For many people, the word “meditation” conjures up images of monks in a monastery, draped in long, flowing garments as they sit around in silence seeking that oh-so-elusive state of enlightenment. But, really, that’s not what it is at all.
It might surprise you to learn that you can practice meditation anywhere and at any time. In fact, if you weren’t busy reading this article, you could do it right now. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and the ability to focus on something. So why do so many people struggle with the concept?
You probably know that meditation began thousands of years ago as a spiritual practice. But we’re in the 21st century now, things have moved on a lot since then, and it’s time to get rid of the myths and old wives’ tales surrounding meditation and muddying the waters once and for all.
Myth No. 1: You need to clear your mind
If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know this is literally impossible. The idea is not to empty your mind, but to slow it down so you can regain a bit of perspective.
Myth No. 2: You need to sit still for hours on end
Who’s got that kind of time? It’s better to meditate for 5 or 10 minutes every day than not at all. Just sit somewhere and focus on your breathing. Simple, right?
Myth No. 3: You need training to do it right
Basic meditation is achievable by anyone. You can do it as you walk to the bus or tube station, or when you’re soaking in the tub. Find something to focus on like your breathing or your footsteps. Your mind will wander, but just bring it back to what you were focusing on and… voila! That’s meditation.
Myth No. 4: You need to be a bit of a geek
Geeks can meditate if they want to, but so can everyone else. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit to do it – just sit somewhere and breathe. You’ll be joining a group of more than 30 million Americans, including NFL players and US Marines. They can’t all be geeks, can they?
Myth No. 5: It’s too difficult!
No, it’s not difficult at all. The only difficult part is getting started, finding the opportunity to meditate that first time. And speaking of time…
Myth No. 6: It takes too long
How long do you spend checking messages on your phone? Reading updates on Facebook? Watching TV? Sending Tweets? You’ve got plenty of time to spare – so take 5 or 10 minutes to do something that will seriously benefit your physical and mental health.
The secret is to fit meditation into your lifestyle. Spend a few minutes in the garden breathing in the aromas around you. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds in your neighborhood. Take 2 minutes before you get out of bed in the morning to think about the people you love. They’re all examples of simple, practical methods of meditation, and you don’t have to be a monk to achieve any of them.