Throughout years of meditation practice, you might hear questions and concerns. Most of them are formed because of a lack of knowledge of what meditation is. Some of them are stereotypes that emerged from movies, newspapers and other media. Surely, there is a lot of information on meditation around. It’s easy to get lost and form a meditation bias. Some would call them meditation myths.
We’ve collected 6 most common pieces of meditation bias around.
1 Meditation is mumbo jumbo crap
This is a summary of plentiful smaller pieces of meditation bias. In an example, it does not work, it’s not possible to just sit without thoughts and so on. All of these comments are caused by ignorance or inability or lack of motivation to try something that cannot be touched. Yoga mat and other props for yoga practice make it quite tangible, specific routines and postures make it so you can follow it by set instructions. Meditation does similar things with your mind – it makes it more agile, something that’s called Neuroplasticity. It means that this method of cultivating your mind is not as visible as stretching your muscles. Yet it does something similar – you come mentally healthier and more flexible to respond to stress factors.
As for ‘it does not work’ commentary, it is important to bear in mind that meditation requires a disciplined approach and a daily routine, so with time you would be able to feel the results yourself. Make a parallel with gym sessions, you would not expect to achieve your goals after just a few sporadic sessions, would you?
So all people who still think that meditation is a waste of time should probably try to start a regular practice. After all, dedicating just 20-30 minutes a day for yourself and your mental health is not a high price to pay, time-wise!
2 Meditation is for religious people. To meditate is like joining a sect.
Meditation is at the centerpiece of Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha are very simple. He said that you should you own common sense and think every concept through. If you joined a meditation group or center and feel that something ‘smells’ funny, just leave and try another. In fact, if you practice meditation using our simple instructions for concentration meditation on breathing or Vipassana meditation, there is no necessary chanting involved. It is 100% secular and is based on training your attention on your breath or contemplating some questions about yourself or life in general. Vipassana meditation is a precursor to various insights and it may help you with your personal life and relationships, but also with your professional life too.
3 Meditation is for extremely lazy people. They should just get on with your issues.
Whilst the second part is something that seasoned meditators approach with skill, namely facing obstacles and issues with increased awareness, it requires training. So it is definitely not laziness that drives meditators. But rather an effective method to stay emotionally composed and ready to respond to problems. As opposed to reacting to stress with even more stress.
4 Meditation is a practice of death.
This statement has its roots in the fact that Tibetan monks have a piece of works called ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’. The main idea is to work with your fear of death and accept that it would happen to everyone. One of the authors of a modern edition of this book, Sogyal, said: “Fear of death is fuelling that destruction of our environment that is threatening all our lives”.
This book teaches us to find a happy balance in modern lives in the form of simplicity. Meditation is a practice that cultivates our minds not only to simply accept death. It teaches us to treat all beings at all times with compassion.
If you want to try our Vipassana meditation, we also offer the following statement to contemplate:
“We may idealize our freedoms, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved”.
5 Meditation is not for everyone.
It cannot be far from the truth. You do not anything to practice meditation, no props or expensive equipment or clothing. You do not even need a mat or a cushion to sit on. All these things are completely optional. See our basic instructions on how to meditate here.
Moreover, you don’t even need to be in excellent health (though we hope you are!) to meditate. Many clinical practitioners recommend meditation to their patients in order to reduce stress and feel better. Research has shown that meditation speeds up the recovery and lengthens telomeres which slow down the aging of your cells. Kids also benefit from meditation similarly to their parents and the elderly.
6 Meditation is not good. Meditation is bad for you.
This type of opinion is too negative and generic. We wonder what triggers such an assessment. There is no research that would state that meditation worsens patient’s conditions, physically or mentally. Quite opposite, many studies (please see our extensive collection of scientific research on meditation here) have proven positive and healing effects of meditation practice. Read more on how meditation helps with weight management and weight loss, but also to manage stress and get healthier with whole food plant-based nutrition.
Wishing you delightful meditation practice, insightful and without any bias!