There are a lot of myths and beliefs about meditation that stop a good deal of people from sticking to the practice, or even trying it at all in the first place. With how amazing meditation is, how healing it is to both the individual and society as a whole, its quite a shame that misinformation could stop someone from doing something that is so good for them on all levels.
In this article I want to explore some of the biggest myths about meditation that inhibit growth and motivation. It is my hope that at least one of these can clear up a block that you’ve had, that has been keeping you from reaching your full potential.
Meditation is About Forcing the Mind to Be Silent
The words “force” and “meditation” are almost polar opposites. Though from a beginner’s perspective, the idea that the mind is silenced in meditation may seem like it only means one thing, you have to force it to do so, this is anything but true.
Mental silence is usually achieved after a good deal of practice. And this silence doesn’t come from force. It comes from awareness. Meditation is a process of learning to be aware of the fact that the mind is (in its current state) absolutely addicted to content and constant stimulation. This is just the way we live. We have text messages, Television, Facebook, Google, fast food, etc. Everything we want is right at our fingertips, ready to stimulate us, give us content to “think about” (ie: waste mental energy on), etc. We are constantly in a state of mental stimulation.
Thought this is normal for us in our present condition, it doesn’t have to be. Through meditation one learns that the mind can function in a different way. It can shift its focus from content to context. It can detach from its incessant desire to constantly think, intellectualize, and intake information. In essence, meditation is about reversing this process, and reconditioning the mind to have a healthy balance between resting and going on information overdrive.
At some point, you realize something profound. It’s actually easier not to constantly think and take in information. It actually feels good to stop and rest the mind. At this point, you can achieve mental stillness by simply relaxing and letting go.
In the meantime, it is not necessary to try to still the mind. Instead, learn to grow an awareness of your thoughts, of the incessant mental functioning that plays itself out at all times. So close your eyes, relax, and just watch those thoughts without getting absorbed in them.
Like the Buddha said, watch your thoughts as thought they are clouds passing by in the sky. Say to yourself “Oh, there’s me thinking about work.” “Ope, there’s me worrying about the house again.” “There’s that familiar I have to do this, I have to do that.”
Just watch and don’t worry about changing anything. This alone is powerful and begins to form a new layer of awareness in your mind that will benefit you in the short term, and long term.
If You Don’t Have an Awesome Experience, It Didn’t “Work”
There are a lot of stories about profound experiences in meditation. People contact spirit guides, have visions, feel energy, etc. But here’s the deal, not everybody (even very experienced meditators) have these experiences. And they’re absolutely not necessary.
These profound experiences are all about how the mind processes information, and what each individual needs to experience in order to progress along their personal path. It can be too easy to look at these profound experiences as “milestones” or “accomplishments”. Of course, a profound experience like this can help you know you’re on the right track, but these are much more like interesting scenery along the path you walk, they are not the path itself, and they are not the end goal.
Much of your real progress in meditation will show itself in your daily life, outside of meditation. They will manifest as a greater capacity to be patient, or loving, or empathetic. Maybe more positive emotions, greater focus.
Keep in mind that even some of your best meditative experiences will be completely ineffable and indescribable. Also, even if you sit for a while and notice/feel absolutely nothing, this does not mean by any means that the meditation wasn’t effective or helpful. In fact, this is the exact opposite. Remember, meditation is about a lack of content, a lack of stimulation, so in that line of reasoning, if nothing happens, that means you are making progress.
It Takes Years of Practice to Reap Profound Results
This is my favorite limiting belief to de-bunk, as the fact that it was debunked for me years ago had an incredibly profound impact on my entire life. Yes, through traditional meditation, it can take you years possibly even decades to reap the most profound, transformative results that can come from meditation. This is talking about both scientific and spiritual.
Meditation literally changes the brain and the function of the physical body. It changes the way the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system functions (giving much more dominance to the relaxation and sensations of euphoria that the nervous system can produce) and it positively changes the brain in multiple ways: it allows the left and right hemispheres to grow increased connection between each other, leading to whole-brain functioning, it enables more anterior left brain activity (which is directly related to the experience of positive emotions), and it increases the amount of gray matter in the brain (this is still a mysterious subject, but many believe this has to do with spiritual consciousness and heightened awareness.)
As far as spirituality goes, there is a gradual increase in self-awareness, which enables one’s ability to “wake up” to the deepest truth and reality of life. There are gradual awakenings of more esoteric abilities like telepathy, or the ability to heal, or to perceive energy (classically called the Sidhis in Yoga) and there are often times connections formed with higher beings and enlightened guides.
So, in the past, these results have taken years of classical meditation to achieve, but today we have an amazing technology, known as Brainwave Entrainment, that enables the brain to reach profoundly deep states of meditation at the touch of a button, without the need for self-discipline, concentration, or large amounts of practice. This is truly an incredible technology, one that bridges modern technology and science with spirituality.
I am a huge advocate of this technology and do my best to get it into anyone’s hands. To grab a free sample, or to check out some killer audios at very reasonable prices, check out my free stuff and knowledge and resources pages.
Meditation Has to Be Done Sitting Down With Eyes Closed
Though traditionally meditation is done with eyes closed, sitting comfortably, there are many techniques that can be done with eyes open, while walking, or even working.
Once you “get” the general idea of what meditation is all about, you can really meditate anywhere. I am a firm believer that spacing little 2 min. practices across your day, even stopping to sit quietly in your car for a moment if you have to, is JUST as powerful as sitting once per day for 30 mins. In fact, sometimes this is even better.
Remember, the practice of meditation is about growing awareness, and learning to go inside, rather than incessantly reach outside to take in more information and stimuli, only so the rational mind can mull it over and over again. It’s about breaking the habit of unnecessary mentation. So when you think of it this way, taking a break from thinking, even while working, just to become more aware, just to take stock of what’s going on in your mind and watching it with interest, is very valuable, whether you are sitting with eyes closed or not.
Meditation is Only For “Spiritual” People
Meditation does not have to be spiritual at all. It does not have to have spiritual goals, and it does not need you to be “a spiritual person” for it to work. It doesn’t even need you to be a good person for it to work (though I do hope you are).
Meditation is a natural possibility of consciousness. It’s an option that is there for anyone. Even the process of the mind, body, and awareness that occurs from regular meditation, whether you regard it as spiritual or not, is an evolutionary potential. It’s something that anyone could do, have, or experience. It is not reliable on what you believe, whether or not you want to be a saint, whether or not your goal is to take whatever you learn from meditation to make the world a better place, etc.
In the long term, meditation will help you succeed at whatever endeavor you are striving to achieve, whether its just learning to be more happy, or succeeding at your career, or improving your health. Often times meditation WILL lead people to have more of a “spiritual” character, but this is more of an effect, and is not necessary for meditation to work, or to be beneficial.
“I’m Not Good at Meditating”
Let me share something with you: NOBODY is good at meditating when they start. Just like nobody is good at the guitar when they start playing, and nobody is good at running when they first start. All that it takes is practice and a willingness to continue.
If you keep in mind what was said earlier in this article, that you don’t have to have a mind-blowing experience to reap benefits and results from meditation, it makes it easier. Let yourself have a few moments of being aware, and comfortable, without placing any expectations at all. This is a key. Release your expectations. There is really no way any expectation you have going into meditation is going to occur. The rational mind that expects is an entirely different thing than the awareness that cultivates during meditation. So just let it go.
Again, if you’re anything like me, and just HAVE to get to the cool experiences as quickly as possible, I recommend brainwave entrainment. This will greatly accelerate the process, and help you realize more tangible results. The upside of this technology is that you don’t have to have any practice under your belt to reap the benefits of meditation, so even if your own excuse not to meditate is that “you’re not good at it” it doesn’t matter anymore, there’s no skill involved in using brainwave entrainment, just a willingness to sit with your eyes closed and relax.
*I do hope that all of this is helpful. I would greatly encourage you, whoever you are and whatever your reasons are, to start meditating, whether you resist it or not. This truly is one of the most time-tested and proven practices to help yourself live a better life, realize your full potential, and spread joy and happiness to the rest of the world.
And keep this in mind as well, whether you realize it or not, EVERY MINUTE spent in meditation has a positive effect, on you, on the world, and on the evolution of your consciousness. So don’t wait any longer!
Stay tuned for more information on meditation in the near future.
In Love and Service,