Seven Myths about Meditation. Kind Karma Awaken with Meditation.
In "Awaken with Meditation" we teach: "Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by not attaching or holding onto the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let go. After a particular session, if you feel the need to reflect upon or process what happened during your meditation, then make a contract with yourself - a gentle agreement, that upon completion of your reflection you will let go of whatever you reflected on. Stick to it! Personal contracts only have meaning when you uphold the integrity of that contract. Just remember what we say in Rahini Yoga®: meditation is the art of letting go, not the art of holding on. With meditation, if you feel a need to hold on to something, then hold onto FAITH." (Dr. Dean Telano)
During Kind Karma® "Awaken with Meditation" training courses, we filter through the myths, misnomers, misinformation and confusion about meditation. You can say, we "awaken" our understanding of what meditation is, and what it's not. We teach that meditation is not about turning off the mind, but awakening our mind.
Here, are some of meditation myths we address during the training courses. In future blogs, we will address additional common myths or misconceptions.
"Awaken with Meditation is a journey of a lifetime, and each inner journey begins with the first mindful breath." - Dean Telano
Myth #1: You Can't Meditate Because You Think Too Much
Say what?! We all think. It's normal. It's natural. In fact, our minds are designed for thinking. After all, any creative idea begins with a single thought, and then grows and multiples from this point forward. A good rule of thumb is that even though all people can benefit from meditation, it's often the people who say they "think too much to meditate" who could really benefit from regular meditation practice. It's very helpful when beginning a meditation practice to remind yourself thinking is a natural and an expected part of meditation; it's part of the "meditation" experience. For those individuals who have constant chatter of the mind, it's very important that you learn the correct meditation skills to redirect your thoughts back to your meditation.
Awaken with Meditation Tip: "Part of the meditation experience is learning how to tune inward and finding your center, time and time again. It's a gentle, continuous process."
Myth #2: Meditation Is Difficult To Do & Too Hard To Learn
The bottomline is when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is not difficult to learn. In fact, it can be fun and enjoyable as it is challenging. Meditation techniques can be as simple as focusing on your breath, gazing at a candle flame, silently repeating a mantra or counting numbers. Some reasons why meditation appears to be difficult are: we are trying too hard to concentrate or focus; our meditation posture is incorrect; we set up unrealistic meditation parameters; we're overly attached to the results or outcome(!); or we’re not sure we are meditating correctly. A qualified meditation teacher will help you understand what you’re experiencing, move you past common roadblocks, and create a nourishing, successful daily practice.
Awaken with Meditation Tip: "There's nothing to do or fix in meditation, there's only let it be and let it go."
Myth #3: Meditation Is About Stopping Our Thoughts Or Emptying Our Minds
Meditation isn’t about stopping or suppressing our thoughts, emptying our minds or burying our emotions. Attempting this approach will only lead to stress, noisy internal chatter, frustration and self pressure. The bottomline, thoughts come and go. We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them. Although we can’t impose quiet on our mind, through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts. Sometimes referred to as “the gap,” this space between thoughts is awakened consciousness, awakened silence and awakened peace. When we meditate, we use an object of attention or gentle focal point, such as our breath, an image or a mantra, which allows our mind to relax into this silent stream of naked awareness. When thoughts arise, as they inevitably will, we don’t need to judge, control, suppress or try to push them away. Instead, we should just return our attention to our object of attention (object focused meditation). With meditation, there will be moments when the mind dips into the "gap" and experiences the refreshment of pure, awakened awareness. As you meditate on a regular basis, you will naturally spend more and more time in this state of expanded awareness, inner silence and self-discovery.
Awaken with Meditation Tip: "Don't suppress progress".
Myth #4: I Don't Have The Time To Meditate
Zen proverb: “If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour everyday, you should meditate for two hours.” If you feel like your schedule is too full, remember that even just a few minutes of meditation is better than none. If you haven't been meditating at all, then meditating for five minutes will seem like a lifetime. And, that's a good thing, not a bad thing! It all starts at the beginning, and there is no better beginning than the "now" moment. Sit. Get comfortable. Straighten your spine, Relax your neck. Rest your hands loosely on your lap or knees. Focus on your breathing. Maybe, smile. Try to be still. Done! Yeah, that's it ... and we all have the time to do this. The truth is, once you start meditating on a consistent basis, you then realize how much time you actually have to meditate, and that's how you start becoming more and more efficient with your time. Look, don't make meditation more difficult than it really is. It's quite simple. "If you complicate simple, then it becomes simply, complicated!"
Awaken with Meditation Tip: "If you know that meditating will make you a happier, calmer and healthier person, then you need to prioritize it."
Myth #5: I Should Always Feel Calm During & After Meditation
Let's be real: although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of peace, calm and bliss, these aren’t the purpose of the practice. The real benefits of meditation are what happens throughout the day of our daily lives. When we emerge from our meditation session, we should carry some of the stillness and silence of our practice with us, allowing us to be more positive, kind, centered and compassionate to ourselves and to those we encounter. What we need to realize is sometimes silence and feelings of peacefulness and calm accompany our meditations, and sometimes they do not. Forget about the outcome and focus on the process. The good thing about meditation, is that it will make you less reactive to any negative feedback in your life, and thus perpetuate loving kindness. Keeping a consistent meditation practice will help you tame and train your mind, turning your mind into ally.
Awaken with Meditation Tip: "There is no fail in meditation, unless you are too focused on the outcome or the experiences that sometimes occur during it. Just try to get a sense of balance and holistic harmony in your daily life."
Myth #6: I Should Keep My Eyes Closed When I Meditate
There is no one correct answer if you should or should not keep your eyes closed during meditation. Unless, you are following a meditation tradition that requires you to keep your eyes open or closed. If you are not following a practice from a particular tradition, then both methods of opening and closing your eyes can serve you well in your practice.
Meditating with your Eyes Closed: Closing your eyes narrows your focus. You no longer have the distraction of everything you can see. Closing our eyes helps bring other parts of our experience into our field of awareness such as: how our body feels; sounds we hear around us; perceived smells; or awareness of present thoughts. Meditating with our eyes closed can open us up to the understanding that our thoughts are only one part of our mindful experience. Paradoxically, closing your eyes can cause you to lose your focus. We all know the reality that once you close your eyes it’s really hard to leave your thoughts for longer than a few seconds (whew!). Awaken with Meditation Tip: "When working with closed-eye meditation, be sure you maintain your focus, avoiding the grips of a scattered, dull or sleepy mind."
Meditating with your Eyes Open: Opening your eyes brings you into the present moment, the illumination of the now experience. When your eyes are open, you see the here and now. You look at the world in front of you, as it is and what is, in this moment, face-to-face. Paradoxically, when we open our eyes we often get distracted, or the slippery temptation arises to do so. When we meditate with our eyes open, we naturally experience the mind wandering or being cued, wired, reflexive or tempted, as we repeatedly do throughout our busy day. After all, our everyday minds are wired to survive. When we practice meditation with our eyes opened, we want to do so without being carried away by waves of a wandering mind. Look out for distractions of internal story telling or the strong pull of magnetism by external stimuli. Awaken with Meditation Tip: "Again, an object of attention or focal point, such as your breath, will allow your mind to relax and settle into a silent stream of awakened awareness, and prevent drifting out to a restless sea."
Myth #7: I Must Sit In A Cross-Legged Position In Order to Meditate
You can sit in any position that is comfortable to you. Most people sit upright in a chair, on a meditation cushion, meditation bench, folded blanket or firm pillow. If you are going to use a chair, just be sure to sit away from the back of the chair and place your feet firmly on the floor, aligned with your hips and knees. However, if you need lumbar support, take a firm pillow and put it between your lower back and the back of the chair. Some people prefer to kneel using a meditation bench suited for that particular posture. You can also sit upright in bed with pillows propped at your sides. The possibilities are endless. It's best not to lie down unless you’re doing a body scan meditation, healing energy meditation or a meditation for sleep because you’re more likely to fall asleep. If you have to lie down in order to meditate, position your body to maintain a sense of "awake".
Awaken with Meditation Tip #1: "The reality is that you can meditate in any position as long as you’re comfortable."
Awaken with Meditation Tip #2: "The body and mind are connected, so they influence each other. The meditation posture you take can help your concentration, or can act as an uncomfortable distraction."
"Awaken with Meditation Tip #3: "Correct posture is essential to meditation, however, take a flexible approach to it."
Mantra Meditation Blog:
Rahini Yoga® Meditation Posture Blogs:
"Awaken with Meditation" is an inner journey of cultivating peace, healing, kindness, holistic harmony and high vibration."
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© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.