Oh lordie, guys. Turns out there are some seriously stupid myths and lies about meditation.
Apparently meditation is evil, satanic, a cult…. phew!
Here are 20 myths and lies about meditation that we just can’t even…
1. Meditation is Hard
Every time someone says it is hard, the reason is fairly straight forward: They’re expecting too much too soon.
Yes, it can be hard to focus your mind without getting disrupted. The first time you practice , you’re not going to have the concentration of a monk.
You coldn’t run a marathon the first time you went out for a jog. Why would your mind be able to focus for hours on end without becoming tired?
One of the things I’ve learned from meditation is that it should never be hard. It is meant to be an easy, comfortable practice.
If you think meditation is hard, stop.
You need to realise that you are at a beginners point in practice, and then try and build on what you have. Don’t try to run a marathon when you’ve just started walking. Simply say to yourself, “My focus might not be perfect yet, but I’m working on it.”
2. Meditation is Dangerous
Some crazy people are saying that meditation is dangerous.
This is straight-up wack.
Scientific research has proven time and time again that it offers many health benefits. It cures stress, helps with depression, improves your immune system, is instrumental in beating addictions and much much more.
Back in the 1950s in the West people thought it was dangerous and satanic. It was seen as a cult practice that was against God.
Times have changed.
Now we know that meditation isn’t satanic. It’s not necessarily even spiritual or religious (take a look at this article about non-religious meditation for atheists for more on this).
Times have changed so much that it is now Christians now meditate. And they were one group that years ago thought it was a dangerous cult.
There are some health risks involved, but they are only relevant to specific people with health problems.
Mostly, meditation is safe.
There are a couple of very specific techniques used in Kundalini Yoga that are considered unsafe. . . but they are rare exceptions and the simple fact of the matter is that most meditators don’t go anywhere near these practices anyway.
Traditional techniques are 100% safe and very, very healthy.s
3. Meditation is Bullshit
Another negative comment I’ve heard a few times. Whenever anyone says meditation is bullshit I immediately ask “Why do you say that?”
Most people say, “Because supposedly you can ascend to Nirvana and all this other spiritual mumbo jumbo rubbish.”
It’s very important to separate the practice of meditation from the spiritual mumbo jumbo trash.
Saying it is bullshit because you don’t personally believe in certain spiritualities is like saying “Books are bullshit because the bible is a book and I don’t believe in God.”
Separate the practice from all the beliefs that go with it.
You don’t have to be spiritual to meditate.
You don’t have to believe in God to meditate.
Anyone can practice.
And if you don’t like the term Meditation because of its spiritual and religious connotations, just say Mindfulness.
4. Meditation is not enough
Ah. The big one.
Sooooo many people think meditation is not enough.
It’s easy to see why.
In a world where we’re told we need to eat ABC, be CDE, do FGH and think IJK it can be very hard to think that simply sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing is enough.
But here’s the thing: it is so powerful BECAUSE it is so minimal.
Your mind has been conditioned to think that you need more and more and more. That’s why so many people are scatterbrained. Their minds jump from Facebook to TV to Twitter to the iPhone around and around and around in a chaotic dance that never ends.
This makes your mind dizzy and fills your mind full of gunk.
The precise reason why meditation works is because it says to your mind, “It is okay to be still and just focus on one thing. You don’t need to be frantic. Relax.”
It’s because meditation is minimal that it works. And the only reason you don’t think it is enough is because you have learned to race through life.
Give your mind a break.
5. Meditation is Boring
This is very closely related to the idea that meditation isn’t enough.
Lots of people think meditation is boring.
The problem is, they have taught their minds to need instant gratification and constant stimulation.
Constant stimulation is fun. It just isn’t healthy.
When you stop the constant stimulation your mind is naturally going to ask “Why’s nothing going on?”
Think of it like a spoiled child.
The child grows up being brought presents every single day of their life. This isn’t healthy. It just leads to a spoiled child. Then one day there isn’t a present. One whole day without a present. The child cries. “Why haven’t I got a present?! You don’t LOVE ME!!!!!”
You know that for the child’s good it shouldn’t be spoilt. But the child still wonders why the presents have stopped.
The mind is the same.
It learns from habit.
If you constantly stimulate your mind, your mind is going to expect constant stimulation.
When that stimulation stops, your mind is going to think “What’s going on? This isn’t enough? Give me more!”
You know that relaxing your mind is healthy, but your mind is still going to wonder why the stimulation has stopped.
The result is the feeling of boredom, the idea that “I’m not being given enough.”
6. Making Meditation Work for You
There are reasons why meditation doesn’t work for you.
It is always because you’re doing it wrong.
Or maybe you’re just busy.
Most people don’t have time to dedicate to meditation. And they don’t have the lifestyle that leads to sitting in a temple next to a candle.
There are different way to meditate, though. My guide Zen And Now shows you how to meditate properly within your (modern) lifestyle. It shows how you can literally meditate anytime, anywhere.
7: Meditation is religious:
This is the biggest of all myths about meditation.
Meditation originated in religion but it is not strictly spiritual.
Meditation today is seen more as an alternative health practice than as a religious practice.
8: It is a cult:
This is one of those myths about meditation that really blows my mind.
It’s easy for anything vaguely spiritual to be confused as a cult.
Meditation and mindfulness, however, are now commonly used by doctors and healthcare professionals as a part of cognitive behavioural therapy.
Meditation is also used in business, in athletics, and even in schools.
Some specific techniques, such as Maum, are considered cults, though this is very much in debate.
9. Meditation is evil:
There are some myths about meditation that just fry your brains.
A lot of people have actually said to me that meditation is evil. No seriously.
I ask them to explain their thinking; they can’t. But many people thinking meditation is evil…
A technique specifically designed to make people happy and compassionate. Evil…?
Yeah, who knows.
10. You have to sit in lotus position:
All right, fair enough. It’s easy to see why people think they have to sit in lotus position to meditate.
Most pictures of meditation show the practitioner sitting with their legs crossed in lotus position.
This is just one style.
11. Meditation is Escapist:
This could not be any further from the truth.
Many people believe it is escapist because you leave your thoughts and stresses behind.
In reality, it allows the practitioner to focus on reality rather than getting lost in thoughts and delusions.
People who meditate are able to see things for what they truly are. And because of that, they engage with life more fully than the average person.
Meditation is the opposite of escapist.
12. Meditation is selfish:
Has anyone ever told you meditation is selfish?
I heard this comment a lot.
Newsflash: these people have no clue what they are on about.
But you can see where they’re getting confused.
It’s easy to think that someone sitting doing a breathing meditation (which pretty much looks like doing nothing) or going for a relaxing Zen walking meditation is being selfish.
But it is actually the opposite.
One of the main Buddhist wisdoms is that there is no self? So how could meditation (which is Buddhist in origin) be selfish?
Most practitioners meditate in order to overcome their own bias ways of thinking.
This leads to greater compassion and kindness.
As the Dalai Lama said, “Kindness is my religion.” And there ain nut’in selfish about kindness.
13. Meditation is for whackos:
Some people are still stuck in the dark ages.
Some people link meditation to the psychic crowd, and other highly debatable practices.
This might be because there are some meditations for psychic intuition. But for the most part, meditation is not remotely new-age.
Meditation is actually a very practical health practice and is used by many celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Angelins Jolie and others.
14. Meditation is against my religion:
The vast majority of religions are not against meditations.
Christians used to be against meditation. But they now practice meditation too. And though meditation is Hindu and Buddhist historically, it now exists as its own practice outside of religion.
15: Meditation costs money to learn:
The only type of meditation that you have to pay to learn is Transcendental Meditation. And yes, it is crazy expensive.
While you may wish to pay for a teacher you can really learn for free. You can find anything you’d like to know about meditation in our free online meditation course (see our front page).
16: Meditation makes you healthy
So you think meditation makes you healthy?
What, just because there are like, 100 scientifically proven health benefits of meditation...?
This one is true.
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