Om shanti, dear Adulters!
Let’s get esoteric today, shall we?
Somewhere along your timeline, you’ve probably heard that meditation is really good for you. Science says so.
- Decrease depression and anxiety
- Decrease stress
- Boost your mood
- Improve your memory
- Improve our focus
- Improve your attention
Basically it’s an adulting dream.
SO WHY DON’T WE DO IT?
Well, I think it’s because there are a lot of myths flying around about what meditation is supposed to be.
So here are three common myths that could be holding you back from trying or could be affecting how you experience your practice.
Here’s the thing: if your mind is quiet, it means you’re dead. No literally, your mind is SUPPOSED to think. So…if it stops thinking, much like if your heart stops beating, it means it has ceased to function.
Think of your mind like a crazy wild monkey, jumping around, screeching and flinging – well – you know, poop everywhere. Poop like “I have to pick up the dry cleaning.” and “I hope I get that promotion, I really need it.” and “What will I cook for dinner?” and just generally “AHHHHHHHHHH!”
Your monkey isn’t bad. It’s doing what monkeys do.
But you are not just your “Monkey Mind.” That’s where meditation comes in. Meditation is just an opportunity to remember that you are more than a list of to-dos and worries and needs and fears and anxieties.
When you meditate, you always perform a simple task. It may be counting down from 5, it may be repeating a mantra, it may be staring at a candle. The goal is to give your monkey a simple, repetitive task to keep it busy. But you will never stop thinking.
First of all – Meditation is great but meditation is hard. Monkey Minds are used to being the center of attention 24/7. So when it’s time to meditate, they fight to stay at the forefront. Meditating for hours is like trying to run a marathon. Yes, some people run marathons. But they practice for a looooooong time to get there. And marathoning isn’t the only type of running. Nor is it the “goal.”
Second of all – Monkey Mind is so good at his job because THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. Who has time to sit around that long?!
However long you meditate is the perfect amount.
No seriously. Five minutes. One minute. 30 seconds. PERFECT.
You will benefit from it.
Meditation is usually shown with the person in lotus, holding gyan mudra (first finger and thumb touching), surrounded by incense.
That’s one way to meditate. There are in fact many, many, many different schools of thought about the positive benefits or import of holding your hand a certain way or sitting a certain way or performing certain activities before or after.
But these are only tools for you to choose from to help you meditate.
If you take a class, they might tell you that this is the way you have to do it. But guess what?
If you take another class, they’ll tell you a completely different way you have to do it. So who is right?
Try different tools and see which ones work for you.
For instance, I find that incense is helpful to me, not because it’s magical, just because I find the smell calming.
The only thing that matters is that you show up and meditate. As the old saying goes, take what you like and leave the rest.
What are some other meditation myths you’ve heard? What are some of the tools you love that help you meditate?
Now get out there and ommmmm, you adult you!