Although meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, it has not been widely utilized in the West until recently. For many, only a limited view of what meditation is and how it is practiced has been available. Thus, leaving the door wide open for a multitude of myths and misconceptions to take root in the minds of the average person. The intent of this content is to address commonly known misnomers surrounding this practice.
Meditation is a religious practice
Meditation is not tied to a specific religion. It can be practiced by all. You can practice without having a religious affiliation. You can also practice meditation without creating a conflict in your current religious belief system. Meditation can complement any religious.
Meditation involves chanting
Chanting is one tool that people use to get into meditation. However, it is a personal preference and not a required element in meditation. Just like any other practice, there is no one way to meditate and there are a plethora of tools and methods to reach your goal and intention.
Meditation benefits take years to cultivate
The impact of meditation is sometimes immediate. Most people will initially notice a deeper, more restful sleep within days of starting a meditation practice. New practitioners also describe feeling more physically relaxed. Research has shown that within 6 weeks the physical and mental health benefits are noticeable.
Meditation requires you to stop your thoughts
Thinking is a natural part of meditation. There are methods which teach you how to redirect your thoughts and others ask you to observe your thoughts. Either way turning off your thoughts is not the long-term goal of meditation. You cannot stop your thoughts, but you can choose which ones to focus on. Ultimately, you want to be able to hear your thoughts and make a choice on which ones bring the greatest benefits to your life now.
Meditation must be done in a cross-legged position on a mat.
Meditation can be done in any seated or lying position. This could be in a chair, on a couch or the edge of a bed. The point is to get comfortable and quiet. If you choose to lay down, there is a greater chance that you will fall asleep. If relaxation is your goal, then falling asleep is the perfect way to validate a successful session. If your practice is for clarity or focus, it might make more sense to find a comfortable upright seat.
Myths and misconceptions can prevent you from receiving the true long-term benefits of meditation. Hopefully once dissolved more people will be open to experimenting with meditation. Research has shown meditation can improve concentration, sleep habits, and overall sense of wellbeing as well as boost our immune systems. It also has been shown to decrease blood pressure and stress.