Meditation is becoming more popular for a variety of reasons, including stress alleviation and the pursuit of enlightenment. Nonetheless, there are numerous misconceptions about what meditation is and how to practice it. The eight most prevalent misunderstandings are addressed in this article.
Misconception #1: Meditation entails ceasing to think and having a blank mind.
This is probably the most common misconception regarding meditation: that it is used to "stop thinking." Long-term meditation does, without a doubt, reduce the amount of thinking that occurs, which is fantastic. One of the first things people new to meditation are met with is the inane, repetitive, and usually negative babble of thoughts that fly from one to the next in their heads.
But what does it mean to have a blank mind? We become perplexed because we identify with our mental thoughts (our inner monologue) and assume they are reporting the truth of our experience. As a result, the absence of cognition is supposed to represent a blank mind. But the mind's breadth embraces far more than an idea.
We want to increase mindfulness in meditation, which is the sensation of having a full mind. The mind is quite active and attentive while we're mindful, but it's not consumed by thought. Rather, we are aware of our physical sensations, emotional and mental movements, and how each of these things arises as part of our present experience. When we spend our entire lives lost in identification with thinking, the mind becomes engaged in the vast complexity of our experience, a richness that we are unaware of.
Misconception #2: Meditation is a form of self-indulgent escape.
Meditation appears to some individuals who have never tried it to be like "escaping from reality." We frequently hear the pejorative term "navel-gazing," which implies that meditation is nothing more than sheer self-indulgence.
From a more conscious perspective, escapism is keeping busy and distracted so that you never have time to be fully present with yourself. We come face to face with our own fears, delusions, misery, and selfishness when we meditate. This is an important aspect of meditation's goal. We begin to disempower these undesirable elements of ourselves when we can sit with and accept them. This simple act of allowing and accepting is crucial in the healing and release process.
Misconception #3: You must be extremely flexible and sit in full lotus.
The majority of the traditional meditation postures, such as full lotus, date from a time and culture when chairs were not often used. As a result, people sat on the floor, as they still do in many impoverished countries. As a result, their pelvises were organically conditioned to sit in this position without pain.
For those of us who have spent our lives sitting in chairs, a chair might be a better spot to meditate. Meditation can be done in any position that is comfortable for you. The ability to rest deeply, stay awake, and keep the spine straight are the two most important factors to consider. The mind has enough to think about without worrying about how you sit in meditation.
Misconception #4: Meditation is nothing more than deep relaxation.
This misperception about meditation stems partly from its increasing use as a stress-reduction tool. While it's true that meditation can help you manage stress and improve your health, reducing its function and purpose to this is a stretch.
While deep relaxation is an important part of how to meditate, it is only half of the equation. The other part entails paying close attention. If it sounds complicated, you're getting a sense of why meditation is a discipline rather than simply sitting with your eyes closed.
Misconception #5: The mp3 will take care of everything.
We've all seen the commercials for products that claim to allow you to meditate as deeply as a Zen monk in just minutes. It is OK to use binaural beats and other technologies to attune to slower brainwaves. It can and does have a beneficial effect, but it is not meditation, and you are not meditating while you use them.
Let's take a look at the Zen monk's claim to see what I mean. Some meditators can achieve natural brain hemisphere synchronization after years of focused practice, which means neither the left nor the right brain is dominant, but they both operate together. The problem is that this isn't the point of meditation, and it ignores everything else that it is and the needs of the meditator.
Misconception #6: Meditation is an 'Eastern' practice.
It's simple to see where this mistake stems from. Meditation, on the other hand, is a global spiritual practice that may be found in almost all human cultures and traditions. Although not all nations and traditions refer to it as meditation, the labels don't matter when it comes to the ideas and aims. And, let's face it, 'Eastern' is the wellspring of all three major world faiths.
Misconception #7: Meditation is a religious practice.
The wonderful thing about meditation is that it doesn't matter what our philosophical or religious beliefs are. Meditation is a technique of immersing oneself in consciousness itself, outside of the mind's structures. The mind's beliefs become more obvious as time goes on, and their power over us fades. To acquire access to our spirit - our true nature - we go deep within ourselves. As a result, people of various religions (or no religion) can (and do) practice mediation.
Misconception #8: When you meditate, you say "OM" a lot.
A ridiculous and pervasive stereotype.
As you learn to meditate, you will begin to reap the many benefits that meditation has to offer. Begin right now. Those who learn to meditate will be pleasantly surprised by the effects.