Meditation: The Myths

These myths from Real Meditation in Minutes a Day by Joseph Arpaia and Lobsang Rapgay are the same ones I'm on a mission to debunk in my mindfulness classes. Plain talk and practical application are what it's all about. This book is full of strategies you can put to use in your everyday life which contribute to getting more satisfaction out of the good stuff and feeling less overwhelmed by the challenging stuff.

Real Meditation in Minutes a Day Myth 1: Meditation is Eastern.

Meditation has been practiced by Christians for almost two thousand years, and Jews, Muslims, and those of other traditions have meditative practices as well. Even if many meditation techniques come from Eastern traditions, there is nothing to prevent others from adopting those techniques to develop their minds.

Myth 2: Meditation is for religious people.

You do not have to be religious to benefit from meditation, just as you do not have to be an athlete in order to benefit from physical exercise. Meditation is exercise for the mind. You can use it for spiritual development. You can also use it to improve your health, your effectiveness at work, and your relationship with others.

Myth 3: Meditation takes hours per day.

If you have hours to spend, then you can certainly spend them meditating. But you don’t need hours to benefit from meditating. In fact, even fifteen or twenty minutes per day will help you significantly.

Myth 4: Meditation is relaxation.

Meditation can help you learn to relax. However, sometimes you need to feel more energized. There are meditations that can help you speed up when you need to speed up, and meditations that can help you slow down when you need to slow down.

Myth 5: Meditation is stopping thoughts.

Meditation teaches you how to change your usual thoughts so you can think differently, and more effectively. Meditation also develops mental activities such as perceiving or imagining, which are different from thinking.

Myth 6: Meditation is blanking out the mind.

Meditation is training the mind. You meditate in order to develop your mind, not blank it out.

Myth 7: Meditation is used by cults.

Cults use the myth that meditation involves blanking out the mind to disguise brainwashing techniques as meditation. Since meditation strengthens the mind, and the mind’s ability to inquire and analyze, meditation is, in fact, a good antidote to cult techniques.

Myth 8: I need a guru or teacher to learn meditation.

A good teacher can and certainly will help. However, one of the most important teachers is your own experience. As you continue to practice, you’ll learn to evaluate the effects of the techniques and find those that work best for you.