I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has come to me and said they can’t meditate because they aren’t doing it right. Sometimes it is because they feel like they can’t spend enough time meditating or aren’t sitting in the correct position. At other times, the issue is the perceived lack of results that happens after meditation.
Unfortunately this happens because there are a number of meditation myths that are believed as fact. Let’s get them debunked today.
MYTH: For meditation to be successful, you must have a clear mind.
Fact: Clarity is something that should be striven toward, absolutely, but you are not a failure if you fail to achieve a quiet mind. The goal of meditation is to recognize your thoughts and feelings and to be able to identify them. Clarity cannot happen if there is no contemplation during the effort to achieve it. Look at your thoughts, contemplate them, and then let them go and I think you’ll find it will be easier to achieve clarity more often.
MYTH: There is a right way to do meditation.
Fact: There is your way to do meditation. Meditation is a personal experience instead of an exact science. There’s no special position, movement, mantra, or time that will help you to meditate. There’s only what you need and how you need it. I’ve heard of people who boot up Netflix to run a favorite TV show because it helps them to meditate. I’ve heard of people who meditate in the shower because that’s the only place their kids will leave them alone for enough time. Do what works for you and I think you will see better results.
MYTH: Perfect posture creates perfect results.
Fact: Comfort is more important than posture. How can someone hold a perfect lotus position if they have a back injury which limits their movement? Or a knee problem which makes it painful to sit in a lotus position? Your feet are the roots of who you are and your head is the canopy. Although it is beneficial to sit with good posture, it is more important to make whatever effort your body is able to make. Straighten your back, roll your shoulders, get comfortable, and I know you’ll be encouraged to meditate more often.
MYTH: You must sit completely still.
Fact: I think we’re all a little ADHD down at our core. The idea that complete stillness is required for meditation is borderline ridiculous. You’re going to shake out the foot that falls asleep. You’re going to shift positions if your butt or lower back start to hurt. This isn’t a mental failure on your part. It’s you listening to what your body needs. That, I would argue, is what meditation is ultimately all about: actively listening. Focus on your breath, not your position, and I’m certain you’ll be pleased with your next meditation effort.
MYTH: You must meditate in complete silence.
Fact: Meditation is better when it’s in a designated place. For many people, complete silence isn’t reasonable. The kids will make noise, jets will fly overhead, and traffic is going to happen. Unless you get up at 3am, complete silence isn’t going to happen. So designate a spot, let your mind get used to the background noise, and it will eventually seem silent even though it may not be.
These common meditation myths have held many people back from their full potential. Don’t let them hold you back any more. How is your meditation time coming along? I’d love to hear about what works for you and how you’ve developed your own meditation space if you have the time to share.