The 5 Myths of Meditation
There are thousands of types of meditation and even more individualized rituals each of us has employed on our journey to one-ness. Regardless of your specific practice of meditation, there are five basic myths that we all come across at some point in our attempts to develop a daily practice ritual. At some point, embracing these myths helped us to rationalize meditation OUT of our lives. If you can embrace these myths as just that – MYTHS – and then release them from your belief system, you will more easily give yourself permission to begin or re-engage your practice. So let’s explore together:
The first thing you need to do is to clear the thoughts from your mind or at least stop the thoughts.
You have about 75,000 thoughts a day. That’s approximately one thought every 1.2 seconds. They’re coming – you will not stop them…you can’t stop them. They are not interruptions in your meditation; they are a part of your meditation so let them come and let them go. Simply drift back to the mantra, or your breath, or whatever else you were using to disconnect you from activity. So many meditators stop meditating because they have thoughts; but having thoughts flowing in and out of your meditation is so perfect. This is your chance to process each day’s activities that otherwise would go buried, unaddressed, and unprocessed.
That doesn’t mean that you should place your attention on them…or resist them…because resisting is a form of attention. Treat thoughts as you would clouds. Let them drift in and let them drift away. You be unconcerned. So when you realize you are deep in thought, simply drift back to the object of your attention – the mantra or your breath. Here’s how much effort to use when you meditate: like mist rising off a lake at dawn. Stop now and envision morning mist, ever so gently, lifting off a field or a lake…there is virtually no movement. That’s how hard you should “work” or “try” while meditating.
Something special or transcendent is supposed to happen during meditation.
Cool experiences can indeed happen when you meditate – but that is not a requirement. In fact, special aha! Moments don’t have to happen for the experience to have its emotional, physical, or spiritual benefits. But if interesting or unexpected things happen during your meditation, hang out and enjoy them. As you immerse more deeply in the experience and drift from the mantra, you will see yourself move from witnessing the experience to thinking about it. As you begin to apply greater meaning to your experience, that is activity. That’s okay. It’s all a part of the process. When you realize that you have moved back into thought, just gently drift back to the repetition of the mantra or the object of your attention.
I’m not doing it right.
How many times have we asked ourselves this question right before, during, and after meditation, “am I doing it right?” Or because you didn’t experience the Buddha or nirvana, because you didn’t see colors, because you had thousands of thoughts, or you simply resigned yourself to the fact that you weren’t doing it right? Whenever you ask yourself, “Am I doing it right?” the answer is YES! – You are doing it right. In meditation, as long as you are doing it, you are doing it right. Who’s your biggest critic? It’s you. And judging your meditation practice is no different. There’s no need to be so hard on yourself. Don’t be critical of your form. Don’t try. Release. Let go. Surrender to the unknown. Surrender to what you don’t know. Surrender to the fact that you have only one purpose in meditation and that is to innocently repeat the mantra or follow your breath depending upon which meditation practice you choose. As long as you do that, you are doing it right.
If I meditate long enough I will achieve enlightenment.
You were born enlightened, and pure, and whole, and perfect. And throughout your life you have been layered with interpretations, perspectives, and conditioning. And these layers have covered that wholeness, purity, perfection, and pure consciousness from which you were formed.
But that pure, infinite, enlightened, perfection is still who you are at your very core…underneath all those layers of conditioning. Meditation allows you to see glimpses of your pure unconditioned universal self and therefore have a deeper understanding of your life and perhaps life itself. So will you become enlightened? It’s the wrong question because you already are. And each time you meditate, you get an opportunity to reach back and peel away more layers of that lifetime of conditioning. And youget to dip your toes in, dip your fingers in…and reconnect to your unconditioned self – your pure, whole,perfect, enlightened self. And you take that stillness, silence, and unconditioned being back into eachday; back into each moment; back into each breath. So will you become enlightened? It’s the wrong question. You already are. Will you awaken yourself to wholeness? Yes. Meditation by meditation, moment by moment, you will wake up to more of your enlightened self.
If I meditate, I am a superior human being because I am spiritual.
There is no such thing as a spiritual hierarchy based on whether people meditate or for how long. Meditation allows you to connect more deeply and more frequently to your source…your highest power…your universality. The more often you tap into your unconditioned self – that pure, unbounded, divine aspect of yourself – the easier it is to see your universality, which is essentially seeing yourself in others and seeing others in yourself. In that state of one-ness awareness, you are neither above nor below anyone. Remember the definition of Namaste: “I honor the light in you – which is also in me. And when you are in that space and I am in that space…we are one.”
As your practice unfolds, your life will continue to blossom and bloom. Feel free to refer back to these five myths whenever you notice that you are questioning the value of your practice. And remember that the value of your practice – the true benefit of meditation – is not when your eyes are closed and when you are sitting in the dark…the benefit of your practice…the magnificence of your practice is demonstrated when your eyes are open and you’re back here with the rest of us. This is where you are more creative, more relaxed, more intuitive, more loving, and more peaceful.
So rock on meditator!!