Meditation Myths That Can Belittle Your Bliss
Do you meditate? If you’re like 80 percent of the people asked, your answer is, “I’ve tried it, but can’t make my mind stop.” This meditation myth and a few other common misunderstandings can keep you from learning this very valuable relaxation practice.
Today, I’d like to share some good news with you. Meditation is possible for everyone, and with the right guidance, you can develop a simple practice that will bring great benefits.
Let’s take a deeper look at a few common misunderstandings about mediation and make this ancient stress relief practice more accessible to you.
Myth #1: To meditate, you have to stop your busy mind from thinking.
Truth: It’s your mind’s job to think.
Your mind is like a lighthouse on constant look-out for ways to prepare and protect you, which is very beneficial. The goal of meditation is not to stop your mind from thinking, but rather to gain perspective on your thoughts so that you don’t get hooked into unconsciously reacting to them. It’s the constant mental and emotional reaction to each and every thought, and the thread of imagined future scenarios that follows, that keep us in a state of hypervigilance and high stress. Meditation teaches you to witness your busy mind’s chatter without reacting to it.
Myth #2: Meditation takes too much time.
Truth: Short meditations done regularly have great benefit over time.
Let’s face it, we’re all extremely busy. Most people would like to meditate but can’t imagine when they could make time for it. Luckily, the research shows that short, regular meditation over time can make a big difference. My suggestion is to begin with just 12 minutes per day. In a meditation program called Quiet Time, just 12 minutes was shown to reduce violence and improve psychological and physical health in middle school students.1 A study by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School with subjects that meditated an average of 30 minutes per day for only 8 weeks showed beneficial changes in the brain that improved focus, memory, and compassion.2
Myth #3: Meditation is for hippies, yogis, and spiritual dudes.
Truth: Meditation has benefits for everyone because it helps balance the mind.
The practice of meditation is ancient, tracing back to both India and China in the second half of the first millennium BC when man began to ponder the philosophical questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” In our more modern world, with its stresses and pressures, meditation helps us live a better life. It can help you lower your stress, reduce your pain, sharpen your focus, improve your memory and allow you to feel happier and more relaxed. Everyone can use that!
Are you ready to bust through the myths and learn to meditate? Try a local class at your library or community center or a meditation app like Insight Timer or Calm and experience the many benefits yourself. Remember, meditation is a practice and there is no perfect.
Laya Raznick is a certified holistic health coach guiding clients to release limiting stress patterns so they can relax and live with more inspiration, joy, and ease. Her Facebook group @ChooseInnerPeace features a weekly group meditation (Wednesdays 9am) and no experience is necessary. Call (760)512.3399 or visit www.layaraznick.com.
References: 1) https://deserthealthnews.com/stories/meditation-delivers-results-schools; 2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8aea09a30005