The 5 Biggest Misconceptions About Meditation

By Sharee James

Meditation has been lauded by scientists and spiritualists alike as a practice with countless benefits for body and mind - to improved immunity, reduced stress, more harmonious relationships and better work performance to name a few. Unfortunately though, there are quite a few myths and misconception around meditation that can be off-putting and downright confusing to new and wannabe meditators. In this article I'm going to bust these myths for you one by one..

Misconception 1: "I Tried It Once And It Didn't Work"

This misconception is akin to trying to ride a bike for the very first time and then giving up after falling off - meditation requires consistency and practice (that's why it is often referred to as a practice). If you are hoping to experience deep states of inner peace, relaxation or bliss the very first time you sit down to meditate then you may be disappointed by your unrealistic expectations. These states can definitely be experienced in meditation, but not usually on the very first day!

Misconception 2: "I Just Can't Stop My Thoughts"

A lot of novice meditators mistakenly believe that if they were meditating "successfully", they would be able to switch their thoughts off like a switch in order to experience peace and calm. When they can't seem to be able to stop their thoughts, they often get into an internal struggle trying to resist them or worse, giving up completely. Meditation is about developing enough focus and awareness to simply notice when the mind is wandering, and to keep bringing the mind back to the object of concentration - again and again. There is no need to try to stop thinking altogether!

Misconception 3: "I Don't Have Time To Meditate"

You don't need to sit on your meditation cushion for hours each day in order to experience its benefits. Even just dedicating 5 to 20 minutes of meditation per day can be life-changing. The keys is to practice regularly and to make time to meditate - we are all busier than ever these days and we must consciously schedule in time for our priorities, so it's simply a matter of making our own happiness and wellbeing a priority.

Misconception 4: "I Don't Have The Space To Meditate"

I know it would be wonderful to be able to meditate in an exotic monastery, on a mountain-top or on a serene beach. But it's not essential - all you need is somewhere fairly quiet where you can sit up straight comfortably for a few minutes without being disturbed. You can meditate sitting up in bed, on a chair or a couch or even on a bus or a train - don't let wanting a perfectly peaceful spot stop you from just doing it.

Misconception 5: "But I'm Not A Buddhist!"

While a lot of meditation practices originated from Buddhism, meditation is not inherently religious, and you don't have to subscribe to any particular set of beliefs to meditate. Everyone experiences mental stress, agitation or anxiety from time to time and meditation can be beneficial to everyone - regardless what religion they belong to or even if they are not religious at all. There are, however, many practical and informative meditation classes and retreats held at Buddhist centres in many countries, and they are available to the general public no matter whether one is Buddhist or not.

Hopefully this article has busted some myths that may have been preventing you from starting your own meditation practice. Meditation is truly for everyone and with practice and consistency can change your life in many profound and unexpected ways.

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