Below are the 4 most common myths, debunked and clarified! Are these myths preventing you from beginning or continuing a meditation practice? Read on to find out!
1. The Expert Meditator Myth
Myth: Your mind stops wandering once you become an experienced meditator.
Truth: Even those who have been meditating for years experience a wandering mind. This has to be the most universally faced challenges in meditation. However, a consistent, daily practice helps us to develop a more sustained focus. A way to tell if your meditation practice is working is when you begin recognizing that your mind is wandering and are able to more quickly bring it back to your breath/mantra/point of focus. Although the mind may still become distracted, these gaps become shorter and shorter, and the mind is able to hold concentration for longer periods of time.
2. The Thoughtless Mind Myth
Myth: Meditation means emptying the mind.
Truth: Many people believe that meditation means thinking about nothing. The way our minds work, it is impossible to not think about anything. In actuality, we are bringing all of the energy we use to think thousands of thoughts everyday into one sole focus. In this way, meditation is an exercise in concentration. When we are able to fight distraction and put all other thoughts aside during this time, we are strengthening our ability to be present in each and every moment.
3. The Instant Gratification Myth
Myth: I tried meditating a couple of times and nothing changed; meditation doesn’t work for me.
Truth: The effects of meditation are gradual and only noticeable in your daily life after a consistent practice. It is like any other activity or hobby, that when practiced, becomes much easier and enjoyable over time. In order to get to that place, we have to make the investment and effort. Think of meditation as practicing concentration, much like you would practice learning a new language or playing an instrument. Begin with meditating for small amounts of time, while making sure to keep a daily practice. Each meditation builds on the previous, leading to steady changes and progress in the long run.
4. The Perpetually Blissed Out Myth
Myth: Those who meditate are always happy and never experience anger, frustration, or hardships.
Truth: Unfortunately, meditators are not absolved of the realities of life. As long as we are human, we will experience ups and downs, events and circumstances out of our control, and the emotions that go along with it. However, meditation allows us to better cope when hardships and frustrations arise, instead of going deeper into suffering. A regular meditation practice helps us to recognize unhealthy patterns that have continued from the past, getting to the root of a problem & focusing on the solution, as well as thoughtfully responding, rather than reacting out of habit. By cultivating this internal process through meditation, we build a healthy way of managing the inevitable lessons of life.