Most common myths about meditation
#1. Meditation is concentration
Meditation is de-concentration. Concentration is a benefit of meditation. While concentration requires effort, meditation is an absolute relaxation of the mind. Meditation is letting go and when that happens, you are in a state of deep rest. When the mind relaxes, we can concentrate better.
#2. Meditation is a religious practice
Yoga and meditation are ancient practices that transcend all religions. For meditation, there is no bar on any religion. In fact, meditation can bring religions, nations, and faiths together. Like the sun shines for everyone and wind blows for all, meditation benefits all. “We encourage people from all background, religion, and culture to come and meditate in a spirit of celebration,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
#3. Sit in the lotus posture to meditate
The Patanjali Yoga Sutras are a scientific study that unravel in detail the nature of the mind. ‘Sthiram sukham asanam’ is a yoga sutra (aphorism) by Maharishi Patanjali. He says while meditating, it is more important to be comfortable and steady. It helps us to have a deeper experience. You can sit cross-legged, on a chair, in a sofa – it is all fine. When you start your meditation, sit with your spine erect. Relax your head, neck, and shoulders.
#4. Meditation is for old people
Meditation is universal and adds value to lives of people of all age groups. One can start meditating at the tender age of eight or nine. Just like a shower keeps the body clean, meditation keeps the mind clear and stress-free.
#5. Meditation is like hypnotism
Meditation is an antidote for hypnosis. In hypnotism, the person is not aware of what he or she is undergoing. Meditation is complete awareness of each moment. Hypnotism takes the person through the same impressions that are in his mind. Meditation liberates the person from impressions. It makes our consciousness fresh and clear. Hypnotism increase metabolic activity, meditation reduces it.
“If you practice pranayama and meditation everyday, no one can hypnotize you,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
#6. Meditation is controlling thoughts
Thoughts do not come to us by invitation. We become aware of them only after they have arrived. Thoughts are like clouds in the sky. They come and go on their own. To control your thoughts involves effort, and the key to a relaxed mind is effortlessness. In meditation, you do not crave for good thoughts nor are you averse to bad ones. You are a witness and transcend the thoughts and move into a silent space deep within.
#7. Meditation is a way of running away from problems
On the contrary, meditation empowers you to face problems with a smile. Skills to handle situations in a pleasant and constructive manner blossom in you. You develop the ability to accept situations as they are and take conscious action. You do not brood over the past or worry about future. Meditation nurtures the inner strength and self-esteem. Although challenges arise in life, regular practice of meditation helps us move ahead swiftly with confidence.
#8. You have to meditate for hours to experience bliss
You do not have to sit for hours to have a deeper experience. The connection with that inner space, your source, can happen in a fraction of a moment. A 20-minute of Sahaj Samadhi meditation twice a day is enough to take you inward. When you start meditating every day, the quality of your meditation will improve. You will also start experiencing the benefits of meditation.
#9. If you meditate, you will become a sanyasi (a monk or recluse)
You do not have to give up material life to meditate or progress on the spiritual path. In fact, the quality of your enjoyment improves as you meditate. With a relaxed and peaceful mind, you can be happy and make others around you happy too.
#10. Meditate only at certain times, facing certain directions for benefits
Anytime is a good time for meditation and all directions are good for meditation. The only thing to keep in mind is that your stomach should not be full, else you may doze off instantly instead of meditating. But, it is a good practice to meditate during sunrise and sunset. It keeps you calm and energetic throughout the day.
We hope we have busted the common and popular myths about meditation. Now, you have greater clarity on the effect and benefits that meditation can give you.
Inspired by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's wisdom talks
Practicing meditation regularly alleviates you from stress-related problems, deeply relaxes the mind and rejuvenates the system. The Art of Living’s Sahaj Samadhi Meditation is a specially crafted program to help you tap into your unlimited potential by diving deep within yourself.
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