Many people tend to think that Meditation, with a capital M came to us from the mysterious Orient, and with all sorts of religious or mystic overtones. In reality, meditation has been taught, and practiced, in many forms in many cultures, and, in actuality, is more common than most people think.
It is also easier than most believe, to get started and continue as a lifelong practice as well.
While there are many things that the beginner may want to know about meditation, I’ve decided to discuss the following three common misconceptions about meditation which may prevent someone from giving it a try.
1. It’s difficult to learn
2. You’ve got to be an expert to benefit
3..It’s a mystical or religious practice
This is NOT intended to be an instruction on HOW to meditate, but, I hope by the end of this short article you will be encouraged to learn more about the practice and enjoy many of the benefits of meditation.
1. Is meditation difficult to learn?
Well, there’s a certain degree of difficulty to learning most things, but, I believe that whether it is easy or difficult to learn for the individual, the benefits make it worth the effort. Having said that, however, I want you to understand that, while each person may have greater or lesser difficulty in learning to meditate, most will find, that, with a little guidance and practice, they will soon be experiencing the benefits of meditation.
Part of the confusion lies in peoples’ understanding, or misunderstanding, of what meditating entails.
Essentially you put yourself into a state in which your consciousness is suspended, at least somewhat, and your subconscious is allowed to sift and sort through situations and problems, often arriving at conclusions or solutions, or, at least, suggesting further avenues of study or investigation.
Well, while formal meditation can involve candles and bells and aromas and rituals, many people already meditate without realizing it. Deep, heartfelt prayer, a long thoughtful walk, becoming engrossed in an interesting book, or even sitting on the porch in the evening, letting your mind “wander”, are all forms of meditation.
What if you could learn to do that at will?
2. Do I have to become an expert to benefit.
Weill, if you’ve read the previous discussion, you may be on the way to having the answer already. Almost all of us already meditate in some manner or another, and can understand the benefits we derive from these meditative states and activities.
Of course, becoming a grand master in the art of meditation MAY produce benefits far beyond those of the “little grasshopper” or “Padawan”, but, almost as soon as you begin to meditate regularly, you will notice improvements and benefits of many kinds.
Just a few of these benefits may include:
- Reduction of Stress
- Better Attention and Concentration
- Better Memory (Including Seniors)
- Better Sleep
- Kinder Disposition
- Renewed Interest In Life
By the way, these are not just speculative concepts, but have been shown as actual results of regular meditation.
3. Do I have to get all religious or spiritual to meditate.
I think you’re probably already there, but, simply… NO!
While many people DO like getting into the spiritual side of meditative practices, you can experience most of the benefits with a nice long walk, watching a sunset, walking through a field, or reading a good book.
Yes, you CAN learn yoga, sit in the lotus position, light candles, ring bells, and put on meditation music, but, while that may enhance the practice for some… or many… the benefits are there for the taking… in your living room, at your desk, on a train, almost anywhere, and any time.
Years ago, instead of going on my allocated coffee break, I opted to sit at my desk and meditate. One day, my supervisor’s supervisor (the assistant comptroller of the Florida State Department of Education) wandered by, saw me sitting with my eyes closed. He assumed I was sleeping at my desk and had me written up.
So, I recommend mediation, but, choose wisely when and where, Padawan.