If there's one thing that will change your life, it's meditation.
I've meditated on and off for years now, and it's always been a ritual that I return back to. Scientists are confirming just how healing the breath can be, and that meditation largely benefits the brain.
But sadly, many people still think that it's mumbo jumbo, which simply isn't true. So today, I decided that I would share five myths of meditation, along with three simple tools that will help you get started.
Myth #1: Your Mind Has to Be Clear
Stop thinking of a pink elephant.
I don't even have to guess what you're thinking of right now. Would it be reasonable of me to expect that you would be thinking of anything else? Probably not.
So why do we expect our minds to stop, especially in silence? Your mind is a miraculous machine, constantly solving problems, regulating your body's functions, and keeping you well. It would be silly to expect it to stop working, so don't hold yourself to that standard.
Myth #2: You Have to Meditate For A Long Time
Often times when people start out, they plan out how they're going to meditate for thirty minutes each day. They set a lofty goal, and it's no wonder that they don't meditate as often as they'd like to.
It's a commitment, but it doesn't have to be for an hour every morning. It can be as simple as five minutes, and everyone has at least five minutes in their day, right?
Myth #3: You Must Be a Monk
This myth has more to do with the way you meditate. Of course, you don't have to be a monk, but people often expect that it's very strict. You have to sit a certain way and your hands must be in a mudra (first finger to thumb).
The truth is, there are so many ways to meditate. Visualization, walking meditation and mantra meditation are a few examples.
Myth #4: You Have to Be a Certain Type of Person
This goes hand in hand with Myth #3, but people often assume because they are energetic and extroverted they cannot meditate. They may think they are too excited to sit down in silence, or that meditation just isn't for them since they aren't introspective.
The truth is, meditation can be for everyone. You just have to find what works for you. It's a lot more than just sitting quietly and breathing, it's a state of mind, and everyone has the ability to access it.
Myth #5: I Don't Have Time
Time is an illusion. We fill it with the things that matter to us. Since meditation is a state of mind, you can incorporate it easily into your day by taking a small amount of time per day for silence or by blending it with other activities like exercise.
If you choose to make it a priority, chances are that you will find time for it somewhere.
3 Tips For Beginners
I've meditated for years now, and I've picked up on a few things since then. I know it can be hard to pick up as a beginner, but don't worry. Here are my three favorite tips for beginners:
As I said before, it doesn't have to be this hour-long process. You can start with something really small, like three minutes. Take this time to close your eyes and connect to your breath.
It's as simple as that. You will still get the benefits of meditation even if you only meditate for a short amount of time. If you choose to build up time, that's fine. But start simple and don't stress about getting in twenty minutes of meditation. It's the fact that you return to the practice that counts.
Find What Works For You
There are so many ways to meditate. If you want to start simple you can start with the breath. But if that doesn't work for you, try something else. It's important to find ways to blend it into your lifestyle, because it's easier to return to it if you do.
When I first started out I loved guided meditations. They took me to a new place, and being a visual person, they blended well with my personality and lifestyle. If you're energetic, you might try walking meditation. If you're a mom, you could bring your kids into it.
Approach Your Mind with Compassion
Meditation is about observation without judgement. We will often run away with our thoughts, going down various rabbit holes. While the goal of meditation is to simply observe, instead of chasing those thoughts, it is bound to happen.
The key here is to not get frustrated. Don't let negative thoughts enter your mind because you end up focusing your attention on them instead of on your breath. If your mind does wander, and it will, always approach it with the utmost compassion.
Gently guide your mind back to your focus and just take a breath. Your mind will likely wander often, but that's okay. It's normal, so have kindness and allow yourself to drift back up to the surface of blissful awareness.
Hope you enjoyed this post! If you're new to meditation, be sure to leave a comment below if you tried it and tell me your experience. Thanks for joining me and I'll see you Friday with another post!
PS-If you want to learn about an awesome meditation app you can click here to check out my post on the wellness apps I love for 2017