Do you think meditation is not for you? I understand you, more than you know. For many years I thought meditation was absolutely nothing for me. Oh boy, how I was wrong. Because I was so wrong about it, and I know many of you will have the same misconceptions about meditation that I had. I decided to write about the 7 biggest myths I believed about meditation.
Myths that I really believed to be true. And you probably think they are true too…
Why start meditation if you don’t think it is anything for you?
Yes, good question. The reason I started to meditate, was because I had too. I am chronically ill and as part of my recovery I was told I needed to meditate daily.
My reaction was not at all positive. I can tell you that. I thought it was stupid that I had too and couldn’t see how it would benefit me at all.
When I started meditating I was very hesitant. I didn’t think it would be a great fit for me. I consider myself to be really down to earth, and I didn’t saw meditation as a down to earth kind of thing.
If I thought about meditation, all I could see were monks or (no offense) really spiritual people in white clothes that walk barefoot and feel one with nature.
Yes, I was that “down to earth”. And how I was wrong! That is not at all what mediation is about. If anything, meditation is the most natural thing to do.
So, let me tell you about these 7 myths about meditation, and why you most definitely should not believe them anymore. And…. maybe even start meditating yourself.
Myths about meditation
Meditation is only for spiritual or religious people
Like I said earlier. I really thought meditation was only for the more spiritual people or religious people like monks.
It is not that crazy that you think this too. This is mostly how we see meditation on TV or online. This is the image a lot of people have of meditation.
How is this wrong?
Yes, it is true that meditation finds its roots in Buddhism and Hinduism. However that doesn’t mean meditation has to be religious itself, or that you need to be religious to meditate.
I myself am not religious. I am open minded, but I do not practice any religion. And yet I still meditate.
Meditation for me is all about the connection between my body and my mind. Observing and create understanding.
Because of my chronic illness I had lost this connection. And yes, when my recovery doctor told that my mind and body lost their connection to me, this was me:
But I am the perfect example of how you need to always keep an open mind. And don’t judge something that you have absolutely no knowledge about.
Because that was what I was doing. I did not take it serious at all.
Of course I had to start meditating, because it was part of my recovery and I did want to get better. So if meditation was part of it… I accepted it. I downloaded Headspace and started my first meditation.
I meditate a couple of times a week now. And it helped me so much. Oh, and I am still not religious. Or spiritual.
One of the biggest myths: You need to think about “nothing” when you meditate.
Thinking about nothing. Is that really what meditation is about? No! It is most definitely not.
I hear this a lot, “I can’t think about nothing, whenever I try to meditate I am having all these thoughts”. That is okay, really.
Meditation is all about mindfulness. You are observing your mind. Looking into it from a different point of view. You can’t force yourself to think about “nothing”. We all know the example of how you are not allowed to think about the pink elephant, and of course all you can think about is the damn pink elephant.
Just let the thoughts you have be, really, let them be. Focus on your breath. Don’t put pressure on yourself to think about nothing. Whenever you feel your thoughts are getting too much, focus on your breath again.
When I first started meditating. I was sabotaging myself by having a lot of thoughts. This way I convinced myself “see, meditation is not for me”.
I got stressed about thinking, I didn’t want to think. Why couldn’t I stop these thoughts, I just wanted silence. The more I stressed out about having too many thoughts, the more thoughts I had.
It does take some practice and time. But after a few weeks I accepted the thoughts and accepted that they were there, I saw them but I didn’t focus on them anymore.
Now, I sometimes have short moments where my mind indeed is “empty”, no thoughts. I see patterns and colors and it is amazing.
I can’t meditate, I am doing it wrong
It is very common to think you are doing something wrong during meditation. Don’t worry, you are not.
I don’t believe there is a wrong way to meditate. We are all different and we all have different ideas of what feels comfortable and safe to us.
However, for meditation to really work in the best way, it is of course best to practice it in a way where you feel most relaxed. How and where that is, that is totally up to you.
Just try to relax and keep breathing. You are doing fine.
Meditation takes a long time
It can take a long time, for sure. But it doesn’t have to take a long time. And it will still be effective.
I am still a beginner at meditation. I am just slowly beginning to feel comfortable meditating longer and with just music. But when I first started meditating I was having trouble with completing 5 minutes.
But those 5 minutes, still helped me. There are even meditation sessions that last 3 minutes. You can do them during the day whenever you feel you need to. Refresh and refocus your mind. Or when you feel stressed, in those 3 minutes focusing on your breath, it really can be enough.
The way I look at it, 3 minutes, or 5 minutes of meditation, is better than 0 minutes of meditation.
I’m too down to earth for meditation
This was my own biggest misconception that I had about meditation. I was so convinced it was nothing for me, at all.
I am the “I need to see it before I believe it” type of person. And I was still convinced meditation was all about spirituality and becoming one with nature, walk barefoot all day and dance naked in front of a bonfire singing some new age song.
Nothing wrong with that lifestyle, you do you, but that just wasn’t me.
It was intimidating, to say the least. I thought I had to commit to a whole new lifestyle and practice all these beliefs I wasn’t sure were even true.
Meditation is just about your mind and your body. YOUR mind, YOUR body.
Don’t make it into this scary thing like I did. It is not scary. It is beautiful.
I am still down to earth. However, meditation did change me a lot. It did change my views and beliefs. I will talk about that in another post.
Meditation is too hard
I understand. It all looks intimidating. Those were my feelings too.
But in the end, meditation is as hard as you make it.
Yes it will take a lot of practice to become better. And yes, that will take a lot of time. And YES, seeing all those great spiritual leaders that have practiced meditation their whole lives can feel intimidating (or you can look at it as inspiration instead……..).
However. They were beginners at one point too, just like you and me.
It is true that meditation can feel really hard, especially in the beginning. It is your own mind that makes it hard. And your own mind can make it less hard.
Last but not least, the myth amongst myths: Meditation needs to be silent and without movement
Do you think meditation needs to be practiced in complete silence? Sitting still on a yoga mat, legs crossed and arms on your legs with your hands open?
I know I had these beliefs about meditation. And this is why I struggled so much in the beginning. I live in an area where there almost never is complete silence. And I thought that I needed complete silence for meditation.
Also I am not feeling comfortable and relaxed sitting in the position that I thought was needed for meditation.
So I had issues. I got distracted by everything around me. I was feeling uncomfortable and stressed. That was until I found out that I could also meditate with music. And I could meditate while walking. Or just sitting in a position that was comfortable for me.
I found out that I was allowed to change the way I meditated. And that there wasn’t an one size fits all with this.
Now I meditate mostly with music/sounds, and I love it.
So if you feel uncomfortable like I did. Don’t be afraid to find your own way of meditating, experiment with what works for you. In the end it is not about what is the “the right” way, it is about what is your right way.
Did you believe these myths about meditation?
I am really curious to know how many of these myths about meditation you believed. I believed all of them at one point. And I am happy I don’t anymore.
Meditation really changed my life for the better and I am hoping that it will help you too if that is why you are reading this article.
Just remember to always keep an open mind, and don’t judge things you don’t know anything about. It might surprise you.
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*This article contains only my own personal experience and opinions. Please read the disclaimer for more information.