“Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit”. Jeremy Taylor
As a meditation teacher I often find people have preconceived ideas of meditation. There are many great article around on what meditation is and it’s benefits so I thought I would write one on what meditation isn’t to try to dispel some of the more common misconceptions I have come across.
Meditation is purely a relaxation technique
I hear “but there are other things I do that relax me, I don’t need to meditate” a lot. It’s certainly true that relaxation is a byproduct of a regular meditation practice but it’s so much more. You can consciously choose to live being perfectly present and fully experiencing life right now, freeing yourself of the limiting negative mental chatter that can sometimes feel relentless. We can do this through reconnecting with the still, silent space inside of us, rather than seeking temporary periods of true happiness through external measures.
Meditation is a religious practice
You don’t need to shave your head, join a monastery or give away all your money. You are making a commitment to love and honor the real you by reconnecting with the peace and love that resides inside that has been slowly consumed through years of modern day living.
Meditation makes you an emotionless robot
Meditation does not remove emotions but it makes you more attuned to emotional changes. I used to worry all the time, believing the commentator in my head to be very true, which caused me lots of energy and stress. (“Wow, could that really happen – that would be terrible”). Lots of the emotions I had were very fear based surrounding the future. Meditation has increased my clarity allowing me to think more logically rather than emotionally. Living in the present moment helped me to disengage from my unhealthy emotional states but I still feel things very deeply.
Meditation is too hard
It’s a complete alien concept to many to just sit and be. No distractions, no entertainment, no planning the future. Meditation is not hard but it is helpful to have someone guide you when you start practicing.
Meditation takes years to work
It is called meditation practice for a reason. It takes time to cultivate the habit of directing our attention inward. It’s not an instant fix but changes will be gentle and consistent. Gradually you will break free from the cycle of thinking too much and you will reconnect to your natural state of peace and love. The longer you put off starting your practice the longer you will remain in disharmony.
Meditation takes too much time
Spare time is a luxury that many of us do not have in excess of with the demands of modern day living, but everyone can create a few minutes in their day (I have periods where I switch my smartphone off so I can’t keep checking it to free up time). People who say they don’t have the time to meditate are usually the ones that really need to. Try just 10 minutes a day for 6 weeks, it’s enough to see a difference.
To meditate you need to stop having thoughts
I have been meditating for years, and my mentors even longer, and I honestly don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have any thoughts. We are human beings with human nervous systems and will probably remain having thoughts for the rest of our lives. Meditation offers you the freedom to chose which thoughts you engage with.
Meditation is an escape from reality
Personally my reality pre meditation was full of fear and panic and generally full of angst. I am now free from remorsefully thinking about the past or anxiously trying to foresee the future. You can’t get much more real than the present moment.
Meditation doesn’t work for everyone
There are many types of meditation all with the ultimate aim of enabling you to be present. There is something for everyone. I believe the majority of people give up as they feel they are ‘bad’ at it due to the amount of thoughts they have when they try. Never judge a meditation on the time you spend meditating but rather on the after effects. i.e. do you sleep better, have improved clarity, less worry etc.?
Meditation is selfish
I struggled initially with taking time out of my day to meditate that could have been spent with my children or a million other things. It felt extremely self indulgent and uncomfortable. However my practice has made me calmer, happier and generally a lot nicer to be around. Those surrounding you will reap the benefits almost as much as you do.
Meditation is the answer to all
Life is subject to flux and we will all have times where our circumstances become more difficult. Unfortunately meditation does not guarantee you a problem free existence. What it does do though is give you the tools you need to navigate your way through with a calmness and clarity and a knowing that this too shall pass.
To attend a meditation workshop or receive one to one coaching and support (also available via Skype) contact me.