Does it seem like everyone is talking about meditation these days? Do you feel like the odd one out for having not yet tried it?
Perhaps you have bought into some of the common myths and misunderstandings about meditation that make it seem out of reach or not for you.
Check out the following myths and see if you relate to any of them:
- Meditation means making your mind “go blank.” The mind and brain are always active, even during sleep, so this is not even possible. Don’t worry that you can’t do it. I can’t, either. Meditation promotes mindfulness.
- Meditation is a religious practice. Meditation is to the mind what fitness is to the body. Meditation is NOT about being Buddhist, Hindu, or part of any particular religion. People of all religions and faiths (and nonreligious people, too) can and do meditate.
- Meditation will make you so relaxed that you won’t get stuff done. The truth is that a huge number of highly successful and productive people, including many top business executives, meditate as part of their daily routines—in some cases in order to get MORE done. It’s not a contradiction.
- Meditation is time-consuming. In reality, meditation can be done in as little as a minute or three, about as much time as it takes (or less) to make a cup of coffee. And it’s better for you.
Meditation has turned out to be one of my most-recommended tools for helping people I counsel in therapy to manage stress, get a good night’s sleep, deal with the ups and downs of their moods, and summon more energy and motivation.
How to Meditate
Want to give it a try? Start simple.
Sit in a quiet place—cross-legged on the floor, perhaps, or even in a chair—where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. Keep your spine and neck as straight and comfortable as possible. Gently close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply.
If thoughts come, don’t worry. Don’t judge yourself for having them. Acknowledge any thoughts and let them be. Don’t chase them away, and don’t follow where they lead. Return your focus to your breath.
Continue for a few moments, a few minutes, or longer, if you like—it’s up to you.
You did it.
You had your first meditation session.
How Did It Go?
How many of the myths above did you believe before you tried it? What else had been stopping you? For those of you who have been at it for a while, what purpose does meditation serve in your life?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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