Three Meditation Myths You Should Know
My passion for understanding the many facets of the mind runs deep. So deep that it sparked my personal growth journey. And changed the trajectory of my life.
It led me to enroll in yoga teacher training and pursue yoga philosophy.
Then back to school for a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Education, with a concentration in mind-body practice and coaching emphasis.
Then to become a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher.
So as of last Fall, I offer private guided mindfulness meditation sessions as a program add-on for my coaching clients. And I offer group and individualized guided mindfulness meditation instruction at companies and organizations too.
Because here’s the truth: you can’t really practice mindfulness without meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of the present moment without judgement. And meditation teaches us how to be mindful. You may consider meditation to be religious, or a form of self-help. But it’s neither of those things. Meditation is an awareness tool. So to say you don’t meditate but try to be mindful is like putting the cart before the horse.
If you’re ready to start or are building a mindfulness practice but never considered meditation, this may feel discouraging. Maybe you’ve never meditated before. Or maybe you’ve tried, but the practice just never stuck. You’re already busy and doing a lot. Adding another item to your to-do list wasn’t part of the plan
Don’t worry — I’m here for you.
Because there are some big misconceptions and myths about meditation out there. And I guarantee at least one of them is holding you back from starting or maintaining a practice. Tricking you into thinking that meditation is something it’s not.
Here are the top three:
#1: I can’t stop thinking or quiet my mind.
There’s no need to clear your mind of thought! And, it’s not possible. The mind is meant to think. Remember — meditation is an awareness practice. We sit so that we can observe and be with our thoughts and quality of mind. Which includes a mind that is agitated, anxious, sad, excited, jittery, slow, obsessive or whatever else you notice. We’re not trying to change our quality of mind. We’re just trying to get to know it better.
And one more thing. Everyone has thoughts running through their head when they meditate. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.
#2: I’m bad at meditating.
A few things on this one:
It’s not possible to be “bad” at meditating. There’s no such thing. And there’s a reason meditation is called a practice. You may get more comfortable with how to do it, but your experience will be different every time you sit. No one said meditation was easy.
Performance has no place here. You already deal with enough pressure to perform in every other aspect of your life. Give yourself a space where showing up is enough.
If this limiting belief always comes up for you, ask yourself: Is the goal of becoming “good” at an activity the only reason I do it?
#3: Meditation requires too much discipline.
Yes — developing and maintaining a meditation practice requires discipline. But it’s no different than anything else you do. We all need some discipline to get things done.
But with meditation specifically, discipline actually takes on an entirely different form. Here’s why:
Mindfulness meditation places awareness and attention on the breath. If you notice that your mind has wandered to the point that you’ve lost a connection to your breath, the cue is to acknowledge the thought and where the mind has gone, release it the thought gently and bring your attention back to the breath.
We practice discipline by beginning again.
This type of discipline sheds its sharp, harsh and unforgiving qualities. It has a soft, gentle nature. Because it’s not about how many times we get lost in thought (again, see #1). It’s about returning to the practice. Giving ourselves the space to start again, with kindness and ease. Meditation is a practice of gentleness and self-compassion.
Consider this: What would happen if you applied this lens on discipline to other aspects of your life? What would you be able to achieve? How would you feel?
I chose to share these top three myths with you because they’re what I hear most from friends, family, prospective and current clients. And if you’re going to consider incorporating meditation into your daily life, then I want you to have the facts. I want you to feel well-equipped to make an informed decision. Not get side tracked by fiction.
Now that you have all of this information, I want to share one last meditation myth with you. And it may be the most important one to debunk.
As meditation has risen the ranks of popularity and become almost mainstream, there’s an assumption that meditation is for everyone.
It is not.
Meditation can — and in many cases does — have beneficial side effects. However, it is not a panacea. Because when we meditate, we allow our bodies and minds to relax. And when we relax, we soften. We let down the emotional or physical barriers we’ve constructed. Which allows whatever you’ve been suppressing rise to the surface. So meditating may in fact make you MORE emotional. Because you’re facing what is. And if you’re in a place where feeling more acutely may do more harm than good, then meditation may not be the best practice for you at this time. If you’re working with a healthcare provider, I recommend asking them if it’s beneficial for you to meditate. You want to make sure that it’s a safe addition to your routine.
If you want to learn more about meditation or ask me a question that’s been on your mind lately, let’s chat! I’d love to hear what comes up for you in your own practice.
Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org