Through out history, meditation has been used by almost every culture to improve their experience of life, increase mental function, balance emotions and improve physical health.
Many believe if you practice meditation daily, you’ll discover life-changing benefits such as:
- Reduce stress
- Feel more positive
- Increase happiness
- Improve vitality
- Feel more peaceful
- Enhance clarity
- Boost Self-esteem
- Improve mental and physical health
- Better sleep
But let’s face it; there are a lot of misconceptions floating around that create confusion.
Let’s debunk some of the myths so you can start improving your mental and physical health and wellbeing:
Myth #1 Meditation is hard to learn.
Meditation is about finding the right style that fits you.
There are literally hundreds of meditation styles to suit every individual, in every situation to achieve the desired result. It’s possible for anyone to learn how to meditate at any age. Each style focuses on specific kinds of skills and mindsets with their associated benefits.
For example, if you desire better sleep, try a body scan meditation. It releases tension from the muscles, releasing the body from the effect of the fight-or-flight response.
When people say, “I tried meditation but it didn’t work for me.” It’s often because they started with a style that didn’t suit them. A popular style called Visualization Meditation is beneficial for those who can easily picture in their minds eye what a teacher or an app is describing. But if you have a difficult time visualizing or imagining in your mind, it can result in a frustrating experience.
How do you know if a meditation style is the right fit for you? Try out a few different styles and match it to the benefit you want to receive from meditating. If it “feels” good, start practicing it.
Myth #2: Meditation is a religious practice
Meditation helps to train the mind.
“ Meditation is the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation may be thought of as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones.” Dali Lama
While meditation’s ancient roots are recorded in history through written texts and cave drawings, it doesn’t require you to be religious. Nor is it meant to conflict or challenge your beliefs.
Essentially, secular meditation focuses on stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement.
Myth #3: Meditation is a big time commitment.
To start feeling the benefits, meditation can be practiced 5 minutes or less a day.
There is no one size fits all rules for meditation. Science has proven that even a short meditation can have beneficial effects in people and the key is doing it more than once throughout your day, in 5-minute chunks and experience the positive benefits.
Zen Meditation is a technique where you can practice it almost anywhere at any time. It’s about being in the NOW, in this very moment, wherever you are. It’s easy to integrate into your daily life.
Being in the present moment is fairly easy for most people to practice because it’s our natural state. You can practice Zen Meditation while gardening, washing the dishes, playing with your children, or even working at your job.
By practicing Zen, you teach your brain a new habit, which it loves. There are flow on benefits when you start to develop the habit of being in the NOW, even when you’re not intentionally practicing Zen Meditation. Why? Because you’re naturally in the present moment.
Myth #4: It takes years of practice to get good at Meditation.
There is no such thing as being “good” at Meditation.
There are many meditation styles and there is no right or wrong way to meditate. As you practice more, you’ll be able to get into a meditative state faster. You’ll feel less distracted and you’ll be able to access the present moment more quickly.
Bottom line, it’s about finding one or more styles of meditation that work for you and consistently practicing every day.
Myth 5# Meditation isn’t working when my mind wanders.
Meditation is about helping us feel more in control of our mind.
If you’re having thoughts during meditation, that’s normal. The more we practice, the better we get at not getting caught up in our thoughts. It becomes easier to return our attention to our anchor, like a mantra or our breath, allowing us to feel more peaceful and be in control of what the mind thinks about.
Which means you’re no longer thinking about anything that is outside of the present moment. This is the mind’s natural resting state. We’re not caught up in the past or projecting into the future. We are here now in the present moment.
Myth 6: Meditate and then get back to real life.
Meditation improves the experiences of life.
We can practice it, at any time to improve our health and general well being and to aid in the recovery of illness and disease.
Most of us spend the majority of our life in the flight-or-fight response, with out even being aware of it. The Fight-or-Flight Response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening.
The perceived threat activates the sympathetic nervous system that triggers an acute stress response, ultimately prepares the body to fight or flee. When we learn how to turn it off and return our body to its relaxed state, our amazing bodies have the ultimate power to regenerate and heal.