Meditation is something we can all benefit from. It doesn’t matter whether you are into spirituality, a regular gym junkie or a high powered executive, meditation can help you to combat stress, induce relaxation and give you a grounded and calm perspective from which to approach each day.
Unfortunately, though, there is a lot of misinformation and preconceived ideas as to exactly what meditation is, and what it requires of you as a practitioner. For example:.
Meditation is a magic switch that silences your thoughts - This is one of the main falsehoods to meditation that has people trying it out once and then giving up out of frustration or disappointment because they still had thoughts in their mind whilst meditating. The truth is that your mind is always going to have thoughts floating around it (even thinking “Am I thinking anything right now?” is a thought!). What meditation allows you to do is become aware of these thoughts, and turn the volume down on them, so to speak, so that you are no longer distracted by the constant chatter.
You have to be spiritual to meditate - As I mentioned before, meditation is appropriate for everyone, from all walks of life. It is a technique that can be adopted to help calm and relax your body and your mind, and this is a very useful tool for people who live very face paced lives full or pressures and responsibilities. Because too much stress is bad for your health! You can meditate in a special room with candles and incense, or you can even meditate from an office chair. With meditation, there is no exact science as to how it is done, and who should practice it.
Meditation conflicts with some religions - Meditation is not a religious practice, it is a technique to help calm and relax the mind, a little like getting a massage! This means meditation is appropriate for everyone and you can practice it whether you are religious or not!
Meditation will bring you enlightenment - Though it is important to note that I am not ruling this out as an impossibility, it is unlikely that you will achieve enlightenment from practising meditation a few times a week. The most important thing when starting meditation for the first time is to practice with an open mind. If you have preconceived ideas of how it will be and how it will make you feel, then is it possible you will be disappointed, which means you won’t allow yourself enough time to really experience the benefits.
- You have to sit perfectly still in an uncomfortable position to meditate - This last one is often the most off-putting for people because some people find it very uncomfortable sitting cross-legged, let alone staying perfectly still for an extended period of time. Meditation can be practiced in many ways; sitting cross-legged, sitting in a chair, lying down and even whilst walking! There are meditations for helping you sleep, meditations for making you feel more focused, some for cultivating mindfulness and others for de-stressing. Some meditations are best done whilst walking, others whilst lying in bed, and some can be done at your office desk, or even whilst eating a meal! The type of meditation you want to do, and how you would like to practice it, is completely up to you!