The alarm clock sounds. You stumble downstairs, grab a cup of coffee, and make your way back upstairs to take a shower. After downing half of the coffee, you hop into the stinging warmth of the water. You take a deep breath, maybe a few more, and your muscles begin to relax.
You start to feel awake. Your mind begins to organize itself for the rest of the day. And through this process there’s a good chance you’ve been meditating – maybe without realizing it.
There are several common misperceptions about meditation that continue to thrive in society today. People picture monks dressed in elaborate robes, playing with meditation beads or incense, and spending hours in solitude.
Meditation isn’t a luxury experience or one that requires a deep spiritual nature to enjoy. Anyone can meditate. All you need to do is be willing to take a few deep breaths in a moment of silence to really start the process. Well… that and you need to be willing to dismiss the misperceptions of meditation like those that follow.
#1. Meditation requires a clear mind. Even those who consider themselves experts at meditation admit that they’ll get 1-2 minutes of clarity in a 30-minute meditation session. It’s virtually impossible to complete clear out your mind. You’re always seeking, striving, and thinking. The goal here should be to engage your focusing mechanisms back to meditation when you feel your mind start to wander.
#2. Meditation requires a lot of time. Many choose to avoid meditation because they feel like they don’t have 30 minutes to dedicate to its practice. The fact is that if you make meditation a priority, then you’ll find time to do it. A good way to increase the priority level of meditation in your life is to include it a little bit at a time. Start with 5 minutes each day. Increase it to 10 minutes after a week or two. Then just keep adding 5 minutes every 7-14 days as you feel comfortable until you reach your target time.
#3. Meditation is expensive to do. It’s true that there are a lot of expensive trends available to people in the world of meditation. Many people are seeking instant solutions in a world of immediate gratification, so money gets thrown at those who offer that possibility. The fact is you can sit down anytime, take a few deep breaths, and you’re meditating for exactly $0. Fads come and go. The chance to meditate is always there.
#4. Meditation accomplishes nothing. Science proves that meditation does tremendous things. It helps to decrease anxiety, helps with chronic pain, compliments anxiety and depression treatments, resolves insomnia, and may even help with cardiovascular disease. Even if it did none of these things, you’d still be getting to take a break from the stresses of the day and that’s a worthwhile benefit for sure.
Maybe meditation isn’t necessary for some, but it is a skill that can be learned in a relatively short amount of time. It requires no tools, yet can improve your health, sleep, and stress relief. That’s why it is so important to recognize and then dismiss the common misperceptions that still exist about meditation.
What have been some of your struggles in beginning a meditation routine? I’d love to hear some of your stories about how meditation has changed your life.