5 Common Myths About Meditation That Are Totally Untrue

By Sharee James

Meditation is a simple practice that has the potential to change your whole life - from the inside out. Science has proven the many benefits of meditation - from better mental health to happier relationships and improved work performance. Many potential new students are deterred, however, by a few persistent - but wholly untrue! - myths and misconception about meditation - so let's debunk them one by one.

Misconception 1: "I Tried It Once And It Didn't Work"

This misconception is akin to trying to ride a bike for the very first time and then giving up after falling off - meditation requires consistency and practice (that's why it is often referred to as a practice). If you are hoping to experience deep states of inner peace, relaxation or bliss the very first time you sit down to meditate then you may be disappointed by your unrealistic expectations. These states can definitely be experienced in meditation, but not usually on the very first day!

Misconception 2: "I Just Can't Stop My Thoughts"

A lot of novice meditators mistakenly believe that if they were meditating "successfully", they would be able to switch their thoughts off like a switch in order to experience peace and calm. When they can't seem to be able to stop their thoughts, they often get into an internal struggle trying to resist them or worse, giving up completely. Meditation is about developing enough focus and awareness to simply notice when the mind is wandering, and to keep bringing the mind back to the object of concentration - again and again. There is no need to try to stop thinking altogether!

Misconception 3: "I Don't Have Time to Meditate"

We are all busier than ever these days and it can be hard adding one more thing to our "to-do" list. Meditation doesn't require long periods of time to be beneficial, it simply requires consistency - even 5 to 10 minutes a day can work wonders. By making your own happiness and wellbeing a true priority, you will feel motivated to make time for your practice in your schedule.

Misconception 4: "I Don't Have The Space To Meditate"

It would certainly be nice to be able to meditate in some extraordinary natural location or in a peaceful monastery - but that's hardly practical for most. It really doesn't matter where you do your meditation, as long as you just do it! Find somewhere reasonable quiet where you won't be disturbed for a few minutes, and where you can sit up straight comfortably - it could be sitting up in bed, on the floor, a cushion, a chair or even on a bus!

Misconception 5: "But I'm Not A Buddhist"

While a lot of meditation practices originated from Buddhism, meditation is not inherently religious, and you don't have to subscribe to any particular set of beliefs to meditate. Everyone experiences mental stress, agitation or anxiety from time to time and meditation can be beneficial to everyone - regardless what religion they belong to or even if they are not religious at all. There are, however, many practical and informative meditation classes and retreats held at Buddhist centres in many countries, and they are available to the general public no matter whether one is Buddhist or not.

Hopefully this post has cleared up some misconceptions that may have been stopping you from embarking on your own meditation practice. Meditation is truly for everyone and with patience and perseverance, it can change your life in many profound and unexpected ways.

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