In the last decade, meditation has become a hot topic in Western mainstream media and culture. It is now being practiced by people from all walks of life, including business professionals, athletes, artists and so on.
The numerous physical and mental benefits of meditation continue to fuel the growing popularity of the practice around the world. Even physicians are now prescribing mindfulness to improve ailments such as stress, depression, and anxiety.
However, regardless of the growing popularity of meditation, there are still a few common misconceptions that prevent many people from trying it out. Below you will discover the secrets to effective meditation and a few meditation 101 tips that help debunk these common myths.
Myth #1: "You must silence all thoughts in order to have a successful meditation session."
When I first started meditating, I was told that I was required to clear my mind and thoughts in order to meditate effectively. Unbeknownst to me, that is simply not the case. Meditation doesn't require you to completely shut your mind off or to stop all thoughts from occurring. In fact, my first tip to successfully meditation is to not mute your mind. Trying to go completely radio silent can actually increase stress and amplify internal chatter.
Although we're unable to fully control or stop our thoughts from arising, we ARE able to control how much of our attention and energy we give to them.
So instead of actively trying to suppress your thoughts or becoming frustrated when reoccurring thoughts come to mind, just calmly accept their presence and let your mind wander back to your breath or a specific mantra that you've chosen to focus on.
Also, before beginning your meditation practice, try to release any expectations of how it will play out. Sometimes your mind will become calm quickly and other times it will take longer so be gentle with yourself.
Remember that there isn't a right or wrong way to meditate and that you'll become more comfortable with it the more often you do it!
Myth #2: "Meditation is a form of escapism."
The main purpose of meditation is not to run away from life's challenges. Wait, what?!?!?
In fact, meditation tip #2 is to remember that meditation empowers you to face your problems with a better attitude and an enlightened perspective.
The consistent practice of meditation allows you to get in touch with your inner self to develop the ability to accept situations as they are and to take conscious action in your daily life.
Myth #3: "It takes years of practice to get any benefit from meditation."
The benefits of meditation are both long-term and immediate. You can often feel the benefits from a meditation session even after the first time you try it.
There have been many scientific studies that show meditation has a direct effect on the physiology of the mind AND body even after only a few weeks of practice.
Mindfulness has shown to produce growth in the areas of the brain associated with stress regulation, memory, and empathy. Other common benefits of meditation include reduced anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved concentration, and enhanced immune function.
Pretty cool, huh? :)
Myth #4: "I just don't have enough time to meditate."
If you decide to make meditation a priority in your life, then you'll find a way to make time for it in your daily schedule.
Meditation tip #3: Remember that even a few minutes of meditation is better than none, so I encourage you to skip the excuses and instead just sit down in silence, even if it's only for a few minutes a day.
This is an especially valuable habit when you're feeling overwhelmed with a busy schedule. You will thank yourself after as you begin to feel a decrease in stress and an increase in energy.
When you continually stick with your meditation ritual, you'll become more aligned with source energy and as a result, you'll feel happier, more centered and at peace.
Myth #5: "Meditation requires intense spiritual or religious beliefs."
Meditation does not require any specific religious background or belief. In fact, meditation is practiced across many different religions around the world and has the ability to bring groups with very different beliefs together.
Meditation is a practice that takes us beyond the noisy chatter of everyday life into a space of awareness, compassion, and understanding.
It helps enrich our lives and allows us to appreciate the beauty found in our day-to-day activities. These principles truly transcend any religion.
Myth #6: "Meditation is hard to do."
There's a misconception that meditation is an obscure practice reserved for holy monks or knowledgeable teachers with lots of free time to practice.
In reality, meditation is actually extremely easy AND enjoyable to learn and to practice!
There are various audios, videos and 'how to' guides for meditation that you can access on YouTube or other online sites that will help you slip into a blissful state with ease.
Now, one of the main reasons that meditation may seem difficult is because people are often uncertain whether or not they're doing it right.
One of the easiest ways to overcome this challenge and to ensure that the process is enjoyable for you is to speak with an experienced instructor.
A teacher will help shed light on the key points of your practice and can also help you move past roadblocks that may arise.
If one meditation technique doesn't work for you, they'll be able to show you another strategy quickly and easily.
If you want to ensure you get the most out of your meditation practice, I encourage you to download my Free Flow Energy Clearing System. If you are anything like me, your mind is constantly going a mile a minute. As we mentioned in Myth #1, you do not need to “shut your mind off” but we do need to control how much of our attention and energy we give those thoughts.
The Free Flow Energy Clearing System is an immersive guided meditation audio specially designed to clear your energetic 'blueprint' of all blocks and negative charges. Why not start today?
Do you know any other myths about meditation? Share with the community below :-)
*The Mind Movies team has updated this post on April 30th, 2018 to include the latest information for our readers.*
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.