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11 Things About Meditation That People Think Are True

11 Things About Meditation That People Think Are True

Meditation has become popular, but it’s misunderstood. There are things about meditation that people think are true that are simply myths. Meditation will work for you, no matter what you think, but let’s look at some of the common misconceptions and dispel them so you can enjoy your meditations more.

1. You think that you need to concentrate to meditate.

You think that if you concentrate hard, your meditation will “work.” That’s not so. When you meditate, just sit, or lie down, or walk. (Yes, there are walking meditations.) Your ability to focus and concentrate is a side-benefit of meditation, but meditation isn’t concentration.

Relax. Let everything be as it is. If your mind is in turmoil, allow it. Allow everything, and just be as you are.

If you’re focusing on your breath, gently bring your attention back to your breath when it wanders. The key word is “gently.”

2. You think that meditation is a way of escaping your problems.

Everyone has problems. That’s life—it’s one thing after another. You can’t escape your problems with meditation. However, meditation will enable you to handle your problems gracefully.

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If you’ve started meditating, and someone accuses you of using meditation to escape, just smile.

3. You think that meditation is about religion.

Meditation isn’t a religious movement. However, all the world’s religions, whether great or small, practice meditation as a discipline—as a way to go beyond thought. Many religions consider prayer to be a way of talking to god, and meditation as a way of listening to god.

4. You think that meditation is a form of hypnosis.

Meditation isn’t hypnosis. Meditation goes beyond thought and the mind, whereas hypnosis is focused attention on suggestions which a hypnotherapist gives you, or if you’re practicing self-hypnosis, suggestions which you give yourself.

Physically meditation and hypnosis can have a similar effect: you become very relaxed, but they’re different practices.

5. You think that unless you can stop thinking, you can’t meditate.

You have a mind. It manufactures thoughts; that’s its job. However, you’re not your mind, or your thoughts. Meditation can quiet your mind, so that it’s less like “monkey mind” jumping from thought to thought.

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After you’ve practiced meditation for a while, you’ll be able to watch your thoughts pass through your mind, without becoming attached to them. Minor irritations which once bothered you will no longer affect you. In a sense, meditation gives you greater control of your mind, because you can just let your thoughts go.

As a benefit of meditation practice, when you do want to think about something analytically, your concentration will be better.

 

meditation posture

    6. You think that meditation is supposed to be hard.

    Many years ago, when I first started meditating, I struggled to control my thoughts. I tried hard to focus and concentrate on my breath. Of course, this was the opposite of meditation, which is just allowing everything to be as it is.

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    I wasn’t struggling consciously. Once I became aware, I realized that that was how I lived my life: I viewed it as a struggle. When I learned to let go in meditation, my life became easier too.

    7. You think that meditation is a special state.

    Meditation isn’t a special state; it’s a way of being. In his book, Coming to Our Senses, professor of medicine Jon Kabat-Zinn says:

    We might say that meditation is really a way of being appropriate to the circumstances one finds oneself in, in any and every moment. If we are caught up in the preoccupations of our own mind, in that moment we cannot be present in an appropriate way or perhaps at all. We will bring an agenda of some kind to whatever we say or do or think, even if we don’t know it.

    Any state you’re in can be a meditative state. Although you’ll often feel relaxed during and after meditation, relaxation isn’t meditation. Your meditation is an opportunity to be aware of yourself, however you happen to be, in that moment.

    8. You expect that meditation will give you supernatural experiences or powers.

    Meditators may occasionally have strange experiences. You might feel hot, or cold, or experience colored lights or visions. You may even tap into powers like clairvoyance. However, as spiritual speaker and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti, and other respected meditation teachers have pointed out, these experiences and “powers” are irrelevant. They’re an illusion. Let them go.

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    If they disturb you, contact a meditation teacher for guidance.

    9. You think you don’t have time to meditate.

    Got a minute? Meditate. Yes, you can meditate for a minute, or a few minutes. Just allow yourself to let go of whatever your current preoccupation is, and let yourself be aware of the present moment. If you wish, you can use a meditation focus, such as your breath, and become aware of your breathing for few minutes.

    If you have time, you can meditate for 20 minutes, once or twice a day. However, mini-meditations are just as valuable as longer, more formal meditations.

    10. You think that you need to sit in the lotus position to meditate.

    You can sit in lotus position if that’s comfortable for you. However, the lotus position doesn’t confer any special benefits. It’s become popular as a meditation posture over the centuries because it’s a stable posture. In the lotus position, your spine is straight, and your bound legs give your posture stability.

    If you can’t achieve the lotus position, assume any posture you like, as long as your spine is straight. Keeping your spine straight is good for your health: mental, physical and emotional.

    11. You think that meditation is magical, or that it will change your life.

    Meditation isn’t magical. However, your practice gives you so many benefits that it might seem that way. It changes your life in a fundamental way, because you see the patterns in your behavior. Spiritual teacher Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, said:

    As you quiet your mind, you begin to see the nature of your own resistance more clearly, struggles, inner dialogues, the way in which you procrastinate and develop passive resistance against life. As you cultivate the witness, things change. You don’t have to change them. Things just change.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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