Meditation Myth Busters
Ok, let’s do this. Let’s bust the myths flying around out there about meditation.
Myth Buster: We’re all meditating
Technically, meditation is a word that refers to when you’re in the state of meditation. When we sit, or pause or lie down (yes that’s allowed) to meditate, what we are really doing is creating a space and condition for meditation to occur.
Meditation happens when we are at one with whatever is going inwardly and outwardly.
But most of us, nearly without exception (Dalai Lama, Buddha and God being the exceptions) have to practice meditation for it to occur. It’s that ‘practising’ that we now call just meditation.
Still with me? Good. Next.
Myth Buster: Meditation empties your mind or requires you to clear your thoughts
Meditation is exploring. It’s not a fixed destination. Your head doesn’t become vacuumed free of thought, empty and undistracted. It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous, whatever arises.
When we meditate using the technique of mindfulness – noticing our judgments, feelings, thoughts, associations and inviting ourselves to allow for them while discovering something beyond thought, past, future and association – we venture into the workings of our minds and begin to understand how and why we function as we do.
Myth Buster: Meditation will make life more peaceful and solve the world’s problems
Meditation does not fix anything.
Sure, there are a tonne of studies and claims out there on what meditation does (and all those social media posts) – meditation will cure food cravings, give you better sex, create world peace, improve your sports performance, make you zen-like…
The thing is, it’s not possible to point to meditation as the cure or cause for outcomes because as amazing as modern science is nowadays, it cannot and does not take into account the whole person (or whole being as I like to call us). Your past, history, predisposition, life circumstances, who ‘you’ as a unique spirit in bodily form are will collectively contribute to the effects of meditation on your inner and outer life.
Myth Buster: Meditation takes time and is not a priority when you have so many other important things to do
Er… well for a start regular meditation practice rejuvenates and can even grow new cells in the body, contributing to the anti-ageing affect of the whole body. So really, meditation can BUY you more time.
Don’t have half an hour every day? You don’t need it. Just 10 minutes a day, be that chanting, breathing, or mindfully drinking your tea, is scientifically proven to bring you mental and physical benefit.
Myth Buster: Meditation is easy
Sorry, but no it isn’t. Developing a meditation practice entirely on your own is difficult. Of course it can be done. The use of apps and downloads and books are helpful, but there is nothing, nothing like practising with a teacher or friend who has a regular practice.
It’s more likely to happen, for a start. If you have somewhere to go to and someone to do it with, as human beings we are 500% more likely to follow through. You’re also made to be accountable.
I always recommend finding a teacher, or guide, or facilitator, or someone who has been practising for a while to get you started, and to keep you motivated, and, crucially, to assist you when issues or challenges come up (which they will)– because your practice will be like life, ebbs and flows, some good days, some god damn awful ones, and all in between.
Myth Buster: Meditation is hard, or boring
So even though meditation is not easy, you can find a way of meditating that is suitable for you: finding the right technique, teacher, comfort and accessibility level for you makes all the difference. When it ‘clicks’, you will look forward to practising. And within a month or so of regular practice, you will enjoy it. Yes really!
Myth Buster: Meditation is for Spiritual People (or people who call themselves sapiosexuals)
Essentially, mindfulness meditation, or practising mindfulness is an ordinary thing that we already have within us. Think of those moments when you’re not photographing the sunrise but you and the sun are one, or when you’re not evaluating the track that comes on the radio, but you are in the music.
Our busy old minds, the human negativity bias and the rapidity and superficiality of modern living make it difficult to access that mindful state within us. It also doesn’t come with rewards recognised by society. Life can seem like the current education system – all about the honours and results – but what about our innate capacity for knowledge, learning and awareness?
But don’t take my word for it or this myth-busting article. As Buddha said, the only way to know what is and what is not – is to go experience it for yourself.
-To experience Mindfulness Meditation practice and hear more about how it works you might be interested in this event: Mindfulness Afternoon, Saturday 6th April, West Hampstead, London, click here
-Picture credit: Revalatori