While meditation has been around for thousands of years, the recent following in the West has spun out quite a few myths about meditation, and what meditation can accomplish.
With all the ways meditation and mindfulness can benefit your health, no myth should keep you from trying it out yourself.
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
This old zen saying does have some truth to it — if you have no time to meditate, that could mean you really need it! Don’t let this scare you though, even if you only have 5 minutes to meditate, those 5 minutes are all you need. If you have 20 minutes another day, then that’s okay, too.
Especially when you are first starting out, it’s okay to start with less time and to work your way up to more should you feel it necessary for yourself.
When you think of meditation, do you picture someone sitting very still, for very long? It doesn’t have to be that way. Have an itch? Scratch it! Feel a sneeze coming on? Don’t try to hold it back. And most of all, if you do feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to move to a more comfortable position. After all, the goal of meditation isn’t to turn yourself into a statue.
Many people associate meditation with an empty mind, and become frustrated when thoughts creep into their minds while trying to not think of anything. It may be helpful to know that it’s natural to let thoughts come to mind. Instead of forcing them out, watch them as they come and go like clouds in the sky.
There are ways to help stay focused, including counting breaths or repeating a mantra (either out loud or in your head), among many others.
This one is wrong in so many ways. While it can be intimidating to look on the practice of mediation from the outside, and it can be difficult to stay committed to doing it often, the act of meditating is not hard on it’s own.
It becomes especially easy when you realize the perfection isn’t the goal, and when you know that you don’t have to commit a lot of time, or stay completely still, or clear your mind of every thought.
Having a quiet, relaxing place to meditate is ideal, but it’s not a requirement. While outside noise can add an extra challenge, the ability to meditate despite distractions strengthens you.
Meditation should happen where ever you have space and feel comfortable.
Meditation for stress reduction is a very West-leaning concept – meditation’s benefits and purpose go far beyond that. Meditation’s goal is to connect our emotional, mental, and physicals selves, along with understanding the connectedness between others and the world as a whole.
While meditation is an old practice with many nuances, don’t worry about being perfect when you first start. Hell, don’t worry about being perfect even after you’ve been doing it for a while! It can be hard for anyone to gain all the benefits of meditation when you’re worried about doing it “right.”
Why not give it a try today?
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