Remember the days when only a few people practiced yoga and this ancient mind, body and soul healer was little known and in some areas, unheard of? Today, you can buy a yoga mat on Amazon and download Headspace to finally learn how to meditate. Mindfulness is officially (and ironically) at our fingertips. Despite the many apps, books and Youtube videos out there, it is still difficult for some to learn how to understand meditation, and simply to begin practicing.
Everyone seeks a happy, healthy mind frame, but it can be difficult without the proper direction and tools to reap the amazing benefits. When your mind has barely had the opportunity to understand the core of this ancient healing method, mindfulness can be a tough challenge and even a waste of time if you don’t get it straight away!
So how can a practice that is so beneficial be so challenging, you ask? There are many different methods of meditation available to us now, that the idea alone can push the average person to think that it may be unachievable for them, because of thoughts like, ‘I can’t meditate because I can’t quiet my mind!’ or ‘I don’t even know how to’, or statements like, ‘It’s not for me’. Everyone is different but educating yourself on what kind of mediation suits you, might help to redefine the myths that have plagued your mind!
Here, mindfulness expert and meditation teacher Light Watkins shares his amazing TED talk to help you out of confusion on the 5 most common meditation myths out there, helping you start off on the right foot. Here are the basics:
Myth 1: I’m a bad meditator if I can’t quiet my mind.
Can you suppress certain thoughts? In time, maybe. But you can get to the point where you border on obsession with the idea of not thinking of your thoughts! Suppressing your thoughts doesn’t lead to a positive meditation experience, rather allow your mind to drift and wander from one thought to the next. This get you to a a high degree of mental processing, which in turn is an active mind, and that friends, is a rested mind. Sitting comfortably and letting the mind wander will allow your body to rest and eventually help you learn to focus even more.
Myth 2: There’s no correct way to meditate.
Imagine a yogi sitting cross-legged on a hardwood floor, hands rested on their thighs, strong thumb to index positioning, repeating, ‘Om’. This is not meditation. On the contrary, this actually might sound painful for some people! Sitting for long periods of time in discomfort is far from relaxation. Your body is not a distraction to the process! The best practices are done sitting in the same position whether on a chair or on your sofa, with good back support, with both feet flat on the ground, and hands relaxed wherever they are most comfortable. Repeat the same routine daily and notice your breathing – that, simply, is the right way to meditate.
Myth 3: I don’t have time to meditate.
Every person has a chronological age and a biological age. Your chronological age advances every 12 months, while your biological age speeds up or slows down depending on stresses you face. Based on scientific research, meditation has a reversal effect of biological ageing (yes, really!), and refunds you back the time you wasted being concerned on negative and irrelevant issues in life.
Myth 4: Meditation will solve all of my problems.
The thing is, that’s not possible. Meditation will never solve your problems, rather it will refund back all of that wear and tear on your body, and how you feel inside will eventually ripple out into the Universe, into the collective. Practice it regularly, daily, and you will notice the small changes evolve into big, positive, rewarding ones.
Myth 5: Success in meditation is based on the stillness of my mind.
Meditation has nothing to do with stillness. If you feel like you never got the grasp of this practice because you constantly yourself questions like, ‘How do I know I'm successful with meditation?’, well, you don’t! Until someone else realises it in you that you have understood mindfulness and meditation.
And that is how you define success – how much more adaptable you are being in your life. Meditation provides that breath, that moment of reflection, and once you get it, you got it.
Listen to Light Watkins explain the myths further in his TED talk here – enjoy.
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