It's Deepak Chopra, author of several bestselling mindfulness and meditation books, who says there are 7 myths about meditation and mindfulness to correct.
Misconceptions are a real barrier to trying practices with real benefits for body, mind and spirit.
Myth # 1: Meditation is hard.
It is believed to be an esoteric practice. In fact, it's easy - as easy as concentrating on the breath or repeating a phrase or words, a mantra, to yourself.
Myth # 2: You need to be calm to meditate.
Meditation does not mean stopping thinking or “clearing” your head. We cannot stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention we pay to them. The thoughts will always be there. We just have to accept their presence and come back to our object of attention.
Myth # 3: It takes years of dedicated practice.
Meditation is good from the start and in the long run. You can feel it right away. Scientists have proven it: eight weeks of meditation helps people reduce anxiety and bring calm; it also develops areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self and stress regulation.
Myth # 4: Meditation is an escape.
The real purpose of meditation is to be connected and to get in touch with your true self - that eternal aspect of yourself that transcends all the ever changing external circumstances of your life.
Myth # 5: I don't have enough time to meditate.
There are busy, productive executives who haven't missed a meditation for 25 years and if you make meditation a priority, you will. If you feel like your schedule is too busy, remember that a few minutes of meditation is better than nothing.
Myth # 6: Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs.
Meditation is a practice that takes us beyond the chatter of the mind into stillness and silence. It does not require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of different religions practice meditation without coming into conflict with their current religious beliefs. Some meditators have no particular religious beliefs, or are atheists or agnostics.
Myth # 7: I'm meant to have transcendent experiences in meditation.
Some people are disappointed that they do not have visions, colors, levitate, meet angels, or have a glimpse of the Light when they meditate. Although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of bliss and oneness, this is not the purpose of the practice. The real benefits of meditation are what happens in the other hours of the day, when we go about our daily lives.
As you begin or continue your meditation journey, here are some other guidelines that can help you on your way:
Don't have expectations. Sometimes the mind is too active to calm down. Sometimes he calms down immediately. Sometimes it calms down, but the person doesn't notice it. Everything can happen.
Be gentle with yourself. Meditation is not about doing things right. It's about letting your mind find its true nature.
Do not stick to meditation techniques that do not lead to inner silence. Find a technique that resonates with you. There are many types of mantra meditation, or just following your breath and not paying attention to your thoughts. The spirit wants to find its source in silence. Indulge.
Make sure you are alone in a quiet place to meditate. Unplug the phone. Make sure no one is going to disturb you.
Really be there. If your attention is elsewhere, thinking about your next meeting, commission or meal, of course you will not find silence. To meditate, your intention must be clear and free from other obligations.