Meditation is a practice of discipline to regain control of the mind and build formations that are productive to us and others. This may seem like a vague description but meditation it is a general concept. That generality has run away from practitioners around the world. These misconceptions are intended to be malevolent, but in a way they are. They confuse and detract resources from a system that works. There won’t be any mention of specialized meditation. We’ll stay with basic meditative precepts, such as breath counting and mantras. Below is a list of myths and the explanation right below them.
Meditation Is Relaxation
I’ve heard people say ‘think only positive thoughts’ or ‘let your mind go limp’. These statements come from the stress management seminars that may have twisted certain ideas to reach their goals. Stress reduction, momentary happiness and relaxation are not the be-all and end-all for meditation. Some of these things will happen to you but the goals of meditation are more far reaching. The beginning stages are about learning to let go and simply ‘be’. This is just the first steps though.
Meditation Is Just Self-Hypnosis
There are some overlapping themes in therapeutic hypnosis and meditation. Both practices start by inducing a state of relaxation then there is ‘inner’ work that must be done. Hypnosis and some forms of meditation utilizes visualization techniques and/or the use of repetitious phrases to change internal formations. But many forms of meditation (Zen “just sitting” or Theravadin mindfulness meditation) make no use of such tools. The overlap between hypnosis and meditation is only partial.
There are Technological Shortcuts
In the urge to have instant gratification a terrible and clever market has jumped to the fore front of the Internet to ‘give you the ability to meditate like a Zen monk, with the click of a button,’ and other similar claims for speed and perfection. ‘All you need to do is pay, put you headphones in for one hour for the next week and you’ll feel better in no time!’ If you take an hour out of your day to relax of course you will have a better perspective at the end of the week. This isn’t real meditation. some musical gimmick can not hold a flame to the compassion and love gained from hours of dutifully watching your breath.
You Must Sit In Lotus Position
That you can meditate while doing anything, in any position, baffles most people. True there are perks to the seated, passive forms of meditation, there are also perks to active meditation styles. Mobility is an issue that every can relate to. If you enjoy seated meditation but the versions of lotus hurt your joints, you can sit on a chair, or even lying down. As long as the focus is on your breath, you are doing well.
While Meditating You Have To Say ‘Ohm’
‘Ohm’ is a single part of a mantra. Many kinds of meditation have repetitious speech to focus the mind and will. Just as many do not, it’s all preference.
Meditation A Religious Activity
Meditation has been used by numerous religious groups as far as we remember. This doesn’t mean it is a religious activity. It is simply a highly diverse way expanding your mind, heart, and perceptions. I also hear people say meditation is an eastern thing. While many religious and spiritual activities include meditation in the East, meditation is found around the world practiced on some level or another by every group on the planet.
Meditation Is Escapist
Meditation is considered to be a mental escapism by some. They say meditation is “running away from problems,” “navel gazing,” “lotus eating,” or “disregarding the world.” I don’t understand this. To me living your life with no rest, no strong inner thoughts and never taking the time to focus on an event or experience is escapism. In a meditative state, you are face to face with many unsavory aspects of yourself and the world like, anger, pain, selfishness, suffering, war, craving, desire and delusional thoughts. The idea is not to run from aspects of ourselves and others, it is to stay and heal.
Meditation Is About Letting Your Mind Go Blank
This is the trump card of meditation myths. A part of meditation is build the character and efficiency of our mental voice. How does one do that when you don’t allow your voice to speak up? What does happen is the nonstop mental babbling begins to slow down and we observe mindfulness. This mindfulness becomes the moment we are experiencing, and that is what we see, feel, hear: the entirety of the moment.