Meditation Myths: Bust 9 Common Misconceptions Blocking You From Meditating
We all know meditation can be one of the best habits for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. So why do so few of us actually practice meditation regularly? Together we'll bust nine of the most common myths preventing us from growing inner peace through meditating.
Myth 1) Meditation is a big time commitment.
Truth: Meditation can be practiced in as little as a single, intentional breath. While it would be nice to begin and end every day with an hour of peaceful meditation, let's be honest... for most of us that is simply not realistic. I've often heard, "I'd like to meditate, I just don't have the time!" and I get it, I was once there too. Funny enough, meditation is something that you will not find time for. You're likely busy enough and have plenty on your plate. So instead you get to make time for it.
Even five or ten minutes a day can make a major difference in helping you to breathe deeply, soothe your nervous system, calm your mind, and take note of your emotions. That's it! That's all you need to start with. You may find you enjoy the results of doing so and find it well-worth it to add a few minutes each week. Or perhaps you'd like the additional companionship and accountability of going to a local class (those in the Cedar Valley, Iowa area can find my in-person meditation classes here). Anyone can begin a meditation practice and if you feel like you don't have the time, you need meditation even more! After all, there's a zen proverb that says,
“If you don't have time to meditate for an hour everyday, you should meditate for two hours."
Start with small, attainable time frame goals and build the consistent habit first.
Myth 2) You must be a peaceful person to meditate.
Your ability to meditate has nothing to do with your personality type or way of being. The fun and slightly ironic thing about this myth is... meditate regularly and you'll become a more peaceful person. It's like saying you must be someone with a healthy diet to eat an apple. Anyone in any walk of life can eat an apple and anyone can meditate. But you may be pleasantly surprised by how much more peaceful your own life can feel once you do!
Myth 3) Meditation means sitting, cross-legged in complete quiet.
When you think of someone meditating, you may conjure up imagery of an individual seated in lotus or half lotus pose, hands in a specific mudra in the peaceful quiet of nature or a silent room. While this is an option, this is far from the only way to meditate. When we're not used to finding peace in silence and stillness it can be hard to settle into the discomfort of this particular type of meditation.
If you're new to meditation and struggle to "settle in", I love suggesting a form of moving meditation. A nature walk where you're paying close attention to your breathing patterns and allowing nature to lead the meditation. Getting lost in dancing to a song that really lights up your soul and resonates with what you're currently navigating through emotionally. Even doing dishes with intention and gratitude, as you allow your heart to shift from annoyance of the task at hand to thankfulness to have full bellies, warm homes, and healthy bodies.
Myth 4) You'll immediately achieve enlightenment.
We live in an instant-gratification society, it's true. We're used to sending our grocery order and picking them up the same day without even leaving our car. We order nearly anything and have it on our doorstep in a matter of days. We can find the answers to nearly any question with a few taps of our fingertips.
While these conveniences can be helpful, they've also made us far less patient. We can have the illusion that once we begin meditating, we'll immediately feel complete clarity as to our direction in life and follow our Divine inner being's guidance in every step along the way. Truth is, the path toward enlightenment is a journey that takes consistent action and care... making it all the more rewarding!
Myth 5) You need to be a spiritual person to meditate.
We are all spiritual beings because we all have a spirit! Simply being human invites you to meditate. It is one of the most wonderful ways of relaxing the body and quieting the busy mind. As you do so you invite your spirit to be heard, felt, and understood. Our spirit or soul, the true essence of who you are and your connection with the Divine is often heard clearest when we create these moments of stillness. If we allow the world around us to become cluttered with noise and busyness we can lose our connection to our inner self. Likewise, this connection is strengthened by meditation.
Myth 6) Meditation is about relaxation.
Relaxation is the most enjoyable byproduct of meditation! We may meditate to become more relaxed, but it is also a practice that involves focusing our mind, increasing our sense of self-awareness, and uplifting our emotional well-being. As you do so, you'll discover that you're less reactive in situations that used to have you on edge. Your nervous system feels safe and releases you from the tension causing grip of fight-or-flight. And you realize you're actually breathing deeply and slowly during the day for the first time you can remember.
Myth 7) You must clear your mind completely to meditate successfully.
Especially at the beginning of your meditation journey, you may find it hard to allow your mind to completely quiet. If we become hard on ourselves about this we grow frustrated. Give your monkey mind some grace, it's been so used to going 100mph that halting to a full stop may not be in the cards without some practice.
Think of that hobby you enjoy so much that you can just get lost in it... not realizing how much time has passed because you're completely immersed and not even thinking actively. Maybe running or swimming, maybe doing a puzzle or hands-on project. Eventually, meditation can become like this. Yet it's important to remember that every moment you're dedicating to meditation, you're successful. You're successfully improving your self-awareness and emotional well-being, slowing your heart rate, improving your digestion, sleep, ability to focus, and even oxygenating your blood more fully!
Myth 8) "I've tried meditating, but I must be doing it wrong."
Because of the misconceptions out there of what meditation is supposed to look or feel like, too many have tried only to feel like they've been unsuccessful. Just as with the previous myth, one may feel that since they were unable to really clear their mind they were doing it wrong. Or because they felt more uncomfortable rather than more peaceful. Often meditation feels a bit uncomfortable at the beginning... simply because drastic change is often uncomfortable. And when we're constantly bombarded with stimuli and seek out distraction after distraction, this stillness is a drastic change.
If we've been neglecting our own inner healing, we may notice that during these times we feel emotions we've been running from. We may even have realizations that parts of our present are not supposed to continue with us into the future if we follow the guidance of our higher selves and higher power. This can be uncomfortable at first! The more we allow ourselves to settle into the gift of guidance through our intuition by simply creating stillness and presence inside, the more we strengthen this ability.
Myth 9) You must live a certain lifestyle, belong to a particular culture, or practice a certain religion to meditate.
Another common limiting belief is that one must live a certain lifestyle in order to practice meditation. That you must be of a certain cultural background or that it would somehow contradict your religious faith. That you must be vegan and robed in white linens.These are all untrue. Meditation supports the integration of who you are in body, mind, and spirit as you are. Whatever that looks and feels like is only uplifted by the practice of creating more inner peace within your life. Humans of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, spiritual celebrations, pronouns, family sizes, dietary choices, clothing preferences, and beyond are welcome and encouraged!
If you'd appreciate support in beginning or continuing this incredibly beneficial practice of meditation, I'm here for you. Schedule a healing meditation individual session locally or virtually here, and check out the affordable resources you'll find in my holistic wellness Etsy shop including affirmation cards, meditation tracker sheet, meditation journals, beautiful printable posters, and more!
Love & Healing,