Are you someone who wants to meditate, but just can’t seem to do it?
In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of scientific studies on meditation. Most of us are familiar with the positive benefits that meditation could have in our lives, but we struggle to meditate.
When I hear people tell me why they can’t meditate, it’s usually based on misconceptions they have. There are a lot of different types of meditation. And there’s so much advice on ‘how to meditate correctly’ which can make you feel overwhelmed or question if you’re meditating correctly.
But meditation is a simple practice, once we get past the meditation myths that hold us back.
“One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.” – Eckhart Tolle
7 Meditation Myths Holding You Back
Myth #1: You can only learn meditation with a teacher
Meditation can be as simple as practicing these easy steps:
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for a few minutes.
- Sit in a comfortable position – there are no right or wrong positions.
- Observe your breathing and how your lungs gently fill with air as you inhale.
- Then exhale softly and naturally – count each exhalation.
- Focus on your breathing for 10 exhalations (or more if you have time).
- If you lose count, just smile and start counting from 1 again.
That’s it! You’re meditating!
Myth #2: You have to focus and stop thinking
When we meditate, we progressively slow down our thinking process. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop thinking. It’s normal that during meditation, you’ll experience thoughts, memories and distractions. It’s just part of the process.
These thoughts are just ‘passing through’, so don’t judge or feel frustrated. Just acknowledge them and let them pass as if you were watching passing clouds. Then go back to focusing on your breathing.
Myth #3: You won’t see any benefits for years
It doesn’t have to take years for you to experience the benefits of meditation. Many people start to see benefits in a matter of weeks. A study showed that meditation can start to change your brain (for the better) in as little as 11 hours of practice.
But to see these benefits, you have to meditate every day. Start by keeping things simple. Take small steps and build up gradually. Start by meditating for 5 minutes and build up slowly from there.
Myth #4: You’ll get bored and fall asleep
If you’re struggling to stay awake during meditation, then that’s usually a sign that you need to change something.
Maybe you need to sit more upright or even try standing. Maybe you need to meditate at a different time of the day when you are less likely to fall asleep. Or maybe it’s a sign that you need more sleep, in which case you might want to try taking a short nap during your lunch break or just get to bed a little earlier.
The more regularly you meditate, the easier it will become.
Myth #5: You have to sit cross legged on the floor.
There are no right or wrong positions for meditation. We often have images of people sitting cross-legged on the floor as they meditate. But you can sit or lay down in any comfortable relaxed position.
You can meditate sitting in a chair, in a comfy sofa, on a meditation cushion or even on a yoga block. Try them out, experiment and see what works best for you. Whatever position you choose, just make sure that feels comfortable and you have good spinal support.
Myth #6: It’s only working when you feel a dream like state of bliss and relaxation
You’ll have good days and bad days when you meditate. Sometimes you might feel a total state of bliss and relaxation. On other days, your head might be full of distractions.
You can’t suppress your thoughts during meditation. Your mind likes to go into ‘autopilot thinking’ mode all the time. If you resist your thoughts during meditation, you’ll create tension and it will be harder for you to relax. So just acknowledge your thoughts and let them pass.
But most importantly, keep showing up and meditating every day.
Myth #7: Your eyes must be closed and your body totally relaxed
Meditation is about becoming more aware of your mind and body in the present moment. While it’s certainly easier to be able to focus with your eyes closed, you can also meditate with your eyes open or in a half gaze.
You’ll have days when your body will feel very relaxed. On other days, you’ll feel discomfort or even pain. Don’t be put off when this happens. Just try ‘listening’ to your body and become aware of your various body sensations. Simply acknowledge those feelings and go back to focusing on your breath.
Meditation connects you with your soul, and this connection gives you access to your intuition, your heartfelt desires, your integrity, and the inspiration to create a life you love. – Sarah McLean