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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 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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