10 Meditation Myths And Misconceptions You Should Know
We all have tried to meditate at least once in our life, right? If not, then that’s fine too. Why? Because, anyone who has tried to do meditation, most probably didn’t continue to do so regularly. If you failed to meditate regularly, then the following must have happened with you –
You were uncomfortable while sitting, had some preconceived notion about meditation, were getting distracted too easily, getting a lot of thoughts or meditated due to peer pressure, etc.
If you really want to try meditation for the first time, then this article is for you. If you tried meditating once, but couldn’t, then this article is for you! This is a good way to start meditation by clearing all your doubts or myths which you heard about meditation.
Let us understand the top 10 myths and misconceptions which you have about meditation.
MYTH NUMBER 1
Meditation is for old people
Meditation is not just for old people or for your grandparents. Toddlers, school kids, college students, young professionals, married couples, families can sit and meditate too. Every Age group should meditate and experience it for themselves before judging the process.
In fact, if all family members sit together to meditate everyday, it can create a positive atmosphere in the house and build affection in the family and reduce the intensity of problems.
MYTH NUMBER 2
You should be thoughtless when you meditate
The state of complete thoughtless is possible but it is not a compulsion to start thoughtless meditation. It is definitely a higher level in the practise of meditation but it is not compulsory to fulfil the motive of meditation.
We are human beings, living a social life in a society with a population of billions. Hence, engaging and interacting with other humans and animals is inevitable unless you decide to detach yourself from everything and shift to the Himalayas or the Alps to achieve enlightenment.
If thoughts come, then let them come. Just observe them, a nd let them pass by. You will observe the flow of thoughts and realise the intensity will. gradually decrease day by day. It is all about the intensity. Meditation will gradually reduce the intensity of your thoughts and make you thoughtless during meditation.
MYTH NUMBER 3
Meditation is for people with problems, physical illness or mental issues.
The most common reason for people to start meditating is to eventually free themselves from problems or reduce its intensity. Around 70% of people start meditating because of any physical illness or for treating mental issues or other problems.
But why should one wait for some problem to arrive in their life? Why not make meditation a lifestyle and try to bring about a change and balance in life.
After all, WHO defines Health as “ a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
If a person who is completely healthy starts meditating as well, he will be even more receptive and aware as his intention is not to cure something and that energy won’t be wasted in treating or healing. Over all growth and progress is just the by product of Meditation.
MYTH NUMBER 4
Meditation is only for improving concentration
The first thing we hear about the benefits of Meditation that – Meditation improves concentration levels. Yes, definitely it does. But that is not the only benefit. There are innumerable benefits of meditation which cannot be articulated in just one blog.
Just like you bathe regularly or discrete regularly or as our body generates sweat, meditation helps in cleansing and detoxification of our mind and helps in spiritual development.
The most important benefit is that it helps in positive changes in the mechanism of how our brain functions and helps in overall development of our physical, mental and spiritual well being.
MYTH NUMBER 5
Yoga is Meditation or Meditation is Yoga
Yoga is a greater concept with 4 types – Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga.
Yoga has 8 limbs of Royal Path –
The ultimate aim of these limbs is important in achieving the state of Samadhi.
The truth is that Meditation and Asanas are just two of the limbs of the greater concept of YOGA.
Asanas is the practise of physical postures which help in controlling and balancing the physical body for its proper and healthy functioning, while Meditation or Dhyana is state of complete awareness, inner peace and spirituality which can lead to Samadhi or the state of ultimate ecstasy.
Therefore, Yoga is not just Asanas or Meditation but a concept of 8 limbs in total.
You can study about the remaining eight limbs of the Royal Path here.
MYTH NUMBER 6
Meditation is a religious activity
Meditation is not a religious activity and nor does it belong to any particular religion.
In fact, Meditation is a scientific technique and a spiritual process which if practised regularly can actually change the structure of our brain and make it more receptive to attaining consciousness along with a balanced mind and body.
MYTH NUMBER 7
You can’t get angry if you meditate
Yes, when you meditate, it definitely makes you calm and composed. But it is not necessary for every individual to get rid of anger immediately.
Meditation has benefits which are observed over a period of time. For some people, it works in just one moment, while for some people it can take years.
Human being is a social animal, who lives in groups and engages with hundreds of people on a daily basis. We all socialise with our family members, people we live with, our neighbours, schools, colleges, universities, work places, while traveling, while using – public transport, roads, shops, malls, and many such places and areas, which makes is nearly impossible to avoid human contact.
Social Media has made it even more difficult to detach yourself.
According to human psychology, a person is influenced by all these external factors which add to his personality and behaviour.
Meditating regularly over a decade can lead to a well balanced life, where the effect of these influences reduces gradually and you become more and more aware about your own self.
A person who gets angry easily, or cannot control his anger can see positive changes over a period of time by meditating regularly.
But, one should not expect a person to completely be free of anger within just a few years if living in a society.
Along with Meditation, one can practise forgiveness and compassion to accelerate getting rid of anger. If you are angry because of anyone or any external factor, you should try to immediately feel sympathetic for that person and empathise. It can definitely reduce the intensity of your anger.
Learn to forgive the other person irrespective of how bad or cruel someone has behaved with you. Do this for your sanity and inner peace without bringing in your ego.
Therefore, it is not important whether you get angry easily or not, whether you are short tempered or not, what matters is how fast you can calm yourself, forgive and forget. How fast can you deal with a problem.
Meditation will help to reduce the intensity of the effects of anger on your body, mind and through your actions. It will make you more empathetic over time and build peace within.
MYTH NUMBER 8
You can’t express emotions if you meditate
I think, if you are clear about managing your anger and reducing the intensity of the effects of anger, then other emotions can be managed too.
Expressing is the nature of every species. Humans having a highly active brain than others, are expected to express more than other species.
Not expressing or sharing causes a lot of mental and physical problems. Venting out is important at the right time. Expressing what you feel will make sure you never have mental health issues.
When we try to suppress our emotions and keep them to ourselves, what actually happens is that we try to resist ourselves, resist the natural human tendency, and our brain gets the wrong message which in turn makes our intelligence to act against us. Our thoughts become our enemy. And that the last thing we would want.
Expressing emotions in a peaceful, healthy way can help you to relax and get free of acute anxiety. If you think you cannot express it to anyone in particular, or if you are guilty, ashamed, shy, embarrassed, it is always a good idea to see a psychologist or counsellor to share your thoughts and emotional turmoil.
THEREFORE, EXPRESSING EMOTIONS IS A NATURAL TENDENCY AND IT SHOULD NOT BE SUPPRESSED OR IT CAN LEAD TO ANXIETY DISORDERS, FEARS, PHOBIAS AND CLINICAL DEPRESSION.
If you meditate regularly, you will start having a control over your mind and body. When you have control over your mind, you have control over your thoughts. Meditation, in fact, will make you empathetic and sensitive in understanding human emotions and be more compassionate.
MYTH NUMBER 9
Sitting on floor is compulsory while Meditating
There are scientific and spiritual reasons for why one should sit on the floor for meditation.
First reason being, that your posture should be straight and should sit in a cross legged position.
But sitting in a cross legged position is not possible for everyone. Touching the surface of the ground is the most important criteria here.
People with back problems, or arthritis or any other problem occurring due to physical disabilities can sit on the chair and meditate too. The only spiritual part here is that if you are sitting on the chair, your feet should touch the surface of the floor. It is a misconception that you should sit on the floor.
As long as your feet is touching the floor, you are good to go.
Spiritual and Scientific Fact :
I hope you are aware of the earthing of electrical connections into the ground.
Our Human body is known to be a conductor of electricity – that means electricity can pass through our body. Therefore, when our body touches the ground, especially our feet, then there is a physical connection between the electrical connection of the human body with that of the earth.
Mother Earth is known to absorb all your negative energies into herself and in return making you feel light and relaxed.
MYTH NUMBER 10
You need to behave like a monk and give up on all your ambitions and desires
As I mentioned earlier, with regular meditation, the structure of your brain changes and you become more receptive in understanding and empathising others emotions. You don’t need to behave like that, nor do you need to leave anything or detach yourself. Meditation will help you develop in all ways, overtime, only if you meditate regularly.
This development is physical mental, emotional, spiritual and will definitely lead to divine experiences in life. In a very subtle way, you will become a better human. You don’t have to leave your society and go to the Himalayas to become a monk. You can be one without even trying to be one by regular meditation and empathy for others.
I highly recommend reading this book if you are just starting out!
I hope your misconceptions about meditation are clarified with this article. One rule which you can follow before starting meditation is that don’t expect anything from meditation.
Meditation is that Kalpavriksha which you can actually have, but it is better if you do not expect it to work for you. Because then you will start noticing the small changes in life which you never thought were possible in the first place.
With all your misconceptions cleared, you can now start meditation without hesitation or doubts. If you are wondering why I know all this, then you should know that I have been meditating since childhood, and have noticed changes within me after few years. Gradual and Slow. If I can then you can too.
No Haste. Breathe. This is your moment. Start Now.