37: Meditation Myths

meditation 4This morning I did a full moon meditation. I don’t think I have ever heard of one of those but I made it up anyway. Basically I stared at the full moon at 5:30am  and watched it sink and fade.

There are many ‘how to s’ on meditation, but I only have one tip. Do it in the morning, otherwise the day will take you and your mind over.

Here are the top myths of meditation with a little help from my friend Deepak Chopra.

Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.

Truth: If you want to do meditation learn a technique and practice. It can be as simple as watching your breath. The technique is simple but the process can be difficult. We often want too try to hard and we worry that we aren’t doing it right. Relax. Do what seems natural and right

Myth #2: You have to quiet your mind in order to have a successful meditation practice.

Truth:  This myth is what causes most people to give up meditating. You can’t stop your thoughts but what you can do is monitor how much attention to pay to each of them. What you are trying to do is calm your mind enough to see a space between your thoughts and this is where you rest your attention. Hopefully this space will grow over time. We use and anchor or object of attention such as the breath, a mantra or an image to return to when we hear our thoughts shouting at us.

The thought that you are having too many thoughts will naturally subside over time and you will still be getting the benefits of meditation. The fact you are aware you are thinking is a great step anyway, much better than thinking you are your thoughts.

Myth #3: It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation.

Truth: There are many benefits to meditation which you can begin to experience from day one. Here are some benefits; better sleep, improved concentration, decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced immune function.

Myth #4: Meditation is escapism.

Truth: The purpose of mediation is to get in touch with your real self. In meditation you dive down under the repetitive thoughts about yourself to try to tap into the eternal, non-changing, non-judgemental part of your pure awareness. This is the place not caught up in story of the past or anxiety of your future. It is the real you.

Myth #5: I don’t have enough time to meditate.

Truth:  You make what is important in your life a priority and non-negotiable. Your time is just a choice. We all have 24 hours so choose how you want to spend that time. Actually if you meditate everything slows down anyway, our blood pressure lowers, and our body decreases the production of stress hormones and other chemicals that give us the  subjective feeling that we are “running out of time.”

As time goes on you will notice that you are able to accomplish more while doing less instead of constantly struggling with time.

Myth #6: Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs.  

Truth: Meditation is not aligned with any spiritual belief system. Same with yoga. It is just a process to take us beyond our busy minds so we can function in a more loving, kind and thoughtful way each and every day.

Myth #7: I’m supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation.

Truth:  You probably won’t experience fireworks and levitation during your practice. What you will find is the stillness and caught moments of bliss will be carried into day.

Practice for Today: If you don’t meditate think how you can create some space or time today to set up a practice for you. Or consider finding a teacher or course to attend. Make a commitment to yourself.

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