• More Meditation Myths

    Recently, we debunked 5 common meditation myths in an effort to help alleviate potential barriers to starting a meditation practice. In this follow up, we tackle five more myths to clarify concerns so you can keep your practice going strong:

    Myth: In order to meditate properly I need to stop my thoughts
    Meditation is not about trying to stop thoughts, feelings and emotions from arising (you really couldn't even if you tried!). It’s being able to simply be an observer to whatever is happening in your mind and letting it pass by without becoming caught up in it.

    Myth: Meditation will solve all my problems instantly
    Without patience, magic would be undiscovered – in rushing everything, we would never hear its whisper inside.~Tamora Pierce

    While we’ve become used to instantaneous results in a world of microwaves, mobile phones, social media, and 3D printers, meditation is not a quick fix solution. Its benefits do begin the moment you start, but they can be subtle and take time to build, especially if you are just learning to become more self-aware. Again we come back to the idea of meditation as a practice—just as we don’t expect to be able to finish a marathon the first time we go for a run, neither should we expect that we’ll have the calm of a Buddhist monk after 30 minutes on a meditation cushion.

    Meditation also doesn’t erase life’s ups and downs, but with regular and consistent practice, you’ll start to see you are better able to react reflectively instead of reflexively, become more anchored in the present moment rather than obsessing about the past or future, and are able to move through life’s challenges with a bit more equanimity.

    Myth: Every time I meditate, I should only feel peaceful and serene
    While you may have moments during your meditation where you feel calm or blissful, meditation is really about becoming a scientist of your inner self. Sometimes the most challenging sessions can be the most powerful for us. We are taking time to see what is taking place within rather than not even noticing it when being busy with life-happenings. So naturally, things that we would rather not want to feel or see do show up in our consciousness while just being with ourselves. When you meditate, simply be interested in yourself, witness yourself—whether it is pleasant or unpleasant makes no difference.

    Myth: I need to pick one type of meditation and stick with it
    For some people, the discipline of committing to one type of meditation becomes part of their practice. But others may benefit from exploring different practices—dance or another form of active meditation when it seems like your thoughts are just running a mile a minute or are just too anxious to sit still; walking meditation on those beautiful days where you want to get out and enjoy the fresh air; group meditation when you feel being around the energy of others might help motivate you to practice; listening to a guided meditation on your headphones when the sounds around you are too distracting; and even a yoga or Tai Chi class if achy back muscles make it hard for you to sit still.

    There are so many meditation options available, all offering great benefits!  After exploring a variety of approaches, you may find benefit in making one type your primary practice, especially if you have the support of a group.

    Myth: I’m doing something wrong if meditation seems different every time I sit
    Each meditation is different. That’s why it’s called meditation practice. Some days you might feel blissful, other times distracted by a chattering monkey mind, still others so fidgety you can’t stay still. Be open to trying different styles to match your needs: a guided meditation when your mind is racing or a meditation with a physical component when your muscles just won’t relax. And be okay with whatever happens no matter what technique you use. It’s all part of the process, all part of the learning journey.

     

    Consciousness, Compassion, Creativity—For a Life of Fulfillment (the three C’s)

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