There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding meditation. Some of these stem from a fear of the unknown, others from misunderstanding or religious misconceptions.
The truth is, meditation is beneficial for everyone and refuting these common meditation myths will hopefully allow more people to enjoy the vast benefits of a regular meditation practice.
Table of Contents
- 7 Common Myths About Meditation
- #1 – Meditation is a Religious Practice
- #2 – I Need to Go to a Temple/Special Place to Meditate
- #3 – It Takes Years to Learn How to Meditate
- #4 – Meditation Is About Quieting Your Mind
- #5 – There Is Only One Type of Meditation
- #6 – Meditation Takes Too Much Time
- #7 – Learning to Meditate Will be Expensive
7 Common Myths About Meditation
#1 – Meditation is a Religious Practice
While it’s true that many religions incorporate forms of meditation, meditation isn’t inherently a religious practice. Likewise, meditation can be a spiritual practice if you want it to be, but you don’t have to be an adherent of any religion or spiritual practice in order to incorporate meditation in your life.
If you do have a specific religious belief, meditation doesn’t need to conflict with that belief. Despite the fact that today, Buddhism is the belief system most commonly associated with meditation, religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism all practice various forms of meditation.
#2 – I Need to Go to a Temple/Special Place to Meditate
While there are places dedicated to the practice of meditation, including temples and meditation centers, one of the wonderful things about meditation is that you can do it anywhere.
Of course, it’s easier to meditate if you’re in a quiet place without distractions. But the reality of life is that you may not always have such a space available.
The good news is this – you can meditate in any space that allows you to be present. Once you’re more experienced with meditation, you may find that they can meditate even in busy or noisy spaces by blocking out the hubbub and focusing inward.
#3 – It Takes Years to Learn How to Meditate
Hearing stories of Buddhist monks who spend their entire lives waking up at 4am and meditating all day, you can be forgiven for thinking that it might take years to learn how to meditate.
The truth is, meditation is something that can provide you with immediate benefits. After just one session, you may find yourself feeling more relaxed and less stressed.
A continued meditation practice will induce even more science-backed benefits including less anxiety, better emotional health, lengthened attention span, a reduction in age-related memory loss and increased kindness.
#4 – Meditation Is About Quieting Your Mind
You might have tried meditating before and given up because you weren’t able to quiet your mind or you couldn’t sit still. If that’s the case, I have some good news for you – meditation is not about quieting the mind.
To the contrary – meditation is about noticing what is happening in your mind and body, including your sensations, feelings and emotions and discovering how to deal with the chaos going on in your mind.
Your mind is a busy place – it was designed to think. So stop feeling like a failure and that you can’t meditate because you weren’t able to “quiet” your mind.
#5 – There Is Only One Type of Meditation
It’s a common belief that there is one specific way to meditate, and if you don’t do it that way, you’re doing it “wrong.” Instead of feeling relaxed and at ease by the idea of meditation, it becomes another thing that creates stress.
The truth is, there are many forms of mediation and you can choose whatever form works for you.
Mindfulness meditation is generally what people picture when they think of “meditation” however, Tai Chi and Yoga both incorporate meditation, with Tai Chi often being referred to as “mediation in motion.”
Begin by trying various forms of guided meditation to get a taste of what’s out there and then fine tune your practice to be individualized to you. If something doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to incorporate it into your own practice – simply find something that does work.
#6 – Meditation Takes Too Much Time
Most of us have busy lives and worry that trying to carve out the time required to meditate is near on impossible. And while there are certainly people who devote a large amount of time to meditating, you can reap the benefits of meditation in as little as 5 minutes a day.
A 5-minute morning meditation is a great way to start your day and takes – you guessed it – just 5 minutes.
#7 – Learning to Meditate Will be Expensive
One of great things about meditation is that you can learn how to meditate with no cost at all. It’s true that there are various meditation courses and materials that can assist you with your meditation practice, along with various high-end meditation retreats that can cost thousands of dollars.
By all means, if you have the excess cash and desire to attend a retreat or purchase equipment, then go for it. However, if you’re strapped for cash and want to practice meditation, you’re in luck.
There are hundreds of guided meditations available for free online, including the video below. For more free guided meditations, a quick YouTube search for “guided meditation” is a goldmine.