenes to trick the mind from what is true and real.
Meditation merely teaches us to face our existence with a better understanding, awareness, perspective and focus.
Meditation isn’t difficult to try
While a meditation practice might be a challenging thing to sustain at times, it certainly isn’t difficult to start off trying. All you need to do is get yourself comfortable whether it be sitting on a chair, sitting on the floor or, lying down, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
There are many ways to meditate but what I’ve mentioned above is one of the simplest ways to get started
Meditation isn’t laborious and boring
If you endeavour to set aside even 5 minutes of your time every day (at around the same time every day) and practice meditation you’ll soon start to feel the benefits of just being still and concentrating on your breath.
Once you start feeling the benefits I can guarantee that you won’t find your meditation practice laborious and boring.
Meditation isn’t an egocentric practise
False. Even if meditation necessitates one to spend time alone, it does not mean that we are closing our doors for other people. Meditation teaches us to be able to see beyond the darkness in our lives. If we have achieved this, then we can be of better help to others.
Gandhi once told us to “be the change that we want to see in the world,” a meditation practice is a great way to be the best that we can be for others. That is not the actions of an egocentric person.
Okay, now for what meditation is…
We’re all guilty of succumbing to the stresses and pressures of day to day living and a sustained meditation practice is a great way to manifest and maintain the inner peace and calm that we all are looking for in life.
Meditation does this for us by forcing us to stop and contemplate, reflect and focus on the concept of just “being” rather than always feeling like we need to be “doing” something.
Meditation forces us to be still enough to be aware of ourselves and where we sit in the world.
Essentially it allows you to “stop and smell the roses” and through doing this you start to de-stress by not allowing yourself to participate in the merry-go-round called life for that moment in time that you’re meditating.
Meditation allows you to momentarily stop the world so you can get off it.
It would be safe to say that meditation is a very good habit to practise but it must be done diligently and with purpose in order to gain the full benefits of it with one of the benefits being that it is so good for your overall mental and physical health.
It has been proven scientifically that a sustained meditation practice can help people manage symptoms of conditions such as…
- Chronic pain
Plus, the emotional benefits of meditation include…
- Managing your stress levels
- Increasing self-awareness
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing patience and tolerance
- Focusing on the present
- Increasing the ability to relax
All in all, the benefits of meditation far outweigh the meditation myths and negative untruths that you might find along your own journey but the only way to find out if meditation is good for you is to actually try it for yourself.
Just remember, it won’t hurt you, no one has ever died from meditating and you know what?
You might actually like it.