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The Truth About Meditation
Today, I’m going to tell you my honest opinion about meditation. I’m going to finally bust all these silly meditation myths once and for all.
The mindfulness movement has really picked up speed in the 2010s, inspiring people to make real and lasting changes in their lives for the better. People are becoming consumed with being in the present moment all the time. Businesses and schools are integrating meditation into their framework to boost morale.
And why? Because the truth is: practicing meditation is is the absolute best way to reduce stress and improve mental health. But it also goes so much deeper than that.
A lot of people assume that those who practice meditation are all monks who can’t live with any modern conveniences. But in reality, those who practice meditation are usually the ones who live longest, healthiest, and happiest lives.
Some people are not willing to give meditation a real chance to change their lives. They are often afraid of what might come up from within. Or they are worried about being judged by others because of outdated stereotypes.
People of all ages and backgrounds can and will benefit from meditation. You do not need to retreat to the mountains to experience the internal bliss of meditation. Of course, if that lifestyle calls to you, by all means do it!
“Is Meditation Real?”
There are an awful lot of meditation myths floating around out there. People hear about this too-good-to-be-true solution to all of their problems, and they naturally become skeptical. They start to wonder, “Is this for real? Is meditation just woo woo nonsense?”
I really don’t like the mainstream term “woo woo” to describe spirituality and mindfulness. It is demeaning, and truly undermines people who choose to explore that side of themselves.
So kindly refrain from referring to spirituality as “woo woo.” I know it’s trendy and hashtag worthy, but it’s also rude. Like calling people who love fitness “gym rats” or “meat heads.” These phrases are discouraging and only people who are acting like a bully will use them. Are you a bully?
Whether you consider yourself spiritual or not, meditation is the key to lasting inner peace and happiness. There is more than enough reliable, “scientific” evidence to prove the validity of meditation. There is nothing woo woo, fake, or mystical about it. So yes–meditation is as real AND as necessary as oxygen is.
Why do people continue to judge it in this way? And not just meditation, but all aspects of spirituality and personal growth. As if it is shameful to peel back the layers and expose what’s underneath. In my opinion, it’s more shameful to pretend those layers don’t exist and ignore them completely.
Going through life this way ensures just one thing: that you will miss out on one of the most rewarding human experiences there is. Personal growth is inevitable–and mediation is the most gentle way to go about it.
5 Meditation Myths Debunked
First and foremost: mediation is NOT just for monks living high in the Himalayas! Meditation is just as natural as sex–it is something that every human is meant to experience in a positive way.
In this blog post, I’m going to be busting 5 common meditation myths to help demystify the ancient practice of presence. I hope you enjoy!
1. Movement is Forbidden During Meditation
It’s true that finding stillness is an important part of meditation. But it’s more like a natural side effect than a requirement. Even the most advanced meditators will scratch their nose or rub their eyes during their sessions.
By no means are you forbidden to move during meditation. But every time your body does move, your mind is more likely to become distracted. We typically do try to avoid movement during meditation–mostly because it is easier to quiet the mind when your body is quiet. However, there are no meditation gods that will punish you if you adjust your body.
In fact, it is utterly impossible for your body to be completely still. Your heart will always be beating, and your breath will always be moving. All the cells in the body are subtly vibrating constantly. Keeping muscle movement to a minimum during meditation can help bring attention to these gentle sounds.
If you need to change positions, flutter your eyes, or sneeze a few times during your meditation practice, just do it! The idea is to bring your body into stillness so you can better hear your inner voice. But that doesn’t mean you are expected to become a statue.
2. You Need Some Sort of App to Help You
For the love of all that is sacred, do not allow yourself to use your lack of a “good meditation app” as an excuse not to meditate. That would be like saying you can’t exercise because you don’t have a membership to a good gym.
Sure, the gyms and the apps can help you cultivate the habit in the beginning. But they are not a requirement. Not even in the slightest.
Recently, I have heard lots of people say, “I haven’t tried meditation because there are no good apps for it.” Meditation is as old as the Earth. And our meditating ancestors certainly didn’t have technology to assist them in their practice. This is one area of our lives that is probably better off without technology.
Personally, I have tried a few meditation apps and I wasn’t crazy about them. I do enjoy a good guided meditation, and soft music can really enhance the experience. I just don’t think we should rely on these things to be our entire practice. Meditating to the soundtrack of the breath is the best way to maximize its benefits.
3. You Must Meditate for Hours on End in Complete Silence
This is one of the biggest fibs about meditation. I think it’s because beginners see advanced practitioners meditate for a long time and they think that is the “goal.” Even though there is no goal in meditation. Five minutes of meditation every single day is better than several hours at once three times a week. Your daily practice is your best practice.
It’s amusing to me that people seem to either think they need a meditation app to meditate, or that they need to be in complete silence. Like, it’s one extreme or the other. I’m not entirely sure where these misconceptions came from, but I am going to debunk them anyway.
“Complete silence” doesn’t really exist naturally on Earth. Earlier, I talked about how the body is never truly still or silent. That is also true of nature. People often think they cannot begin meditating until they find complete silence. And since they are unable to do that, they never start.
I think practicing meditation means finding a balance between hearing the sounds and ignoring the sounds. There are external sounds, and you do want to do your best to find a mediation spot/time where they won’t bother you.
Also, there are internal sounds, which are ultimately the reason why we meditate in the first place. We want to be able to acknowledge all the sounds, and still experience the present moment exactly as it is.
Another common excuse people use to not do anything is not having enough time. The issue is not how many minutes there are in a day, but what we make time for. If you make the commitment to improve your mental health and deepen your spirituality, I guarantee you will find thirty minutes of your day to work on it.
If this is something you are struggling with, I highly recommend reading the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It will inspire you to carve more time out of your day for your personal growth.
4. Believing Your Mind is “Too Busy for Meditation”
Hearing this excuse for not meditating makes me feel extremely frustrated with the person that says it. Saying your mind is way too crazy and active to meditate is like saying you have too many fat cells to lose weight. It literally does not make sense!
The reason you work to lose weight is to get rid of your fat cells. And the reason you meditate is to help you control your crazy and active mind. Of all the meditation myths, this one baffles me the most I think.
Everyone has a crazy monkey mind. Truly. Every single human being that has ever existed and will ever exist has a monkey mind. It is a natural part of the human experience. So, do not allow yourself to believe you are unique somehow because you have a “really busy mind that never stops.”
I hate to burst your bubble, but EVERYONE has a constant internal conversation. Sorry, not sorry! This is not something that is rare, special, or unheard of. All people suffer from monkey mind syndrome. This is the exact reason why we meditate in the first place. To gain control of our active minds so we don’t get so caught up in our own thoughts.
Related Article – 4 Visualizations for Beginner Meditation
5. You Will See Results Instantly & Be Cured
“I tried meditation once and it just didn’t work for me.” Another really common excuse I hear from people that I don’t understand. It has always puzzled me. Feeling calm and relieving stress didn’t work for you? Do you lose weight by working out just once?
I like to use losing weight as a metaphor for meditation because they are very similar disciplines. Before starting, you must commit to making lifestyle changes. Then, you have to come up with a plan and stick with it. Finally, you put in the work and over time you will see real results.
With losing weight and with meditation, you must be willing to put in the effort in order to reap the benefits. And then, you must maintain your new habits in order to see lasting changes throughout the rest of your life.
Here is something I would like you to consider. If you were to purposefully not board your own train of thought to see where it takes you, what would change? How would your life be different if you stopped indulging in all of the thoughts you had every day?
My guess is that you would probably experience a lot less anxiety, depression, anger, envy, etc. So what do you have to lose except all these unpleasant emotions?
Meditation is Simply the Act of Being Fully Present in the Here and Now
In conclusion, meditation is not something that is reserved only for the “woo woo” hippies that practice yoga. Meditation is for anyone that wants to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace. That’s why I wanted to bust these meditation myths in this post.
I truly believe with all my heart that meditation is the single most important thing anyone can do for their mental health.
I know there are lots of meditation myths out there that are complete crap, but these five demanded the most attention. Don’t be afraid to give meditation a chance.
No one has any real excuse to not live in the present moment. I know I might be coming off a little bit negative, but I want people to realize what they are missing out on by not quieting their mind and letting it run rampant instead.
If you are interested in diving deeper into the practice of being fully present, I highly recommend the book Meditation Now or Never by Steve Hagan. It is a very easy read that perfectly captures the essence of meditation so beginners can better understand what it’s all about.
In fact, all of Steve Hagan’s books are excellent. He inadvertently busts ALL the meditation myths out there using simple, profound language.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’ve ever believed in these meditation myths, I hope this post has changed your mind and inspired you to give meditation an honest try. Consider these meditation myths debunked!