You may have heard that Meditation is a miracle tool for boosting mental health, reducing chronic pain and managing stress. In spite of the many benefits of developing a regular mindfulness or meditation practice, some common misconceptions about this ancient practice still exist…
Myth #1: I have to be spiritual or religious to practice meditation
Meditation is a practice that takes us beyond the noisy chatter of the mind, to a place of stillness and awareness. It doesn’t require any spiritual or religious belief and is practiced by millions of people all over the world, both religious people and atheists.
Sure, you can practice with the goal of becoming enlightened, but you can also just practice for the many physical and mental benefits such as better sleep, stress reduction, lowered blood pressure to name but a few.
Meditation helps us to enjoy whatever we do in our lives with more presence and happiness.
Myth #2: I don’t have time to meditate
Some of the busiest, most successful people on the planet have a daily meditation practice. If you want to experience the benefits of meditation, you have to make it a priority and part of your normal routine.
I find it helps to think of my meditation practice like cleaning my mind. I clean my body and my teeth every day, and cleaning my mind with meditation is equally as important. Just like with any personal habit, you may have the odd day of skipping it, but it remains a priority.
Plus, the more you meditate, the more time you will actually have! This is because you will be in a state of restful alertness and be able to accomplish more, in less time. There is an old saying;
You should meditate for 20 minutes every day, unless you don’t have time. In which case you should meditate for an hour.
Myth #3: Meditation is difficult
Meditation is fun, and easy to learn. Often, we over complicate it by trying too hard to concentrate, being overly attached to the results, or by thinking we are doing it wrong. Your practice can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra.
The most difficult part about meditation is actually sitting down and doing it!
It is important to learn from a qualified teacher. As a general rule, this should be someone either with a recognised qualification, or someone who has had a daily practice for 5 years or more.
A good teacher will be able to help you understand what you are experiencing, and overcome any potential road blocks.
Myth #4: You have to quiet your mind
This is the number one thing I hear from my students all the time, and is often what causes people to give up.
The mind is a machine that produces 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day in response to our environment and conditioning (that’s 2-3000 per hour!!). The mind will never stop while we are alive and have all our daily responsibilities.
The goal of meditation is not to quiet the mind, but rather to concentrate our mind on something other than our thoughts, like our breath or a mantra. With regular practice we relax into an awareness of our thoughts and let them drift by, like clouds in the sky.
On some days, the pull of this stream of thoughts will suck us in and make it really difficult to concentrate, and we can feel like our meditation was a waste of time.
In fact, when we first start meditating, it can feel like we are having more thoughts than normal, but that is just because we are becoming aware of how much and what we are thinking.
Please be assured that even if it feels like you have been thinking for your whole meditation time, the practice is still working and purifying the mind. So, don’t give up! Just accept whatever happens in your practice.
Myth #5: It will take years of practice for me to feel any real benefit
The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. You will likely feel more relaxed after your first session, and studies have shown that after only 8 weeks, people experienced decreased anxiety, greater feelings of calm, and growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.
Just like anything you learn to do, the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the more benefit you will gain.
Imagine if you wanted to learn to play the piano. If you just practiced every now and then, when you feel like it, you would likely never master it. But if you just spent 10-20 minutes every day practicing, pretty soon you would be a piano playing genius!
I am running a completely FREE 5 day meditation course, inside my new Facebook Group starting Monday 1st June. I will go live in the group twice daily at 8am and 5pm to guide you through a daily practice, plus give you all my tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help make the habit stick.
If you would like to join the course and experience the benefits for yourself, or just want more information, you can join the group here:
For those that are not on Facebook, you can follow the daily meditation live on my YouTube channel. Just be sure to let me know you are following along so I can give you the same support and accountability as those on Facebook.
Give yourself the gift of feeling more self-confident and calm, have more loving and open relationships, and reach your true potential.
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”