Common Misunderstandings About Meditation, Sandy C. Newbigging
Meditation serves many purposes, from stress relief to self-awakening. Personally, I started meditating because I was fed up with my mind working overtime. I wanted peace, and through meditating regularly I have become less focused on the movement of my mind and much more aware of my peace-filled conscious awareness that is always present.
Despite meditation being so simple, and having such big rewards, there are some myths about meditation that can stop people getting started or make them quit before they get to reap the benefits possible from meditating regularly.
Myth #1 – Meditation is Difficult
Practiced correctly, meditation can be the easiest and most enjoyable thing you ever do. For something to be difficult, it requires effort, struggle, stress and stamina. However, the truth is meditation requires the exact opposite. There is no effort because you are learning how to do nothing. There is no struggle because you are not forcing anything. There is no stress because you are not resisting anything and there is no need for stamina because the main purpose of meditation is to relax!
Myth #2 – I Must Still My Mind
“I can’t meditate because I can’t stop my thoughts” is one of the most common reasons I hear from people who’ve tried meditation but quit. However, what’s important to understand is that thoughts are a natural part of meditation.
When you meditate, your body gets rest. When the body rests, it heals. Healing is an active process – stress is released and healing is being undertaken. Due to the mind-body connection, activity in your body is reflected by activity in your mind – in the form of thoughts.
Having thoughts when meditating is therefore a sign that healing is taking place in your body. It is not useful to resist having thoughts when meditating. To resist thoughts is to resist healing! Instead, let the healing process happen, as it naturally wants to, by not resisting the existence of thoughts. Let them come and go by being at peace with whatever thoughts happen when meditating.
Myth #3 – If Thoughts are OK, then it’s Good to Think
Although having thoughts is OK, I am NOT recommending you intentionally think your way through every meditation. There is a big difference between having thoughts and thinking.
Thinking occurs when you stop seeing your thoughts and you start being your thoughts.
When you are thinking you are in the thought stream. You are in the dream. Engaged in the story of your mind, you are having an imaginary conversation with your friend, planning what you’re going to have for dinner, or whatever.
When you are thinking, you are essentially lost in your mind. You are no longer present, nor consciously aware. Thinking is a habit you learn to do less of through meditation. So, be easy on yourself. When you become aware that you’ve been thinking, simply come back to being alert, present and seeing your mind, instead of being your mind.
Myth #4 – Meditation Stops when I Open my Eyes
Most of your day will be spent with your eyes open, so, thankfully, the little flaps of skin that you call your eye lids do not need to impact upon your peace. Peace is experienced when you put your attention on the still silent space that resides within your conscious awareness. You can direct your attention with your eyes open and closed. One ‘goal’ of meditation is to develop the habit of effortlessly having some of your attention looking inwards on the presence of still silent space throughout your days. Eyes open or closed – it need not matter.
Myth #5 – Meditation is Boring
Whether something is boring or not is a matter of opinion, and your opinions exist in your mind. Self-awakening involves you no longer being governed by the conditioned opinions of your mind. By ignoring thoughts and emotions associated with boredom, you can more quickly enjoy mind mastery.
Sandy Newbigging, the creator of Mind Detox and Mind Calm. mindcalm.com